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The white-Left Part 1: The two meanings of white

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Democracy Now ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Oh, the Hypocrisy!

On Monday, Amy Goodman interviewed Steve Phillips on Democracy Now for a segment called "Billion-Dollar Mistake": Democrats Neglect People of Color While Failing to Woo White Trump Voters. Phillips is from Democracy in Color, and is the author of the New York Times best-selling book "Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority." During the interview Phillips made a comment that definitely should have sparked some discussion, given the way Democracy Now neglected people of color in the election of Donald Trump. They did this by ignoring the role of white nationalism in the election while trying all year to convince progressives to either vote for Jill Stein or stay home:
STEVE PHILLIPS: Yeah. So, the challenge the Democrats face is to focus on the math, and not on the myth, of what happened in 2016. And so, the myth is that all of these Democratic voters, all of these working-class white voters who had supported Obama, defected from the Democrats and then flocked to Donald Trump’s campaign and backed him, and that’s what the—that’s why Democrats lost, and that’s why they have to pursue them to be able to actually try to reassemble their power and get back into positions. But that’s not actually what happened, and it’s certainly not why they lost the election.

We had unprecedented—or, unprecedented in 20 years, black voter turnout drop-off. More than a million fewer black voters came out. And you had a splintering of the progressive white vote. And you had a larger increase of voters for Johnson and Stein—I sometimes call the JohnStein voters—than you did for Trump. And if you look in a place—Wisconsin is where it’s clearest. Trump got fewer voters in Wisconsin than Romney did. So it wasn’t like everybody flocked to him. It’s that the progressive votes splintered and was depressed.
I have added the emphasis. Unlike Stein, Johnson took votes away from Trump as well as Clinton. Clinton lost Wisconsin by 27,257 votes, while 30,980 WI progressives voted for Stein. That is how Trump won the election. This data is from Politico [updated 22 Nov. 2016 - PA updated 2 Dec from http://www.electionreturns.pa.gov/ ] :

Candidate Count % Michigan [16] Wisconsin [10] Pennsylvania [20]
Donald Trump 61,201,031 47% 2,279,805 1,409,467 2,955,671
Hillary Clinton 62,523,126 48% 2,268,193 1,382,210 2,906,128
Difference 11,612 27,257 49,543
Jill Stein 802,119 0.7% 50,700 30,980 49,678

Given the tireless role Democracy Now played in splintering and depressing the progressive vote last year, this statement should have been met with push back or self criticism. Instead, in a hypocritical fashion, it was passed over in complete silence.

Amy Goodman had Jill Stein on Democracy Now many times before the election. Democracy Now is far and away the most available Left/Progressive media outlet in the United States, as it appears on radio, broadcast TV, cable TV, and the Internet. Its mantra was the Green Party slogan: Don't Vote For the Lesser of Two Evils. By that they meant, don't vote for Clinton and allow less progressive voters to elect Trump. As Steve Phillips noted and the chart above documents, that is exactly what happened.

This is how Democracy Now handled election year 2016:
Nothing depresses the progressive vote like asking them to "Leave Ballots Blank." Trump and Spicer should have been very happy with this line of argument, given how few Republicans are in the DN audience.

^^ This guy gets it ^^

Anybody with any political sense at all understood a vote for Jill Stein was the next best thing to a vote for Donald Trump. Vladimir Putin got it too. That is why a lot of RT air time for Jill Stein played a big role in his plans to get Donald Trump elected. Probably she got more airtime from Russia Today than she did on Democracy Now, given that the former broadcasts continuously. One thing is certain; Jill Stein received more coverage from Democracy Now than any other domestic media outlet. The eight images below represent just a tiny sample of the "About 416 results" Google finds for a search for "Jill Stein" on RT.com:

We now know that the Russian government was trying to help Donald Trump win the White House. It must have known that Jill Stein had no chance of winning. Their lavish support for Jill Stein was part of their plan to get Trump elected by splintering and depressing the progressive vote.

