A plague on both their houses

by Elias Blum

My interest in the US presidential election, as a disaffected lefty from the other side of the Atlantic, was only based on the hope that Bernie Sanders might win. If he did, then he might, by his example, do something good for the world by showing that a new form of democratic socialism was possible in the 21st century. That would be a big boost to the anti-oligarchic left in Europe and Latin America. And I’d welcome that.

But now that Sanders appears to be pretty much out of the picture, I’ve lost interest. I know this won’t be popular, but couldn’t really give much of a toss between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – they are both in my view terrible people and bad presidents.

Please understand me, this isn’t because I like Trump. Far from it. But I don’t like Clinton either. Trump appears to be arrogant narcisist who wouldn’t know the truth it it bit him on the arse, but Clinton seems about as honest as a set of liar’s dice.

I’d like to say that Trump is more dangerous in terms of foreign policy, but I’m not even sure that’s true – Clinton has a solid record as an enthusiastic war monger.

Trump plays the card of redneck populism, with racist overtones that are clearly deplorable, but Clinton is a corporate sell-out who sold her soul to Wall St.

And, at the end of the day, it’s Wall St financiers, not Bubba-Joe in his old pickup truck, who are actually causing most of the trouble in the world.

Clinton represents the soft liberalism of the 1960s-90s, with its identity politics, its political correctness, its cosying up to corporate power, and its destruction of the balwarks of stability in ordinary people’s lives such as family, morality and religion. This is the mindset that raves about transgender bathrooms, but ignores untrendy issues of arguably greater material substance, like poverty, economic insecurity, exploitation of workers (male and female, black and white, gay and straight), and the abuse of corporate power. This soft liberalism has no answers to the grave challenges that we as a civilisation face today. Only a renewed social democracy can do that, and neither Trump nor Clinton offer anything of that sort.

A plague on both their Houses.

Edit: Although, obviously – for the sake of those who need it spelled out, Trump’s still worse. Clinton probably won’t start a world war or nuke civilisation out of existence. Trump isn’t a fit man to have his hands anywhere near a nuclear bomb.

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