America’s democratic gamble is terrifying – we must do all we can to oppose it

No one who believes in democracy can vote for Trump.

First published at leftfootforward.org

So, Trump threatens to put on trial and to imprison his opponent, if he wins. And if he loses, he threatens to call foul, claiming that the election is rigged against him.

This is behaviour typical of the worst kind of ‘banana republic’. No self-respecting believer in democracy could vote for such a person.

Moreover, the Kremlin is seeking to influence the election to get Clinton to lose and Trump to win. How did we reach a situation where the Republican Presidential candidate is preferred by the Russian premier, who commits espionage to try to help him win?

And yet even this hasn’t finished Trump off. On the contrary, there is still a very realistic chance that Trump will win. This is not like the situation in France in 2002, when Chirac destroyed Le Pen in the head-to-head run-off, and Le Pen never really stood a chance. Trump could still win.

This shows that American democracy is doubly in peril. Because a leading Presidential contender can say these things – and yet he still remains in contention.

How is this possible?

One key reason is the weakness of his opponents. The Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, who could have stolen a real march on Trump at this election by being the far-more-of-our-time smart right-wing alternative remains doggedly and stupidly out of touch with young people (and in fact all rational people) on great issues of our time such as climate change.

The Green candidate Jill Stein is, naturally, great on a raft of key issues but has blotted her copy book very, very badly through not only being a Putin-apologist but, because of this, going so far as to claim that Clinton is worse than Trump, and supporting Assad’s/Putin’s war criminal attacks on the Syrian people.

As for Clinton herself: she is an excellent debater who took Trump apart over the three Presidential debates (and yet he remains in contention!). She is highly-experienced, and a safe pair of hands on a number of important issues (such as: not banning abortion).

She has improved her policy-platform considerably on several key issues since Bernie Sanders’s endorsement negotiations with her; Clinton has also improved her position vis-a-vis neoliberal free trade deals and campaign-finance-reform, over the past year, under pressure from Sanders’s rivalry — this is about the only good news about the current presidential election cycle).

However, she remains a weak candidate; partly because of an irrational hatred of powerful women etc., but also, and crucially, because she remains to an terrifying degree in the pocket of high finance and more generally of those who are committing our planet to a corporate-dominated, neoliberal future. I.

One reason why Trump remains in contention, then, is because many who might have been persuaded by Sanders, whose tremendous opposition to neoliberal trade-deals etc. played such a key role in almost enabling him to pull off the impossible and beat Clinton in the primaries, are won over by Trump’s opposition to NAFTA and to similarly-disastrous examples of ‘peak-globalisation’.

In other words: even if Trump is seen off, American democracy is in dire peril. For it remains to be seen whether a President Clinton would be able to do or even try to do all the good things she promises. And, even if she does, America will remain a plutocracy more than a democracy. One country, under big money.

That’s one key reason why Trump is still in the race.

But, to return to where I started: the bottom-line is that no-one could believe in actually-existing ‘democracy’ or in a possible future democracy, and still vote for Trump, after his latest incredible remarks, remarks so dangerous they may well lead to violence if he loses. Which is why it is incredible, and profoundly-disturbing, that he is still in contention at all.

I think therefore all of us owe it to our American friends, and to the future of the world, to do whatever we can in the remaining days and weeks to influence the result. Not, of course, through espionage or the like!

But through letting Americans know that we cannot understand how a democracy which has given much hope to the world can so casually gamble with no longer being a democracy at all.

 

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