Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign has exploited and negated the structures of American democracy.
Given a record hostile to traditional Democratic party values, she's run a dirty campaign. It is now escalating as she and supporters manipulate key democratic (and Democratic) institutions. The media -- who have given millions to the Clinton Foundation -- say they'll call the election for her on June 7 during the California primary. They've also amplified calls for Sanders' strikingly successful candidacy to end. Why? Because he remains in a competitive election that will almost definitely go to the Democratic National Convention. Her best defense, she thinks, is for she and her supporters to subvert democracy by using institutions that should serve us to silence him, rather than showing she deserves the superdelegates' vote as the stronger general election candidate. This institution-amplified suppression alienates Sanders' supporters, building resentment. This prompts her acolytes to blame Sanders.
"Stop making me beat you," Clinton and her
supporters practically tell Sanders.
And stop telling people I'm beating you, they might add. Joan Walsh in the Nation writes, "Bernie Sanders Is Hurting Himself by Playing the Victim" and warns of the dangerous consequences of him claiming the nomination process is "rigged," something echoed in numerous (sometimes misleadingly titled) columns. This is blatantly ahistorical, hypocritical, and annoying. It distracts from the role of extensive manipulation of key democratic institutions that have delivered the Secretary a "winning" margin among pledged delegates thus far. It also advances the absurd argument that if Sanders does not highlight failures -- of the media, electoral process, superdelegates and Democratic National Committee -- they will repair themselves and start working for the American people. Of course, their immense failures will not help progressive Democratic candidates or the public. And ironically her supporters now complain about the media coverage and electoral obstacles, recognizing corrupt institutions may weaken her campaign too.
How did we get here? The last few years have brought popular uprisings for fair wages and social supports, black lives actually mattering, and overdue environmental action. These culminated in Bernie Sanders' successes in stadiums, social media and our wallets, enthusiasm he's ridden to a 46- to 54-percent pledged delegate split. Now the race, which will almost certainly go to the convention, will be decided by the superdelegates. They are charged, broadly, with choosing the more electable candidate per the Hunt Commission that formed them, the media, the DNC and Hillary. (This is also beyond obvious, as there would be no role for them were they just charged with ratifying the popular vote.) As for now, superdelegates "shouldn't be included in any [delegate] count," says DNC Spokesman Luis Miranda. But the media continues to report them to improve Clinton's prospects.
Having superdelegates choose the more competitive nominee at the Democratic National Convention in late July is an almost impossible-to-ignore call for a substantive political discussion as to the merits of Clinton's candidacy. She's already employed numerous institutions to fight against open debate when she was on stronger ground. The freefalling candidate (Carl Bernstein reflecting White House views) isn't having it now either. Her weak policy positions -- except those recently stolen from Sanders -- are losers. So too are her political and the Clinton philanthropic record of scarfing up millions from corporations in return for numerous apparentquid pro quos. Her unbelievable electoral decline against Trump mirrors that against Sanders and the prospects of her job-title-based candidacy are poor. Speculation she will lose the nomination is widespread and growing. All pose problems as potential topics for discussion.
So the Secretary of State and her surrogates have amped up efforts to shut down public access to Sanders' issue- and record-based campaign. It's surprising to hear a woman running for president who has manipulated levers of power, bringing violence and suppression to millions, being portrayed as the victim for having to defend her political and financial records. But it's consistent with her entire campaign strategy.
Why revisit these old battlegrounds now? Because democracy matters. The same techniques used by her and those aligned with her to silence him and to steal his support are also used on those seeking to reverse great poverty, declining health, and planetary destruction.
This is about Sanders and his (and his movement's) changing the narrative of what a nation built on justice looks like. It is about potential changes to work, lending, inequality, the climate, the environment and prisons to reflect the public interest. But it's also about how Clinton and her supporters manipulate fundamental Democratic -- and democratic -- institutions. And why they barely allow what would be a center-left candidate in most developed countries to talk to the public, much less win the popular vote. Corrupt corporate powers, supported by Clinton, are petrified of an overdue movement for social and environmental justice that could challenge ill-gained profits.
How have democratic institutions been manipulated?
MAINSTREAM MEDIA -- MANY CLINTON FOUNDATION DONORS -- MOSTLY IGNORED THE BIGGEST STORY OF 2015 (MEDIA, PART 1)
The term "Fourth Estate" emphasizes the independence of the press and its service to the public. It has not served its purpose. One Democratic candidate was the former First Lady who ran for president in 2008, served as Secretary of State, and had a high profile foundation role: an extraordinarily well known figure. Her main competitor was an independent Senator with a low profile (if growing following due to his courageous stances on housing integration, the Panama "Free Trade" agreement , the 1994 Crime Bill , the Iraq invasion , and his filibuster of the extension of the Bush tax cuts.) He soared in the polls like Trump and packed stadiums, despite recurrent media blackouts. He articulated a new progressive vision that pulled Clinton leftward. His rise created the biggest, most important story of 2015. Yet the mainstream media networks generally ignored and occasionally belittled him. They gave Clinton as much coverage as Trump in 2015, and Bernie one-twenty-third the coverage of either. As his numbers soared when voters learned about him, the media's failure to cover Bernie fairly or significantly influenced early vote results (particularly impactful with Sanders ran even or improved election day results.)
CLINTON MANIPULATED MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE ELECTION (MEDIA, PART 2)
Choosing not to highlight the biased media coverage described above was a more passive act (albeit unforgivable in a presidential candidate, I'd argue). But the Secretary also actively sought to manipulate the media. "[T]he greatest story [a journalist] could ever possibly ever cover" was reported on by the mainstream corporate media "through the eyes of the Clinton campaign," per media guru Robert McChesney.
Hillary and her surrogates, at times with with undisclosed ties, have overwhelmingly shaped the news. They relied on the media promoting her misleading statements, changing the subject at her whim, and highlighting her successes. Her first debate used at least four carefully crafted deceptive answers. The compliant media, rather than fact-checking her or relying on focus groups and polling, declared her the "winner" which gave her crucial early momentum. Over time, Clinton and her supporters have deceptively mischaracterized Bernie's broad movement-based campaign as only being about the banks and his health care plan as causing millions to lose insurance.
If the issue at hand doesn't favor her or she or Bill are again chomping on their toes after being confronted with real people or their own records, in walks a new talking point or a shallow policy announcement. The corrupt media immediately changes their focus in full complicity with her anti-democratic media strategy.