Hope mongering has been working much better than experience mongering. Now, the rest of the story….
As befits American culture, politics is all about slick selling to the masses. Hillary Clinton is selling Day-1 help to victims and sufferers. Barack Obama is selling effervescent hope to yes-we-can dreamers. This media hyped horse race is like a fight between diet Coke and diet Pepsi, artificially sweetened candidates devoid of real nourishment.
The least educated, least sophisticated and least wealthy along with Hispanics are sipping Clinton’s fizzled-out drink. The most educated, most privileged, and most financially successful along with African-Americans are gulping down Obama’s charismatic pick-me-up.
As to who is buying what, consider these data: Clinton won the non-college-educated voters by 22 points in California, 32 points in Massachusetts, 54 points in Arkansas, and 11 points in New Jersey. In a Pew Research national survey, Obama led among people with college degrees by 22 points. In Connecticut, Obama beat Clinton among college graduates by 17 points and in New Jersey by 11 points. And note this: 39 percent of Virginia and 41 percent of Maryland Democratic primary voters reported incomes of $100,000 or more – clearly well educated people that would favor Obama .
A simplistic conclusion is that the dumber you are the more likely you prefer the first woman president because you believe this experience-selling status quo, corporate candidate. And the smarter you are the more likely you prefer the first black president because you embrace the change-promises and platitudes from the more authentic, inspirational candidate with the short resume. Clinton supporters appreciate the 10-point-plan-for-every-problem political pragmatist. Obamatons swoon over the big-picture, unity-promising political messiah.
Working-class Clinton supporters are like weary shoppers seeking decent food at low prices at Safeway and good coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts. Obama yes-we-can-happy-facers gladly pay exorbitant prices for the Whole Foods experience and Starbucks shtick.
Here are some realities that neither group wants to face:
Both candidates are establishment insiders.
Both are corporate-state politicians. Note that Robert Wolf, the CEO of UBS Americas, a major banking company, has raised more than $1 million for the Obama campaign. Large sources of Obama money are law firms, investment houses, and real estate companies, and 80 percent of his donors are affiliated with business, compared to 85 percent for Clinton.
Neither are true progressives or populists, like Kucinich and Edwards.
Both Clinton the fighter and Obama the talker will sell out once they confront presidential realities. Why? Because plutocracies know how to retain power AFTER elections. After two years it will be clear that the new president will have failed to extract the US from Iraq, will have failed to deliver universal health care, will have failed to address illegal immigration, will have done nothing to get a new and serious 9/11 investigation, will have done nothing to stop middle-class-killing globalization, and will have utterly disappointed the vast majority of Americans. The president’s most pressing priorities will be lowering expectations and getting reelected, despite raising taxes. The only people truly surprised at all this will be those lacking what the Greeks thought is a virtue: cynicism.
Finally, for those seeking serious political system reforms, it is troubling that neither Clinton nor, especially, Obama have the courage to advocate needed constitutional amendments, such as replacing the Electoral College with the popular vote for president, getting all private money out of politics, making universal health care a right, and preventing presidential signing statements that undermine laws.
Knowing that Congress is unlikely to propose such amendments, these candidates could advocate using, for the first time, what the Founders gave us in Article V: a convention of state delegates that could propose amendments, as described at www.foavc.org. If Abraham Lincoln and Dwight D. Eisenhower could support using the convention option, certainly Day-1-Clinton and new-direction-Obama should.