Why Some of the Smartest Progressives I Know Will Vote for Trump over Hillary
You must know a lot of really dumb, or at least really uninformed, people. I’m reminded of one of our commenters, who is fond of citing all of his unnamed friends and colleagues who totally agree with positions like “Maureen Dowd is a deep thinker and sparkling prose stylist” and “someone who, coming out of rural southern Washington, became a Sterling Professor at Yale Law in his early 30s and was tabbed by FDR to head the SEC was an imbecile of no professional accomplishment.” To the extent that these friends aren’t apocryphal and you’re stating their views correctly, so much worse for your friends!
Why do progressives reject Hillary Clinton?
They mostly don’t, even the ones who think Sanders is a better candidate for the Democratic nomination.
The highly educated, high-income, finance-literate readers of my website, Naked Capitalism, don’t just overwhelmingly favor Bernie Sanders.
“You know that Pauline Kael quote about Nixon that people willfully misinterpret? I’m going to say it but really mean it.”
They also say “Hell no!” to Hillary Clinton to the degree that many say they would even vote for Donald Trump over her.
Apparently, “high-income” doesn’t guarantee smart. Who knew?
And they don’t come by these views casually. Their conclusions are the result of careful study of her record and her policy proposals.
They believe the country can no longer endure the status quo that Clinton represents—one of crushing inequality, and an economy that is literally killing off the less fortunate—and any change will be better.
“The Democratic Party has controlled Congress and the White House simultaneously for 4 years since 1980, and in two of those years Congress was really controlled by a coalition of conservative Democrats and Republicans because some remnants of the Democratic Solid South remained. Therefore, the status quo, which Hillary Clinton doesn’t want to change at all, is a perfect representation of Hillary Clinton’s views. All of my high-income friends think so.”
“I don’t want to vote for Trump. I want to vote for Bernie. But I have reached the point where I feel like voting for Trump against Clinton would be doing my patriotic duty. … If the only way to escape a trap is to gnaw off my leg, I’d like to think I’d have the guts to do it.”
Um, your “high income friends” who would rather see Trump become president than Clinton are willing to have other people get their metaphorical legs gnawed off. For themselves, they won’t have their health care taken away or be affected by food stamps getting slashed and they/their wives and/or mistresses and/or daughters won’t have any problem obtaining safe abortions, and they’ll get a nice fat tax cut out of the deal. They’re willing to sacrifice nothing. Oddly, the people upon whom the contradictions will be actually heightened tend to find this kind of logic less persuasive.
To be sure, not all of my Sanders-supporting readers would vote for Trump. But only a minority would ever vote for Clinton, and I’d guess that a lot of them would just stay home if she were the nominee.
Many of my readers tend to be very progressive, and they have been driven even further in that direction by their sophisticated understanding of the inequities of Wall Street, especially in the run-up to and the aftermath of the financial crisis, when no senior executives went to jail, the biggest banks got bigger, and Hillary paid homage to Goldman Sachs.
Donald Trump signing legislation repealing Dodd-Frank and who knows what else and nominating Jeffrey Skilling to head the SEC will surely solve all of those problems.
True progressives, as opposed to the Vichy Left, recognize that the Clintons only helped these inequities along.
Ah yes, the old “Hillary Clinton would govern exactly like Bill Clinton did 20 years ago” scam. So much for the “careful study” of her policy positions. As for the always knew bit, we’ll come back to that.
They believe the most powerful move they can take to foster change is to withhold their support.
Yeah, nothing creates political power like not voting. This is why midterm elections always move the country to the left, and why every Republican on the Supreme Court staunchly favors Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act.
Some of them also have very reasoned arguments for Trump.
Very reasoned. Ok.
Hillary is a known evil. Trump is unknown.
Trump is a perfectly “known” evil. He would sign whatever legislation Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell put on his desk. He would pack the federal judiciary with neoconfederate cranks. He would engage in grotesque race-baiting with horrible direct and side effects. His foreign policy would make Clinton look like Barbara Lee. Trump’s evil is “unknown” only in that he would be horrible in ways we probably can’t even conceive of right now.
They’d rather bet on the unknown, since it will also send a big message to Team Dem that they can no longer abuse progressives.
The only “message” voting Trump sends is “I am a hateful crackpot.” Also, “Team Dem” is more accommodating to progressives than it’s been in decades.
I personally know women in the demographic that is viewed as being solidly behind Hillary—older, professional women who live in major cities—who regard Trump as an acceptable cost of getting rid of the Clintons.
I really wish Smith would just own her horrible ideas rather than attributing them to her poor friends.
Who does Naked Capitalism represent? The site, which I describe as “fearless commentary on finance, economics, politics and power,” receives 1.3 million to 1.5 million page views a month and has amassed approximately 80 million readers since its launch in 2006. Its readership is disproportionately graduate school-educated, older, male and high income. Despite
“Old, Rich white dudes happy to see Republican in the White House. News at 11! Anyway, they are the real Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.”
What they also object to is that the larger bloc of Sanders voters has been treated with abuse and contempt by the Clinton camp
[cites omitted.] Also, projection is a hell of a drug.
despite the fact that their positions—such as strengthening Social Security and Medicare, stronger educational funding and higher minimum wages—have for decades polled by solid majorities or, at worst, ample pluralities in the electorate at large.
Among the “ample plurality” of the electorate who supports all of these polices is…Hillary Clinton. Odd how the “careful study” of her policy proposals failed to see that.
By contrast, the Democratic Party in the Clinton and Obama administrations has consistently embraced and implemented policies that strip workers of economic and legal rights to benefit investors and the elite professionals that serve them. Over time, the “neoliberal” economic order—which sees only good, never bad, in the relentless untrammeling of capital and the deregulation of markets—has created an unacceptable level of economic insecurity and distress for those outside the 1 percent and the elite professionals who serve them.
Despite only two years of Democratic control of Congress, the Obama administration has increased regulation of business, created the most important new federal program in decades, and made the tax code significantly more egalitarian. The assertion that Obama is a “neoliberal” and “neoliberals” have views indistinguishable from “conservatives” is staggeringly untethered to reality.
The last two points are especially instructive, because I think that this has nothing to do with Bernie Sanders per se. If Joe Biden or Martin O’Malley had been the runner-up, I think they would be making the same arguments about the Democratic Party being dominated by “neoliberals.” It’s worth noting that Smith’s co-blogger Lambert Strether treated Clinton as the second coming of Eugene Debs when she was the runner-up in the Democratic primaries in 2008, only to discover that she was a “neoliberal” if anything to the right of the “neoliberal” once she became likely to be Obama’s successor. The only principle here is “Democratic Party delenda est.” The fact that the party is moving steadily left doesn’t figure into their analysis because they’re not interested in taking “yes” for an answer. If Sanders did become president, as soon as he failed to get any of his agenda through a Republican House they would “discover” that he’s a “neoliberal” too. They’ve been making the same arguments before Bernie’s campaign and they will after. And these arguments will never stop being incredibly dumb.
…i should give a HT to humanoid.panda, who also provides a perfect tl;dr: “They said we couldn’t combine corporate gobbledygook about thinkfluencers and key millennial demographics with heightening the contradictions leftism and Politico-style who won the morning nihilism, but we could! It’s like Uber, for idiocy.”