By Joe Maniscalco
July 26, 2016
Brooklyn, NY – Much of organized labor bet the house on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Democratic Primaries — but the former secretary of state’s failure to step up for working class men and women has actually opened up the door wide for Donald Trump and his profoundly racist and misogynistic campaign to invade the White House this November.
At the time of this writing, CNN polls have Trump beating Clinton by five points in a four-way race with Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein.
Last week in Cleveland, at the hate and fear festival known as the Republican National Convention, Trump incredibly cast himself as the literal voice of disaffected American workers.
“Every day I wake up determined to deliver a better life for the people all across this nation that have been ignored, neglected and abandoned,” the billionaire butt of countless late night jokes declared. “I have visited the laid-off factory workers and the communities crushed by our horrible and unfair trade deals. These are the forgotten men and women of our country and they are forgotten. But they’re not going to be forgotten for long. These are people who work hard but no longer have a voice. I am your voice.”
Forget that Trump’s signature clothing line is made in China or that there’s an accumulating number of heinous sexual assault charges against him or that he vehemently railed against any kind of minimum wage hike. Trump may ultimately be successful in convincing just enough people that he really is a staunch supporter of American workers because Clinton’s record on job-killing trade deals including the Trans Pacific Partnership or TTP, is so laughably poor.
After spending good chunk of her campaign running away from that time in 2012 when she called the TPP the “gold standard” in trade agreements, Clinton wrapped up the Democratic Presidential Primaries in July installing appointees to the Democratic National Party platform committee who wasted no time killing the explicitly anti-TTP amendment that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ supporters had advanced.
And now, just a few days after Trump regurgitated his verbal vendetta against unfair trade policies that hurt American workers, Clinton turns around and taps a guy to be her vice-presidential running mate who was one of 13 Democratic legislators who voted to fast-track the very same TPP.
Virginia Senator and newly-minted vice-presidential pick Tim Kaine is known for bolstering his vote to fast-track the TPP by attacking opponents of free trade agreements as “losers.”
Clintonites can blame any number of third party “spoilers” that they like, but if hard-pressed and frustrated workers steer clear of Hilary in November, they have no one to blame but themselves and their tired neoliberal policies that leave workers cold.
In a message to supporters ahead of his speech at the Democratic National Convention on Monday, Sanders said his truly grassroots campaign had “changed the policy platform of the Democratic Party and of Secretary Hillary Clinton's campaign.”
It needs to do just that. Absent Johnson’s or Stein’s campaign catching fire, those dreading the prospect of a United States of America under the dominion of Donald J. Trump and his white supremacist buddies — including former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke — must rely on a progressive electorate willing to hold their collective noses and vote for Clinton.
That outcome, however, would be a lot less uncertain if Clinton actually started behaving like the progressive, pro-worker candidate 1199SEIU, the United Steelworkers and other powerful labor groups keep insisting that she is.