It was already clear that the center-left in the United States was poised to change directions in 2016. Clinton’s campaign spared no expense in their effort to push their widely detested candidate from her position as a Secretary of State into the oval office. “It’s her turn”, we were told, and if the Democrat’s voter base had to be taken along kicking and screaming, so be it. Nonetheless, no force on earth could drag Clinton’s decrepit career over the finish line, and the ham-fisted attempt to force it succeeded only in creating major friction within the Party. Clinton’s campaign inspired particular animosity when it became evident that voters who had chosen Bernie Sanders in several states had their votes overridden by insider superdelegates loyal to Clinton. The DNC so much as admitted that this had been the case when they agreed to change the entire primary process in 2020 in order to avoid what was all too evidently anything but “democtatic”.
Despite Trump’s victory, a number of Democrats (particularly those already in office) were unable to accept responsibility for the loss and instead resorted to conspiratorial narratives of Russian interference– there simply had to be another explanation than the obvious, namely, that the country was replete with deep rooted resentment toward Obama’s failed neoliberal policies and unwilling to be force-fed the DNC’s profoundly unpalatable candidate.
Now, with 2020 just around the corner, the Democratic establishment stands at a crossroads which will prove defitional for the future of the party: will the establishment risk copying their competitors success in running an unorthodox political outsider, or will it double-down on their failure and run former Vice President Joe Biden? Biden, despite having precisely none of Obama’s charm, is the perfect candidate for those nostalgic for the Obama era, a time when it was much easier to ignore the victims of US imperial gusto abroad and the overflowing prisons at home.
Regardless of who ends up with the unenviable task of squaring off against Trump, it is clear that there is dissension in the party’s ranks– Clinton’s obstinate attachment to blaming others for her own failures seemingly does have its limits. Following in step with the mass-media’s slander campaign against current Democratic Presidential contender Tulsi Gabbard, Clinton decided to weigh in herself, calling Gabbard a “russian asset” and “the favorite of the Russians”. While Clinton was more or less tolerated when she was pushing her pet conspiracy to excuse her own failures, her decision to slander an active duty member of the US military with accusations of treason has proven even less popular.
Several members of Clinton’s own party swiftly responded to her ill-advised accusation, defending Gabbard’s character and credentials. Support poured in from fellow presidential contenders Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang, as well as Ohio State Senator Nina Turner. Gabbard, for her own part, leveled a counter-strike so crushing and invocative it warrants citation in full:
“Great! Thank you, Hillary Clinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain.
From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose.
It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.”
If you're sick of the new McCarthyism and warmongering by Hillary and her cohorts, then join our campaign. We need your support. Democrat, Republican, Independent — it doesn't matter. We need to unite to usher in a govt which is of, by, and for the people! https://t.co/rzEE9eqDSR pic.twitter.com/Jsq9EWxGDM
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) October 21, 2019
Of course, Clinton will not be joining the race: not even she is delusional enough to believe she would be given another chance to lose to Trump. Nonetheless, the conflict she has stirred up is representative of the ongoing and large-scale struggle within the Democratic party as it finds its bearings after the crushing defeat in 2016. The coveted endorsements of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Talib (the party’s newly elected progressive wing), have already gone to Bernie Sanders, the man many believe was cheated out of the 2016 nomination by Clinton and her band of insiders. It is becoming impossible to ignore the fact that a powerful element of dissent is rising to challenge the party’s geriatric and moneyed status quo. Gabbard’s response directly called attention to this decaying circle of insiders steering the party, a group so self-assured it has given up on even maintaining the illusion of having progressive values.
While it might seem like the Democrats have always been this bad (and in some ways they certainly have been), it was not long ago that membership entailed at least minimal pandering to left-wing ideas. During George Bush’s presidency, opposing the war in Iraq and Afghanistan became popular selling points in the party’s ideology, something difficult to believe given its current appetite for war. The strategy ever since, however, has been to push for endless intervention and brutality abroad while offering lip-service to progressive causes at home, particularly when it comes to superficial expressions of “political correctness”.
Within a decade, the Democrats became the party of war, a position which Clinton herself was instrumental in creating during her time in the Obama administration. When Obama calls the chaos and death that have resulted from US intervention in Libya the worst mistake of his presidency, there is no better place to direct the guilt than Clinton, the architect of Gadaffi’s ouster. This is particularly true given her psychopathic laughter and joy in reaction to the rape and lynching of the popular African leader, something we are apparently supposed to believe is normal behavior.
Hillary & her gang of rich, powerful elite are going after me to send a msg to YOU: “Shut up, toe the line, or be destroyed.” But we, the people, will NOT be silenced. Join me in taking our Democratic Party back & leading a govt of, by & for the people! https://t.co/TOcAOPrxye pic.twitter.com/TahfE2XOek
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) October 20, 2019
While Trump is crass and uncouth in his relationship to race questions, there is nothing on his record quite as intense as Clinton unleashing racist paramilitary groups that are now selling black-skinned Libyans into literal slavery (of course, she is no stranger to that issue having used black convict labor to construct her own mansion, as she admitted unapologetically in her memoirs). Given Obama’s distancing, it appears Clinton is even losing clout among her own cadre.
Her attack on Gabbard is, for this very reason, expectant… in fact, slander is the only possible choice now for HRC. Having been faulted for the failures of the Obama administration (lets not forget that Trump’s promise to stay out of Syria proved far more popular with voters than Clinton’s suicidal plan to install a no-fly zone) and having forced her way into the election only to lose it, Clinton is swiftly running out of allies. Gabbard, on the other hand, represents everything that Clinton is not: she is young, charismatic and respected on both sides of the aisle… most crucially, having been exposed to the horrors of war directly as a soldier, she is not quite as keen on sending people to die in conflicts where the US has absolutely no justification for involvement.
Clinton must push the narrative that Gabbard is a Russian asset, and it is likely that she actually believes it herself, because, if Gabbard is proven right (about the US role in supporting Al Qaeda in Syria, the danger posed by continued friendly relations with Saudi Arabia, the need to finally put an end to blowing tax-payer money in outlandish attempts to kill our way into world dominance) than Clinton’s entire political ideology is on trial. If these ideological justifications disappear in a puff of smoke and the Democrats are forced to come to terms with their mistakes, Clinton’s tough-as-nails statesman mask will slip, revealing the visage of a mass-murderer and historical villain, “the personification of rot.” The Democrats are now faced with a choice: comfortable lies or hard truths. The popularity of figures like Gabbard, however, make it clear that the show can’t go on forever.