As if in the midst of a wild fire, the smoke and heat around the upcoming U.S. presidential election in November cloud and dull the spectator’s eyes. Can Trump really win? Will he? Why is it that Clinton can’t shake off Sanders in the primary? And when she finally does, will she be able to unite the Democratic party? (As if it were her task to do that.) Such are common questions that rather than in need of answer far more betray the intensity of the fire’s smoke impeding a clear sight, bordering on a reek of foul options.
Donald Trump and the GOP will not only win the U.S. presidency, but they will keep the House and the Senate. The Democrats, that is, have nearly no chance of winning either. And the reason is not just, as I wrote in Part 1, that most of the young supporters of Bernie Sanders will shun Hillary Clinton. There are, at least, three obvious reasons, why Donald Trump is in a far better position than Hillary Clinton:
- Young supporters of Bernie Sanders, eager to vote for something rather than against something, will not vote for Hillary Clinton, but either abstain from the election, vote their conscience and support Jill Stein of the Green Party, or will go for Donald Trump because of some overlaps in topics (esp. economic ones).
- Blue collar Democrats and union members seem to be very receptive to Donald Trump, as his economic and anti-free trade tirades run to the left of the Democrats. (See here and here for more.)
- Republicans and Conservatives show a far greater willingness to unite behind their (presumptive) nominee Donald Trump than Democrats and Progressives do vis-à-vis Hillary Clinton.
But there are two other reasons, related and intertwined, why Donald Trump and the Republicans now have a clear and pretty much unstoppable advantage over Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.
What makes Donald Trump appealing to many is not just his misogynist view on women (and related ones on minorities, immigrants, disabled people), but that he deliberately created a space in which it is now permissible “again” to have and to voice such views. As many on the right felt an “oppressive” climate of “political correctness”, they often self-censored in public, kept their views to themselves and a certain amount of anger because of that. But Donald Trump didn’t mind to voice his dismissive attitudes, and thus gave many (not only on the right) the liberating feeling that all they had felt for so many years but haven’t been allowed to express because of “the liberals” and “the media” can now be said without retribution. An old, weird virility, dismissive and brutal, reminiscent of an old, weird America, long surviving only on the fringe (even the large fringe of Rush Limbaugh’s “femi-nazis”), has now again become a veritable, almost honourable, position in the midst of the mainstream, the run for the presidency of the U.S. Something neither Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, the Alternative Right, the Rolling Thunder bikers could have ever dreamt to resurrect that shortly after everyone thought the progressive and Democratic majority to stay for generations to come.
An old, weird America, lurking in an old, weird virility.
Finally this long suppressed virility found a way back into the public light. And with that the relief that one no longer needs to shut oneself off from the world, to be able to live one’s full “potential” — what a liberation, and what a release. Donald Trump opened this door, and its wicked promise of being whole again, free, so full of energy, so real, so exciting, so happy to kick arse …
And related to this resurrecting fascism is the tragedy (as one may call it with some good reasons) that Hillary Clinton’s feminism no longer touches the younger generation. Hers is the feminism of the grandmothers and mothers, not of the daughters (and sons) who simply no longer care if and when women will crack the “glass ceiling” or not. And with good reasons. If capitalism is exploitative by nature, if there cannot be a “compassionate capitalism” that honours the earth and all living beings, that can balance the needs and rights of all sentient beings, then what is the point of becoming a CEO of a big company? Why should you, as a woman in your twenties, even strive for that, when all that economy and capitalism can achieve is hurt the planet? Thus many young women (and men) will simply see no point in being able to become an equal racketeer. Capitalism, the economy, is not an option. It’s Life, stupid!
The feminism of Hillary Clinton, of Nancy Pelosi, of Elizabeth Warren, is the feminism of equal rights and equal opportunities that has been part of the goals of the feminists of the late 1960s, early 1970s. For several reasons this feminism is no longer a viable option nor even a topic for young women (and men). That’s why they support Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein, not Hillary Clinton. And that’s why there is no feminist or, in a broader sense, progressive alternative available to counter Trump’s unleashed fascist virility. Quite the contrary: The more the leather boots stump to the drums of the Trump, the more the yearning for a revived eco-feminist alternative that cares not just for man but for the earth and all living beings will retreat, become reclusive, to survive the dark ages we are in. It is thus not at the Democrats’ disposal to counter Trump in the arena of politics and organized resistance.
So with these five points, the outlook for the Democrats and Hillary Clinton are worse than they might think. Something happened when this old, weird virility made its reappearance on the surface of the public’s psychê. It is this outlook that matters in November, not the superficial assurance that like Clinton finally supported Obama in 2008, so will Sanders support her in 2016. (Which is an erroneous comparison in itself.) This is part of the smoke of the wild fire, not what is burning on the ground.
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