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By Robert A. Vella

As America’s idealistic yet disgruntled progressives continue to jab barbs into the soft behind of the Democratic Party, the Hillary Clinton campaign must be asking:

Who needs the Left, anyway?

They might have a point.  The 2016 presidential election is shaping up as one of the most bizarre in U.S. history with an angry anti-establishment mood gripping the country, fracturing partisan allegiances, and an uncertain electorate which may exhibit great volatility in their choices and in their turnout.  Logically, such conditions should be quite disadvantageous to any centrist candidate looking to maintain the status quo.  However, in this election, logic seems about as useful as the thin wispy white hair on Bernie Sanders’ head.  Hillary’s intransigent centrism appears destined to prevail this year for the most improbable of reasons – Republicans are lining up to back her campaign.

Never before in my fifty years of observing American politics has a whole swath of establishment insiders from one political party come out in support of its rival party’s presidential candidate.  Oh sure, there have been isolated cases of individual politicians who broke party lines on occasion, but nothing like this growing list of big-name Republicans supporting Hillary Clinton.  It really makes one wonder what’s going on here.  With Sanders’ determined and vigorous – though largely unsuccessful – challenge to neoliberal control over the Democratic Party, and with the GOP establishment torn over the nomination of nationalist firebrand Donald Trump, is America’s de facto two-party system finally breaking up?  Has the new establishment-versus-populist dynamic superseded it?  Should Hillary Clinton rightly be called a Repubocrat?

The lady Democrat responded to her Republican suitor, “I can live with your misguided paternalism, but those animal relatives of yours have got to go!”

Whatever else happens this year, the 2016 election appears destined to mark a watershed in American politics.  The traditional labels of “Democrat” and “Republican” have lost much of their meaning.  Both party establishments, once the bitterest of enemies, are now huddling together against a rising and turbulent tide of populist discontent.  Will their makeshift seawalls hold?

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9 thoughts on “Hillary’s Centrism: Who needs the Left, anyway?

  1. I loved your post. You have thought out this strange two years. I can’t say I can really understand what is happening. I just watched a Sanders group say that they felt Trump was closer to Sanders’ positions than Clinton. What the ….how do they figure that. Just because Clinton beat Sanders in the system we use to decide, and Sanders has fed their anger with his actions, and again they like to say how many people voted for Sanders , yet they forget how many voted for Clinton , and that she won far more votes than he did. So she won. That is something that need be remembered. To me, I would vote for mickey mouse if he had a chance to beat trump, trump must never get near the white house and the Presidency. Thanks, and be well. Hugs

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    • And, therein lays the problem. Too many people in America and elsewhere really don’t understand what is happening vis-à-vis populist discontent. That lack of understanding came as a huge surprise last week when Britons voted to leave the E.U. Similar angst is brewing here in the U.S.

      Unfortunately, those who should be trying very hard to understand this growing social phenomenon are taking the opposite approach – either denying its relevance or pretending that it doesn’t even exist. Such callous disregard by national leaders is foolhardy at best and incredibly dangerous at worst, for it feeds the very anger than has given rise to megalomaniacs like Trump.

      I must disagree with you on Sanders. Bernie isn’t feeding irrational fears, he has intelligently brought overdue public attention to long neglected social problems. It’s wrong to “shoot the messenger.”

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      • Oh I agree with what you wrote. I am smart enough to know I can describe my feelings, my desires, my frustrations, and wise enough to know that I can’t see a way forward or past this point. I just don’t know. I have to trust those who claim they can or are leaders, and I listen to see if I believe or can support their attempts. I am old enough to know that ALL those same people will promise all they can, even knowing they can’t accomplish the things they promise, just to get the job, well I have interviewed enough job applicants to know all do the same when trying to get the job. You know, I don’t mind Bernie Sanders challenging Clinton in the primary, and I would support him as I reluctantly supported President Obama when she conceded to him. No the problem I have with Senator Sanders is after the race was run and he even admitted he lost, he still couldn’t bring himself to do the honorable thing. He seemed to me to turn into the very people I am against, those who lose but still insist on having things ALL their way regardless. If he had stopped and supported the outcome, I and I have read many of those on the democratic side would have championed more of his wants and ideals. However he is draining the good will that some had by simply insisting on dragging it all out publicly. He is losing the “high Road” to wallow in the mud by insisting on still having his way… by saying over and over he got so many votes..( which he can be proud of yes ) but denying the many more votes for clinton. He is disregarding the voters supporting Clinton the same way he is insisting NOT be done to his supports. That is two faced and self serving and diminishing of him and his movement. I am sorry but now instead of seeing him as a gallant challenger sticking up for the far progressive movement, wanting what was almost impossible to achieve without intermediate steps, he now seems to me to be another in a sad pile of self serving politicans trying to have his glory, not to relinquish the stage after his act was played. He seems to have gone from a person of the people to a self righteous old man who refuses to give up the crowds of admirers he never drew before and won’t ever have again. That will be his legacy I am afraid of, because I did and do want more for him. He seems to me now an old actor refusing to admit the others have moved on without him, refusing to acknowledge their place , desperate to hold on to the last few ovations and the bit of applause he can get. It may be even in his mind he sees himself the winner in a contest he lost. I had wanted him to go out with his head held high, saluted by the party he never joined but demanded so much from, and then be a senior statesman ready to stand proudly for the people. I no longer think of him that way sadly because he refuses to leave the limelight to let the other do their part. Be well. Hugs

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  2. Pingback: Irreconcilable Differences: How the Dems’ Clinton/Sanders split looks like a messy divorce | The Secular Jurist

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