On the other hand, Jill Stein must have known her Kremlin supporters would not be too happy with her if she was as hard on Trump as she was on Clinton, and she wasn't. Was that collusion?
It is a real shame that Cornel West didn't consider what a white supremacist disaster Donald Trump would be when he was helping Trump win by campaigning for Jill Stein. Now the hits on minorities are coming hard and fast. Last night, the Jeff Sessions Justice Department announced it is going after affirmative action in higher education, and this morning Trump announced new legislation to curb and whiten legal immigration. It is the minorities that are being hurt the most by the Trump presidency, although Cornel "no to the lesser evil" West, maybe not so much.
From that show, we have this prophetic exchange. It begins as Jealous is explaining why he was then backing Clinton after having backed Sanders earlier:
BEN JEALOUS: Well, you know, we came through a primary, and now we have 105 days to keep a madman out of the White House. And we went—you know, we know what happened in 2000. And the reality is that we cannot afford to end up with having an Iraq War because we narrowly lose the White House to somebody who should not be in there, as we did with Bush. So, the reality is, you go through a primary, you come into a convention, and you come out one campaign, in this case to hold onto the White House and keep a neofascist from becoming president.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But what do you say to those Sanders supporters who feel that, in many respects, Hillary Clinton is more hawkish when it comes to issues of foreign policy and war even than Donald Trump, in some respects?

BEN JEALOUS: If you look at the utter racism that Trump has directed towards people in this country, there is no reason to think that he will not do the same thing when he actually, you know, has his finger on the button. He clearly seems to, you know, have some sort of love affair going on with Putin. I don’t know who that gives comfort to. And he has all the personality characteristics of some of the worst dictators and tyrants we’ve seen around the world. But the reality is here that he will also destroy voting rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights. He will put in a Supreme Court that will take us back very quickly. We used to think that the Voting Rights Act pretty much was sacrosanct in this country. It’s been—you know, great damage has been done to it. This is the first presidential—and quite frankly, you know, my roots, as you know, my family, so much of it is in West Baltimore, and communities like that suffer greatly when we sort of pretend like who’s in president—who is the president does not matter.
After Trump won, it became fashionable for those that said they thought Clinton was going to win to excuse themselves by saying that everybody was sure Clinton was going to win. This is not true. Jealous wasn't sure Clinton would win. I wasn't sure Clinton would win. A lot of people of color have a less delusional read of the strength of white supremacy in America and campaigned hard to keep a madman out of the White House. The Green Party and the DN Left can't say that.

And notice how they completely discount the very thing Jealous zeros in on as the deciding difference between the two candidates - racism. To make their argument that there ain't a hill of beans worth of difference between the Clinton and Trump, they had to downplay the significance of Trump's white nationalist connections because they could show no equivalence in the Clinton camp, Instead they made a spurious argument that Clinton was actually the greater of the two evils because she was more hawkish. Ironically, they fell back onto white chauvinism themselves when they made that argument, as for example, a little later in that show when Jill Stein said:
I agree. Donald Trump is a very dangerous person. He says extremely despicable, reprehensible things. But at the same time, Hillary Clinton has a track record for doing absolutely horrific things, for expanding wars, in the likes of Libya, for example.
Trump supporters, Putin supporters, Assad supporters, Gaddafi supporters, Democracy Now, and Jill Stein are all united in calling the people's armed struggle to overthrow the Libyan dictator that ruled violently for 40 year "Hillary's War." As useful as the label is for their united political purposes, it robs the Libyan people of their agency - they made this history, not Hillary. She only opposed allowing Gaddafi to do what Assad has been allowed to do. For that they hate her. They don't want to tell the true story of a people's struggle against a fascist dictator. They would rather present it as just another Hollywood style Arab uprising led by a blonde.

In a way, it is doubly chauvinistic to call it "Hillary's War" and not "Obama's War," since as president he set the policy. Maybe even trice chauvinistic considering that even within NATO, the US was bringing up the rear with only 17% of the strike missions. A true accounting of what really happened around Libya was not in the interest of these people because they wanted us to forget about the racist Donald Trump and focus on the warmonger Hillary Clinton, and they really didn't have much to work with.

