Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Disappointing New York Primaries

I had a feeling that New York would disappoint with this year's primaries, which were the most important primaries that this state has seen in four decades now, since Jimmy Carter was elected president back in 1976.

Sure enough, New Yorkers gave big, decisive victories to Donald Trump on the Republican side, and to Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side. That makes the race between these two in the general election seem almost inevitable.

And that is nothing to get excited about.

Now, Trump is one story. He received over 60% of the vote with 94% of precincts reporting, which means he far surpassed the 50% threshold needed to capture all of the delegates. Maybe he will now get the nod before the Republican Convention in Cleveland, and maybe not. But this was a huge win for him, widening his already considerable lead over second place Ted Cruz, who ran a distant third in the New York primaries today. Governor Kasich was able to get second place with 25% of the vote, while Cruz received 14%. 

On the Democratic side, this was a big contest. If Hillary won, she would, according to the pundits, basically clinch the Democratic nomination, and be the de facto Democrat for the general election. If Bernie managed to pull off an upset, he would completely shake up the Democratic primary and, despite being behind in the delegate count, would essentially have established himself as the one with all of the momentum. There would be a sense that Hillary's campaign was unraveling and on it's way out.

However, Hillary managed to win.

And I have to admit, this is the first time in a long, long time that New York voters completely disappointed me. 

This was a chance - a real chance - to shake up the political system, by bringing in someone who not only spoke out against big money in politics, as Hillary has, but followed that up by adamantly refusing to take big money from Wall Street banks and major corporations. Sure, Hillary talks the talk. But how strong will she truly be against corporate America and the big banks when she takes enormous sums from them without any hesitation? How serious is she about getting big money out of politics, when she is the epitome of a candidate taking big funds from special moneyed interests for her political war chest? 

Had New York actually voted for Bernie Sanders, it might finally have been a statement that Americans were ready for something different. Finally, finally tired of politics as usual, with the same old faces and the same old speeches, and the same old inaction, or even worse, the same action disguised as helping the American people, but actually hurting them instead. Maybe Bernie would not be able to wave a magic wand and make everything that he has been talking about - a single payer healthcare system that works for all, bringing back Glass-Steagall, getting big money out of politics, rooting out corruption and empowering the American middle class - become a reality immediately. But he would at least be a real tireless activist in this regard, and with the platform of the presidency, he would strongly shift the course of political debate in this country, where people would no longer simply laugh or wave such ideas off as nonsense.

Many of these ideas are hardly nonsensical. In fact, I think Americans have been missing the boat for a long time on a single-payer, affordable universal healthcare system, seeing as though the United States has now long stood alone as the only industrialized country to fail to provide it's citizens with one. Literally every other industrialized nation has such a system in place, and much like the United States, these are free societies with ready access to information and debate. They see what is happening here in the U.S., where advocates of the current healthcare system boldly proclaim this to be the greatest system in the world. Yet, not one single country among these has opted to scrap their systems in favor of one closer to what we have hear, although we sure seem to always need to make major adjustments and complete overhauls with ours, after time proves our system to be inadequate. Seriously, when was the last time that some major changes to the overall healthcare system was not a major issue in a national election here? Doesn't that say something about just how much our for private healthcare system has failed the American people? 

Apparently not for the voters. Not yet, anyway, even if this year suggests that we are finally, finally getting closer to reaching that boiling point when people have had enough of everything in life, as reflected in our political system, being about profits first and foremost, without fail. 

In other countries, people also have other nice things that many Americans, including Democrats who support Hillary, have referred to as "Pie in the Sky" ideas, at least when Bernie Sanders suggests them. Things like free college, affordable childcare, livable wages, and cracking down on big banks and Wall Street influence and de facto control of government.  

Yes, Hillary and her supporters will tell you to slow down, not get ahead of yourself, and to remain realistic if you favor ideas like this, which of course are realities in most other industrialized nations. They remain firmly among those Americans who are deathly afraid of the label "socialist" when speaking of such things.

Yet, many Americans seem to be losing their fear of socialism. Bernie Sanders does not hesitate when people label him as such, even though "socialist" has largely come to be a bad word in American politics over the course of the last three or four decades. Instead of running from that, as many Democrats and so-called liberals do, Bernie tries to educate the person making the claim, and explaining what he is in favor of, and what he is not in favor of (hint: Bernie is not in favor of establishing a Communist-style dictatorship).

Indeed, he does not back down from intellectual debate, does not simply run with his tail between his legs when someone suggests he is too liberal, or a socialist, as so many would be Democratic officeholders have done for many years now. Even better, when he talks about too much money being wrapped up in the political system, he is not being a hypocrite, because his actions do not betray his words. The money that he got was from small donations, and that is it.

But, we now have Hillary, and she seems to be on the verge of collecting enough delegates in this crooked system to make her the de facto Democratic nominee. And as I have stated before, the only thing that I can see which makes her different than any other major candidate is the fact that she is a woman, and would become the first woman president.

That's it.

Because frankly, in every other respect, she's a very typical, slimy politician. She will say and do anything and everything to get elected, and she flip flops according to how she reads the political winds, her decisions always weighed not by what is best for the country or the American people, or even her state, but what would be most politically profitable.

Her supporters can explain it away, but at the end of the day, she voted to give Bush more power in a key vote that, for all intents and purposes, authorized Bush to go to war in Iraq. That means she voted for the Iraq invasion, while Bernie voted against it. She used to be for affordable, universal healthcare for all Americans, now she is a de facto spokesperson for the for profit healthcare system in the United States. Her husband, while president, repealed Glass-Steagall and passed a big crime bill that has put a lot of nonviolent offenders behind bars in our for profit prison system, and shamefully, the United States is, by far, the country with the most people behind bars. But don't worry. She and her husband recently suggested that they might have overdone it, so all's good, right?

Yes, she apologized for that, but offers no apologies for remaining opposed to reinstating Glass-Steagall, nor for actively seeking big money to back her presidential campaign. She denies that those funds would mean she is beholden to corporate interests and vows that she will get tough, but privately, seems to tell the big banksters that the American people have been too harsh on them. At different times and under different circumstances, she has alternately labeled her political stance as grounded in conservatism, as proudly moderate, and even suggested that she, and not Bernie, is the real progressive in this race.

If you do not agree with her political viewpoint, just be patient. There is a good chance that she will either lean that way when it becomes popular or, failing that, she will explain how that is always how she really feels, but she needs to be a political pragmatist, a realist.

That's Hillary in a nutshell. Like her husband, she is a phony. She will say and do whatever she feels she needs to in order to finally, finally reach the White House.

And I am disappointed in New York today, for helping her get that much closer to fulfilling those incredible ambitions of hers. 

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