After over a year of staring at the impending trainwreck that is the Donald Trump campaign — screaming aguas! — someone has finally said what we’ve all been feeling but dared not utter…
Donald Trump will probably be the next president of the United States.
On a special episode of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher on Wednesday, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore was booed when he predicted the Orange King would win the presidential election this November.
Speaking of the utter schizophrenia that has been the first three days of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Moore noted how much of the hateful and idiotic ideas expressed by Trump and his supporters (and enablers) is widely shared by a sizable plurality, if not a majority, of the American people:
“It might’ve sounded crazy to us, but to millions and millions of Americans, it was music to their ears. And I think one of the things I’ve been concerned about this week, we’re all sitting — as you refer to it, ‘the bubble’ — we’re all sitting in our bubble having a good laugh at this total, as you said, ‘shit show.’ But the truth is that this plays to a lot of people that he has to win to become the next president. And I have to say, I mean, I’m sorry to have to be the buzz kill here so early on, but I think Trump is gonna win.”
The crowd booed Moore’s prediction, but host Bill Maher had his back. “Boo if you want,” Maher cut in. “I’m glad you’re saying this. Everyone should say that [every day]. … The enemy is complacency.”
Trump might win, but if he does, it won’t be because of complacency — at least not entirely, or even mostly. It’ll be because, first, despite all of their chest pounding and hashtags, Americans are generally racist; that goes for Latinos too. Instead of signifying how far we’ve come as a nation in terms of how we treat one enough regardless of skin color, the election of the nation’s first black commander-in-chief only revealed the ugly white underbelly of institutional racism. President Obama has had to contend with a white political class that views him as a usurper of white power, and young black men have been catching hell as white resentment trickles down to law enforcement, whose main purpose, after all, is to serve and protect white power and white property.
Still, we mustn’t ignore the second factor leading to Trump’s rise to power: Hillary, and the centrist wing of the “Party of Property” (as Vidal once described Democrats). After the Bernie Sanders campaign reinvigorated progressives and forced serious debates among Democrats themselves, the party ultimately reverted to its old ways, relying on its nationwide apparatus and allies in the media to impose its status quo candidate, Hillary Clinton, as the eventual nominee. Anatomy aside, Hillary is a typical Establishment candidate — centrist, hawkish, imperialist, capitalist. Her most exciting quality (again, anatomy aside) is that she isn’t Trump, though she comes very close. A lot of the people who plan on voting for Hillary this fall won’t be voting for her as much as they’ll be voting against Trump. This signals potential disaster for the Democrats, as nothing ensures lower voter participation than not having something or someone to vote for.
I possess neither the desire nor the will to vote for Hillary just because President Hillary’s table would dispense more crumbs for our black and brown communities than would President Trump’s. I say let the table fall.
Meanwhile, many of those expecting to vote for Trump won’t be voting for him either. They’ll be voting against Hillary, who’s despised on the right for much of the same reasons she’s opposed on the left, but also because she’s a Clinton and a Democratic bigwig. In fact, I’ll bet my only pair of glasses that the overwhelming majority of people voting this year will be voting against one candidate instead of for the other, as Hillary versus Trump has the ignominious distinction of being the most unpopular offering ever in a presidential election. Given the choice between a status quo former first lady and a xenophobic billionaire reality-TV star, true progressives and conservatives find themselves without candidates. So there’s no telling what can happen.
That said, Trump’s supporters seem to be more fired up than those in Hillary’s camp, and it’s reasonable to believe there may be millions more across the country who plan on voting for him but choose not to broadcast their preference to the world, for obvious reasons. We can expect an army of angry white Christian soldiers marching to the polls on Election Day — throughout the South, across rural America, and in large sections of the suburbs and cities. Lest you forget, Trump won the “purple” swing states of Nevada, Virginia, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania, and carried the usually solidly Democratic states of Massachusetts, Vermont, Illinois, New York, Washington, Oregon, California and New Jersey. Because the United States remains a racist society, Trump’s racist comments have been largely ignored by many of his supporters, who view Trump’s statements about Mexicans and Muslims as an embarrassing sideshow at most — or, in some cases, spot on.
As a supporter of the Jill Stein campaign, I’m fully aware that my voting for the Green Party candidate will contribute to Trump’s election — especially in my soon-to-be home state of Nevada. I’m okay with that. I’ve already explained why I won’t vote for Hillary under any circumstances, even if a Trump presidency means a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border (which is already heavily militarized) and the lifetime appointment of another conservative to the nation’s highest court (who’d be replacing the late originalist Scalia anyway). But if a Hillary presidency means more of the same — which it actually wouldn’t, since Hillary’s clearly to the right of our current president — then why split hairs and haggle over crumbs? I possess neither the desire nor the will to vote for Hillary just because President Hillary’s table would dispense more crumbs for our black and brown communities than would President Trump’s. I say let the table fall.
The Nation recently applauded Senator Sanders for contributing to “the most progressive platform in Democratic Party history,” and while that may be the case, in the end, it’s merely a platform. Nothing keeps a president (or any other Democrat, for that matter) from acting against one of the planks. In fact, presidents do it all the time, reneging on campaign promises and acting against the wishes of their own party whenever it’s politically expedient to do so. It’s so common that to cite a few specific instances here would be superfluous; we all know how different President Obama has been from Candidate Obama, and so think President Clinton will be as progressive as Candidate Clinton feigns to be isn’t only stupid but laughable. Most Democratic voters readily admit their nominee has been forced to seem more progressive than she actually is, which means she’s not even as progressive as she was making herself seem before Bernie Sanders posed a serious challenge to her coronation… nomination, sorry. Given her long career in office and her past support for policies which today are widely unpopular within the Democratic base, it’s safe to assume President Hillary will do a lot of things that’ll angry voters and make Obama look like, well, Bernie.
Voters more or less sense this about Hillary, which is why few people are that enthused about her campaign. The main motivation driving their support for her is fear — fear of Donald Trump, and a less equal, less tolerant America. A Hillary win would lull liberals into believing a better day is in store, that the progressive project of the Obama era will carry on for at least another four years. That isn’t the case, however. What we’ll have with our Madam President is an establishment politician looking to preserve the status quo, someone who has been part of the Democratic elite for decades, someone who’s friends with Wall Street and will do everything in her power to make sure Big Business and the financiers who ruined not only the nation’s economy but the world’s as well — you know, her old buddies at Walmart, Monsanto and Goldman Sachs — are well taken care of. And when that happens, the millions who will have voted for her believing they were sparing their country the shame and disaster of a Trump presidency will kick themselves for having voted for a candidate merely because she’s a woman and not the other guy.
Trump will win, and a vast majority of the American people will suffer.
Good. Para que aprendan.
Featured image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr