How Bad Would a Democrat Have to Be? Because Clinton is About as Bad as it Can Get

I oppose war and other forms of belligerence (such as the use of assassination, drones, and no-fly zones). I oppose the unsustainable levels of current military funding and the development of new weapons system, especially small-scale nuclear weapons. I oppose the global arms trade and proxy warfare. I oppose logistical and material support for monarchies and dictatorships. I oppose Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza. I oppose government surveillance and the suppression of free speech and dissent and the persecution of whistleblowers. I oppose aggressive policing, the drug war, police militarization, and mass incarceration. I reject the glorification of the military and police. I condemn the failure of governments to adequately protect and defend civil rights and liberties. I oppose corporate control over our regulatory agencies and special legal protection for corporations. I oppose government collusion with the financial sector to increase consumer debt and prey on vulnerable populations. I oppose trade agreements that hurt workers and the environment. I oppose fracking, offshore drilling, and other destructive extractive energy practices. I oppose the health insurance industry and private control of medical services. I oppose devolution of public functions–the government, military, schools, corrections, and policing.

Given these opinions (and I hope that you stand with me on most or all of these issues), it would be contradictory for me to support the nominee of the Democratic Party Hillary Clinton. As is Barack Obama (who I opposed in 2008 and 2012), Clinton has been on the opposite side of all these issues. Clinton is a hawk, eager to use the military to shape the world in the direction her corporate backers desire (Hillary the Hawk). The ideology that guides her foreign policy is neoconservatism and she is garnering the support of the same right-wing policymakers who designed George W. Bush’s foreign policy (Robert Kagan and Other Neocons Are Backing Hillary Clinton). Clinton voted to authorize Bush’s use of force in Iraq and as Secretary of State led the Obama administration in the use of force, for example in Libya (Clinton defends her Iraq War voteThe Libya Gamble: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Push for War & the Making of a Failed State). She is a dedicated and uncritical supporter of Israel’s brutal occupation of the West Bank and blockade of Gaza (Where does Hillary Clinton stand on Israel?). As Secretary of State she organized arms deals with Saudi Arabia and other belligerent nations and subnational groups (Hillary Clinton Oversaw US Arms Deals to Clinton Foundation Donors). And her stance towards Iran has been belligerent, portending war if elected (Clinton says U.S. could “totally obliterate” Iran).

Clinton is a vocal supporter of security walls and fences and increased and more aggressive border patrol (Hillary: I Voted for Border Fence to Keep Out Illegal Immigrants). The rise in immigration at our souther border is in large measure attributable to the support of Clinton for right-wing regimes in Central America, for example in Honduras, where she supported the coup that overthrew a democratically-elected government (Hillary Clinton’s dodgy answers on Honduras coup). Clinton has been a steadfast supporter of government surveillance and suppression of dissent and persecution of whistleblowers (Hillary’s Evasive Views on the NSA). Her record in support of aggressive policing, the drug war, and mass incarceration is longstanding. She has characterized black youth as “super predators” who need “to be brought to heel” (Why Hillary’s Super-Predator Comment Matters). She has also been a longtime supporter of welfare reform, which is code for the dismantling of major support structures for poor families (Why it Matters that Hillary Clinton Championed Welfare Reform). Her defense of civil rights and liberties is far from robust–at points condescending and even contemptuous (Hillary Clinton Talks With BlackLives MatterBlack Lives Matter Activist Interrupts Hillary Clinton “I am NOT a Superpredator.”)–and has only emerged in light of Sander’s campaign and protests of her campaign events by Black Lives Matter activists. There is nothing in her history that suggests that her lip service to Black Lives Matter will inform her presidency.

Clinton’s devotion to corporate control over regulatory agencies and financial policies is notorious. She is Wall Street’s candidate (Hillary Clinton is Wall Street’s preferred candidate). She was an enthusiastic advocate for NAFTA (Hillary Clinton on NAFTA) and for other trade deals (Hillary Clinton Emails: Secret Negotiations With New York Times, Trade Bill Lobbying Revealed In Latest State Department Release), and while taking a position against TPP in the primary, if she does not change her position during the general election, her support for the trade deal as president is considered to be all but guaranteed (Will Hillary Clinton Flip-Flop Again on TPP After Election Day?). She is an advocate of fracking and other extractive energy industries, believing that these practices can be environmentally-sound (How Hillary Clinton’s State Department Sold Fracking to the World).

She is a defender of the Affordable Care Act, which is an insurance industry scheme to advance the privatization of the health care system (Why Hillary Clinton and Obamacare Will Not Solve the Health Care Crisis). During her tenure as First Lady, she designed a health care scheme of managed competition. Her past and present positions reflect her opposition to single payer universal health care system. Her New Democrat philosophy is represented in the political figures she surrounds herself with, politicians and policymakers who have been aggressively pushing for and have secured significant and growing privatization of the education system (Hillary’s Family Ties to School Privatizers).

Her recent change of mind on gay marriage (she steadfastly opposed it until it was clear to most that it was going to happen) (Hillary Clinton’s Gay-Marriage Problem), her support for reproductive freedom (which is uncertain given her promise to Republicans to support a constitutional solution to late-term abortions if they would compromise the life of the mother–Hillary Clinton: I Could Compromise on Abortion If It Included Exceptions For Mother’s Health), her status as a woman (Margaret Thatcher, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, was a woman, etc.), and the presence of a clown (and Clinton associate) heading the ticket for the other political party are not things that negate a principled opposition to Hillary Clinton the politician. A Clinton presidency means more war, more inequality, more privatization, and more surveillance.

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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