Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has much of the establishment supporting her in the Democratic primary. It has brought heavy airtime, major political support, and huge corporate donations. Despite these advantages, she has met Sanders’ clean, issues-based campaign with deliberate misrepresentation and dirty tactics. These calculated moves put off general election voters, including people like me. Hillary, you’re losing my vote.
The Clinton campaign is certainly under pressure. Sanders has won 9 of the 22 states that have voted. Additionally Iowa was a virtual dead heat and Massachusetts, where President Bill Clinton may have committed a voter violation felony (which he denies), came in close. Democrats abroad finished voting on March 8 and look to deliver a landslide victory to Sanders. What was a blowout last July increasingly, nationally, is a single-digit race.
Her latest major deception was two days before Michigan’s March 8 primary (where Sanders pulled off a surprisingly win.) At the debate, Clinton said, “He was against the auto bailout … He voted against the money that ended up saving the auto industry.” This grossly misrepresented Sanders’ record as he voted for the auto bailout but against releasing second half of bailout money, mostly intended for the banks. While Sanders answered, she interrupted him twice in an attempt to weaken his response and leave this misconception with voters. It’s eerily reminiscent of what she did with President Obama in 2008 (see the 4-minute mark, in which Obama similarly calls her out on her and her family’s deceptive behavior as well as her criticism that he can’t pay for his plans).
This was less than a week after President Bill Clinton went to Massachusetts polling places. It prompted a petition to investigate his potential third-degree voter violation felony that has garnered more than 100,000 signatures. Hillary’s win there on Super Tuesday prevented a fifth victory for Sanders, which would have undoubtedly brought significant positive press coverage.
Is Hillary alienating voters more quickly than they can be registered?
Before we continue the review, let’s focus on all the unfair advantages her money and neoliberal record have brought her in terms of institutional support.
The media establishment has been strongly biased towards Clinton. The Washington Post, now owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos who is worth $55 billion, ran 16 negative stories on Sanders in 16 hours starting during the March 6 debate (the Post investigated itself and found no bias?!) Sanders’ wins are downplayed or ignored in the mainstream media. Delegate counts routinely and deceptively include unpledged super delegates. The New York Times has run a series of op-eds that would be expected to praise Sanders given the title, writer’s past or text. Instead, they promote Clinton. (The New York Times, which endorsed Clinton, has done better recently after extensive criticism.) The bias goes way back. From January through November of 2015, Clinton received about 23 percent of evening network airtime devoted to presidential candidates, similar to Trump. Sanders received 1 percent. Clinton and her supporters (sometimes with undisclosed financial ties) continue to get more coverage by the mainstream media.
The Democratic National Committee has also tilted the playing field. It scheduled six debates at inconvenient times before the first primaries – versus 26 in 2008 — using an undemocratic process under Chair (and former National Co-Chair for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential run) Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The debates have placed a relatively weak emphasis on wealth inequality, climate change, American militarism, and the poor – crucial areas where Clinton, despite a past of global leadership positions, does not shine.
Despite this rigged system, Clinton has employed dishonesty and deception throughout her entire campaign.
- During the first debate, she put in a surprisingly strong performance that allowed the media to describe it as a “win.” Only later did we find that Clinton misled the American public on her climate accomplishments, whistleblower Edward Snowden’s options, her support for the TPP, and her banking plan (a scale of deception similar to Romney’s.) For each, the wording appears to be carefully and deceptively crafted.
- Daughter Chelsea Clinton suggested Sanders’ plan for single payer, universal health care would leave poor and middle-class Americans without health insurance, a claim ranked “Mostly False” by Politifact and described as “a mischaracterization at best.”
- Hillary Clinton and her supporters have recently characterized Sanders as a single-issue candidate focusing on banking. If anything, his major focus is inequality, which is currently the worse in the developed world, and in the US since the Great Depression. Her characterization is especially ironic as she has adapted his positions on the Keystone XL Pipeline, TPP, college affordability, and fracking. (For the record, Sanders does also have a strong plan for banks, who have paid $200 billion in fines.)
- A series of patronizing articles and statements from high profile Clinton supporters imply female Sanders supporters don’t understand loyalty and institutionalized sexism. This often comes from women who have little to say about devastating America’s militarism, wealth inequality, environment, and climate change policies. Feminists, perhaps; humanists, likely not.
- Hillary continues to misrepresent Sanders’ votes that supported certain policies within a bill, even while he called out others. For example, before the 1994 Crime Bill vote, Sanders delivered a powerful critique which included, “Mr. Chairman, how do we talk about the very serious crime problem in America without mentioning … that we have the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world by far, with 22 percent of our children in poverty and 5 million kids hungry today?”
Right now, I feel like I’m one big or four small whoppers from switching allegiance from her, should she win the primary, even as a swing state voter – I’d feel far better supporting Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein.
Both candidates are certainly better than the Republicans, whose politics and conduct are generally disgraceful and heartless. So it’s possible I’ll change my mind. But I do expect far greater personal integrity in my president.
Clinton’s campaign, which exploits institutional bias and deception, is a diversion from our national challenges. Many of us expect more. She should honestly focus on the issues at hand. Win or lose, that’s what one would do who prioritized her country over her career.