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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 9/1/15

Fascist Trump, Neoliberal Hillary, and Progressive Bernie: Three Contrasting Performance Styles

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Hillary Clinton's opening campaign speech on New York's Roosevelt Island, June 13, 2015

Hillary Clinton rally in Iowa, also in the same month

I wonder at the chutzpah of this politician whose husband's administration accelerated the apocalyptic decline of the working class and the middle class, particularly after the 1994 electoral debacle. She who, along with her husband, jettisoned core Democratic principles such as single-payer health care, gave in to right-wing discourse on every single social policy, and gutted the New Deal and Great Society consensus on education, taxes, budgets, welfare, immigration, telecommunications, crime, banking, and trade, now wants to "fight" on behalf of the very people whose decimation is associated with Clintonism even more than with Reaganism. And she offers not a single policy prescription of substance, besides platitudes about rewarding hard work and playing by the rules (just as her husband did), as you can see in the videos above. Had she not left such a complete vacuum of policy and failed to address the real economic misery out there, there would have been no opening for Trump or other extremists.

Dreamers protesting against Hillary Clinton's silence on immigration

Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, offers specific policies--not just rhetoric--on each and every economic and social crisis that Hillary mentions and then sidelines in fuzzy words. Before Clintonism demolished core Democratic principles, as in the endorsement of managed care (i.e., privatized health care) rather than the single-payer Medicare-type health care Bernie advocates, all of Bernie's prescriptions used to be mainstream liberal aspirations. I hope he jettisons his self-declared label of "democratic socialist"--he's hardly a democratic socialist in the European vein, but rather a pretty conventional New Deal progressive, and actually harkens back even farther to the beginnings of the Progressive movement. He wants free higher education (which more or less used to be the case anyway for most students before rapid tuition inflation put paid to that in the last generation or two), a $15 minimum wage (already that figure is becoming outdated), and Medicare for all--hardly "socialist" prescriptions.

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Anis Shivani is the author of several critically acclaimed books of fiction, poetry, and criticism, including Anatolia and Other Stories (2009), Against the Workshop: Provocations, Polemics, Controversies (2011), The Fifth Lash and Other Stories (more...)

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