- Category: United States
- Published on 12 October 2016
- Hits: 451
Numerous pundits and politicians, Bernie Sanders among them, are hammering a simple idea into our heads. One thing and one thing only, they say, matters in the approaching presidential elections – stopping Donald Trump. Realistic and responsible people, we are told, vote for the lesser evil. And whatever misgivings we may have about Hillary Clinton, she is a lesser evil compared to Trump.
I have no wish to minimize Trump’s faults. He is indeed a demagogue from the most reactionary wing of the Republican Party, a foul-mouthed blustering bigot and megalomaniac, a run-of-the-mill real estate swindler who imagines that he is a genius. We need not argue about that.
Nor do I dispute the fact that in some ways Hillary is not as bad as Trump. But I do argue that in two important areas Hillary is actually worse than Trump, while on other issues there is little to choose between them.
First, Hillary is in poorer health. She publicly displays several symptoms suggestive of Parkinson’s disease – poor balance (she often needs attendants to hold her up), odd jerks of the head, frozen facial expressions, laughter that breaks out at inappropriate moments and is hard to stop. These symptoms have been observed since December 2012, when she fell and suffered a concussion. Such brain injuries are a common cause of Parkinson’s disease.1 In the absence of a medical examination by independent physicians this diagnosis cannot be proven, but it is plausible. Even if she does not have Parkinson’s, she may well have some other condition that affects her mental abilities and judgment.
Second, Hillary consistently follows a hard line in the West’s new confrontation with Russia, while Trump has at least expressed his desire to improve relations with Russia. There is now a real danger of miscalculation or accident sparking armed conflict between the United States and Russia, whether in Syria, Ukraine, or elsewhere. When we consider this factor in combination with Hillary’s medical condition, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that she is more likely than Trump to lead us into war with Russia.
Hillary and Trump are equally one-sided in their uncritical support for Israel in the Middle East.
It matters to many Americans that the president of the United States should be a morally decent person. Hillary has no greater claim than Trump to be so regarded. She has a charming public persona, but a number of former insiders have testified that in private she is moody and irascible. She is often obscenely rude and insulting to people who work for her and are in no position even to defend themselves, let alone retaliate.2 She is an inveterate husband batterer, having assaulted Bill on numerous occasions. She has directed covert operations to intimidate and silence victims of her husband’s vicious rapes.3 And her unethical financial dealings have been on a scale comparable to those of Trump.4
It is true that Hillary, unlike Trump, does not deny climate change. This, however, is of minor significance in light of her commitment to the continued extraction of hydrocarbons. In particular, she has been and remains a strong advocate of the massive use of “fracking” – a process in which a mixture of water, sand, and chemicals is injected under high pressure into shale deposits underground to make them release natural gas.5 Besides contaminating our soil, air, and water supply and causing earthquakes and subsidence, fracking puts off the urgent transition to renewable energy sources. Hillary claims that natural gas is a “bridge” to renewable sources of energy, but human survival requires that our reliance on hydrocarbons end without delay. Coal, oil, and gas must remain in the ground. The only candidate who can be trusted even to try to achieve this is the Green Party's Jill Stein.
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In offering the electorate a Hobson’s choice between two equally repulsive and dangerous candidates, the ruling establishment of this country, which controls both major parties as well as the corporate media, demonstrates its utter bankruptcy. But although the media do their best to conceal the fact from us we do in fact have a choice among not two but four candidates. Why not vote for one of the other two candidates – Jill Stein or the Libertarian Party's Gary Johnson?
The reason people usually give for not doing this is that it would “waste” their vote. Propagandists for the major parties constantly warn us that this is so. But it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Each individual assumes that others are afraid of wasting their votes and are restricting their choice to the establishment candidates. From this the individual deduces that the alternative candidates are bound to do badly, so votes for them would be wasted. The belief that it is true makes it true.
The whole situation changes as soon as individuals stop being afraid of wasting their votes and stop assuming that others are afraid of wasting their votes. Then each individual simply votes for whichever candidate he or she prefers. Which candidates do well or badly is no longer a foregone conclusion. The candidate chosen by the individual may win, but even if that candidate does not win the individual still has the satisfaction of having expressed his or her true preference. It feels better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don’t want and get it.
The true waste is to vote for someone you don’t want on the basis of dodgy calculations of greater and lesser evils. The true waste is to vote your fears instead of your hopes.
1. For further discussion of Hillary’s state of health see: http://www.dangerandplay.com/2016/08/12/hillary-clinton-has-parkinsons-disease-physician-confirms/
2. See: Gary J. Byrne, Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate (Center Street, 2016).
3. See: Roger Stone and Robert Morrow, The Clintons’ War on Women (NY: Skyhorse Publishing, 2015); Kathleen Willey, Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton (Los Angeles: World Ahead Media, 2007).
4. See: Peter Schweizer, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich (NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2015).
5. For more on fracking, see: Wenonah Hauter, Frackopoly: The Battle for the Future of Energy and the Environment (New York: The New Press, 2016). The author recounts how in 2012 Hillary as secretary of state initiated an effort to put pressure on Romania to allow Chevron to frack shale gas in that country despite big popular protests against the project. For a detailed account of Hillary’s foreign policy see: Diana Johnstone, Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton (Petrolia, CA: Counterpunch Books, 2015).