This debate broadcast a few days ago on Democracy Now mirrors my personal politics and echoes my frustrations with this year’s US election campaign more closely than anything else I’ve listened to recently.
I respect Chris Hedges for his work as a journalist over the past several decades, for his adherence to his convictions and his evolution as a commentator. I also respect Robert Reich for his continued efforts to further the progressive agenda from within the system. Both approaches are necessary.
As someone who gave up on the two-party system in the US a long time ago, I’ve been generally upbeat about this election year because it’s finally made it crystal clear to most people that the two-party system has proven itself as a corrupt abysmal failure. I’ll admit to the guilty pleasure of watching it drown in its own misery.
The Republican Party, for nearly a quarter of a century drifting further and further off the deep end, has finally imploded, and is left with a second rate TV reality show star and the least qualified person ever nominated by a major party, as its de facto leader.
The Democratic Party (always its own worst enemy), which has since the Bill Clinton era veered steadily to the right, found the Hillary Clinton coronation it wanted to orchestrate come up against a fierce battle in the Sanders campaign, one remarkable for the passion it attracted in such a relatively short period, illustrating that there is room for, and a strong need for, a Democrat to the left of the perceived status quo.
That too was dashed in the end. Now, with Clinton and her running mate Tim Kaine the current standard bearers, what’s left of the party has firmly re-embraced neo-liberalism and likely paved the way for a further tilt rightward.
This all leaves voters with an abysmal choice that the broken electoral system deserves: on the right, Trump, a broker selling fear and to his left, Clinton, selling fear of the broker of fear.
In this debate, and only in this moment in time, I lean with Reich, mainly because I can’t fathom a world in which Donald Trump is the US president. So yeah, I’m caving to that fear. He’s going to begin receiving daily confidential national security briefings next week. For someone who yesterday invited a foreign power to hack his opponent’s emails, that too should be cause for concern.
This is a very good, thought-provoking 36-minute discussion for those of us on the progressive left, and for those wanting a clearer picture of what it means to be on the US progressive left.