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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/29/19

Hillary Clinton's Return Reignites Russiagate Conspiracy to Sink the Democratic Party

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Republished from The American Herald Tribune

It's no secret. The Democratic Party is in crisis. On the one hand, Bernie Sanders' one million individual donations and endorsements from "the squad" demonstrates the growing popularity of social democratic policies such as Medicare for All among the party's base. On the other, Wall Street and other corporate Democratic Party donors have expressed worry over the viability of their so-called "centrist" candidates. Joe Biden's service to the establishment is well known. Kamala Harris has taken a precipitous plunge in the polls. Elizabeth Warren's rise as a top-tier candidate comes with its own set of questions about her authenticity and willingness to play an "inside-outside" game with both voters and the establishment. The disarray in the Democratic Party has left the door open for Hillary Clinton to reemerge and make her mark on the 2020 election.

Hillary Clinton's failed 2016 presidential campaign gave us the Russiagate conspiracy, which has dominated corporate media headlines for Trump's entire first term. Hillary Clinton has once again raised the prospect of a great Russian conspiracy. Clinton underhandedly claimed in an interview that Democratic Party primary hopeful Tulsi Gabbard and 2016 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein were assets of Russia. Clinton's comments went viral, inciting some in the corporate media such as CNN's Jake Tapper to distance themselves from the most prominent leader of the Democratic Party. Tulsi Gabbard and Jill Stein wasted no time to respond to Clinton's anti-Russian smear. Gabbard called Clinton the "queen of warmongers" over Twitter while Stein challenged Hillary Clinton to a debate on U.S. foreign policy.

Many believed that Hillary Clinton's embarrassing loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election marked the end of her reign over the Democratic Party. This was always wishful thinking. The Democratic Party remains under full control of the oligarchic capitalist forces that empowered Hillary Clinton to steal the 2016 Democratic Party primary from Bernie Sanders and then use Donald Trump as a "pied piper" to the detriment of her own presidential chances. Hillary Clinton's one-billion-dollar Wall Street war chest collected during the 2016 campaign and her unprecedented support from the U.S. intelligence apparatus and corporate media says all one needs to know about the importance of the Clinton family to the capitalist class. It should come as no surprise then, with the Democratic Party in crisis, that Clinton would assert her oligarchic leadership in the 2020 election.

The Clinton wing of the Democratic Party continues to raise the specter of Russia as the great threat to U.S. "democracy" because, contrary to the corporate media, Donald Trump is not the most hated social force in the United States. That designation has always gone to the grassroots left, those workers domestically and around the world who fight for a more just social order. Jill Stein, Bernie Sanders, and Tulsi Gabbard represent what happens in a wholly right-wing and backward imperial power when the aspirations of the grassroots left begin to deeply influence the electoral arena. Demands for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and a scale down of the U.S. military's endless wars are demands that possess widespread popular support. The Democratic Party's elite would much rather lose to Donald Trump than to allow left-wing ideas to infect the halls of power where capitalist profit and super exploitation is protected and enabled.

Clinton's Russia gaffe also comes as the Syrian government, with Russia's invited support, is nearing the end of an eight year-long proxy war which has decimated the nation's infrastructure and killed or displaced millions in the region. Trump's decision to withdraw (more like shift) U.S. troops occupying Northern Syria has engineered unity between the Syrian Kurds and the government of Bashar Al-Assad. This unity, along with Russian support, further threatens the United States' occupation of Syria. The U.S. military occupation of Syria has starved Syrians and the entire Arab world of vital oil and water resources necessary for rebuilding after the war's end. Hillary Clinton's Russiagate conspiracy about Gabbard and Stein cannot be divorced from the broader geopolitical context. The Clinton wing of the Democratic Party desperately wants to delegitimize Syria and Russia so that neither can leverage the anti-interventionist gestures of the Trump administration.

Of course, Clinton wouldn't be a leader of the corporate-controlled Democratic Party if she did not hope to gain personally from her public affairs. Rumors have surfaced that Clinton is watching the Democratic Party primary with possible hopes of a late entrance into the race. The irony is that her comments about Gabbard and Stein's non-existent connections to Russia have only further delegitimized her as a political leader. Clinton will forever be remembered as the candidate whose loyalty to unpopular policies such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and a U.S.-led no-fly zone in Syria helped elevate a billionaire real estate mogul and celebrity to the Oval Office. And her lack of political tact around Russiagate has only further delegitimized the DNC, which has already been struggling to hold on to its base amid the increasing popularity of Bernie Sanders' social democratic policy agenda.

The so-called "liberal" ruling class behind Clinton has never been able to grasp a critical contradiction of Russiagate. While Russiagate gave a boost to the domestic surveillance state, validated U.S. war aims against Russia, and distracted from the Democratic Party's responsibility in losing to Trump, the policy also delegitimized U.S. political institutions. U.S. elections were deemed vulnerable to Russian manipulation. The corporate media and the Democratic Party have spent most of their political energy over the last four years in debunking a narrative that was already free of any factual basis. Russiagate challenged American exceptionalism even as its peddlers sought to use the narrative to enhance the public relations of the Democratic Party vis-Ã -vis the non-stop slander of Russia.

Leave it to Hillary Clinton to revive Russiagate at moment when the Democratic Party needed it least. Sanders has regained political momentum following a health scare. Donald Trump is building his own campaign resume with his recent move to withdraw from Syria. The Democratic Party establishment does not have a clear vision for who it wants to select in its bid to recapture the White House. This is an obvious sign of weakness. Hillary Clinton's 2016 election bid revealed a gaping crisis in the legitimacy of the Democratic Party that its Wall Street donors have avoided addressing at all costs. Her reemergence on the political scene is an unwelcomed occurrence not least because it only reminds the DNC that defeating Donald Trump in the 2020 election is highly unlikely should a Clinton-like candidate be handed the nomination. The DNC thus understands that Hillary Clinton represents the seeds of its own demise and is powerless to do anything about it.

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Danny Haiphong is co-coordinator of the Black Alliance for Peace Supporter Network and organizer with No Cold War. He and Roberto Sirvent are co-authors of the book entitled American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People's History of Fake News--From the Revolutionary War to the War (more...)

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