Naturally, after Bernie Sanders took a stand for Democratic Party unity in the name of defeating Trump, Trump went after him:
While Jill Stein did the same thing on Democracy Now:
Since Stein & Baraka support Putin's foreign policy in other countries, it should have surprised no one that they support his goals in the US.
No need to mention Trump's white nationalism here. The focus is on attacking Trump's main opposition. Note the singular word "party." If the Democrat Party is the "Party of War & Wall Street," what are the Republicans?
Glenn Gleenwald on DN, 31 August 2016, talks as if little has changed in Russia in the last half century. Does he think opposition to Russia today is based on anti-communism?
To me, this is one of the more remarkable things of this campaign, which is that any of us who grew up in politics or came of age as an American in the ’60s or the ’70s or the ’80s, or even the ’90s, knows that central to American political discourse has always been trying to tie your political opponents to Russia, to demonizing the Kremlin as the ultimate evil and then trying to insinuate that your political adversaries are somehow secretly sympathetic to or even controlled by Russian leaders and Kremlin operatives and Russian intelligence agencies.
According to frequent DN guest Greenwald, anyone who sees Russian interference on Trump's behalf is just playing the same old red-baiting game of McCarthyism. This is a slick twist because it hides the fact that Russia today is not the Soviet Union, it is leading a worldwide white supremacist movement and is interfering, in an imperialist manner, in the internal politics of many countries, not just the United States.
Funny they should mention that word, but in their parlance Ben Jealous, Steve Phillips and I are the bigots, not Donald Trump and his supporters.
Since they have the same target and theme, why not use Trump's words to attack Clinton?
Although Donald Trump was a DAPL investor and stood to make money from the pipeline, Democracy Now didn't expose that fact until after the election. Before the election they tried to put Hillary Clinton in a no-win situation. She could not answer their demands without losing more of the pro-energy voters Trump was courting.
The day after Steve Phillips was on Democracy Now, Amy Goodman had Jill Stein on, Tuesday, 1 August 2017, for the first time this year. Much of the discussion was about Trump, but curiously, they stayed far away from questions of racism or white nationalism with regards to his administration. It is the one thing that ties his policies together, but they would rather not go there. This is what she had to say about Donald Trump:
Yeah, I mean, Donald Trump is a symptom of a very sick political system. You know, what we see going on in the White House right now, you know, hearing—I think it was yesterday, you reported, I think, on your program that Lindsey Graham is now instructing President Trump that if he continues to harass Jeff Sessions or tries to get rid of him, that, essentially, what he was saying is that—you know, get ready for impeachment hearings. And, you know, to hear that from staunch Republicans, that they’re actually threatening him now, they’re—Lindsey Graham is also, you know, writing a bill to stop Trump from dismissing Mueller at the FBI. So, you know, people really get that Trump is a liability, he’s a disaster. You know, the sparks flying out of the White House now with the dismissal of the chief of staff and, you know, the incredible comments of the communications director—talk about, you know, communications. You couldn’t have a worse example of how not to do communications. You know, they’ve really become the laughingstock of the world, and not just the world, even, you know, in the U.S. And I think they’re becoming a big liability to Republicans. So, you know, I think Donald Trump is very clearly digging his own grave. He’s been a lame-duck president since the beginning. He’s, you know, passed absolutely nothing. He remains a grave danger, because of what the president can do, especially around the military. But, you know, he does seem to be on his way out now, which is a wonderful thing.
No Jill, I don't know. You ignored Trump's white nationalist tendencies before the election when you directed your fire at Clinton. Now you speak of "a very sick political system" without mentioning racism, while both Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions are working feverously to turn back the clock on civil rights.

Behind all the showmanship and comedy, a neo-fascist regime is consolidating power and Jill Stein comes back on Democracy Now after an eight month absence. She doesn't fill us in on all the recent achievements of the Green Party even though I thought the whole idea was to give up any chance of victory in this election so as to build that party. She doesn't come with plans on how to better build the resistance to the Trump assault, instead she has come back to disarm us by telling us he is on his way out and we can start celebrating now!

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

Click here for my posts on the 2016 US Election
Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria
Click here for a list of my other blogs on Libya

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