The election conversation gets narrower and narrower the closer we get to November 8. I’ve already told you what I plan to do. I’ve also urged my readers to vote for Hillary, even though when she was first nominated I said I wouldn’t talk about my plans. This began out of loyalty to Bernie but I stuck with it because I don’t see another way. However judging from the polls many people don’t agree with me.
We now know the WikiLeaks emails came from a faction associated with the U.S. intelligence community. As I’ve already said, I have a problem with the timing of this so-called coup. I’m also afraid that once the word coup is associated with our electoral process it will open the door for more of the same in future elections. Something similar has already happened. In the short time since George W. Bush openly stole the presidency, the electoral process has become a sham. I’ll hold both parties responsible for any future incidences of the dueling-coups approach to elections.
The details we’ve been given in the emails have been a diversion from what we should be talking about—our interests. Donald Trump has plenty of nefarious associations, so electing him will hardly be a vote for virtue. We should be strategizing over which candidate best serves our real interests.
Peace is one of our interests. The driving force behind the world’s conflicts today is foreign policy–and not just U.S. foreign policy. The leaders of the world are locked in an infernal struggle for supremacy, and whatever you may have heard our interests are not their interests. We were outraged by Hillary’s actions abroad and her seeming lack of concern for the consequences, but she didn’t do those things on her own account. She was only serving the status quo, which will continue on its merry way regardless of who wins this election. (The status quo was one of the things this conversation was supposed to address.)
Donald talks a good game about making peace with Russia, but what will he do when confronted with the machine? I’ll leave it to his supporters to figure this one out. One of the things they like about him is his feistiness. What do they think he’ll do when it’s explained to him that Russia stands in the way of ‘our’ victory? (I put ‘our’ in quotation marks because regardless of who wins it will be a victory for the wealthy interests behind the scenes—not for us.) Trump’s supporters might be divided on the question of what he will do, but his vice president has already said he’ll be another Dick Cheney. And Mike Pence is definitely part of the machine right down to his allegiance to Israel. Trump was strongly encouraged to choose Pence as his running mate by the way. And Russia aside, many other places in the world are ripe for intervention.
We don’t even know how Bernie Sanders would have dealt with these pressures, but we do know that if he had been elected he would have listened to us. That’s the choice he made when he turned his back on the billionaires. But Bernie intends to be influential in a Clinton Presidency–an important difference between the two candidates. Some might discount his influence in future military decisions, but the point here is that a Trump presidency will serve the machine too, and without the influence of Bernie and his progressive allies in Congress. For these reasons the candidates cannot be clearly differentiated by their foreign policy.
Domestic policy is also in our interests. Clinton has positive economic policies and they are not all due to Sanders’ influence. For example she’s been talking since January about increasing the estate tax–an important step towards correcting economic inequality. Trump’s economic policies on the other hand will increase the advantages of the wealthy.
Social policies are in our interests as well. Trump has gone all socially conservative in this campaign. Some of his followers might expect him to relax this stance if he’s elected but that doesn’t seem likely because his running mate’s social policies are downright terrifying. For example as Governor of Indiana Pence signed an abortion bill that required parents of an aborted fetus to give it a funeral. However the law was blocked by a federal judge.
According to an article on politifact.com Clinton’s campaign website lists 32 topic headings, some as specific as Alzheimer’s disease and animal welfare. Trump’s web pages offer broad statements without details. In addition, Trump is known to shift his views even from interview to interview.
While Clinton changes her views, for example on the TPP, trump sometimes reverses positions within minutes. Still it’s possible to see a difference between them.
Trump has been consistent on three big economic policy items, according to Gary Burtless, an economist with the Brookings Institution: raising barriers to immigration; imposing potentially large tariffs on goods from Mexico and China; and enacting large tax cuts. Clinton is more cautious. Clinton proposes a fairly small increase in taxes that would be borne almost entirely by the wealthy. Her plan would increase revenues over 10 years by $1.1 trillion. Trump’s plan, across-the-board tax cuts (but favoring the wealthy) would lower revenues over 10 years by $9.6 trillion. Moody’s Analytics predicts that Trump’s proposals would make the U.S. economy less global and would substantially increase the federal debt, benefit the wealthy disproportionately, and push unemployment up.
In energy policy Clinton would wean the U.S. from fossil fuels by setting targets for renewable energy, while Trump would ‘revitalize’ the domestic oil and gas sector.
They agree however on increased spending on infrastructure, with Clinton offering more specifics for the budget.
Trump opposes the TPP. Clinton has moved away from her former support of it mostly as a result of her campaign against Sanders.
Clinton would increase the minimum wage nationally to $12, and in some locations, $15. Trump would leave this to the states. She would offer tax incentives for companies to bring back jobs to the U.S. She also favors increased policing of trading partners. Trump would use aggressive trade enforcement and possible tariffs. She would enhance worker training options. He has no public stance on this. She would boost federal investment by $275 billion over five years and create a $25 billion infrastructure fund. Trump hasn’t offered any details on his infrastructure expansion. She will propose a goal of renewable electricity ‘to power every home in America within 10 years. He’ll revive the fossil-fuel sector, including decreasing regulations. She would increase funding for scientific research at agencies like the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. He has no public stance on this. She would create a 15 percent tax credit for companies that share profits with workers on top of wages and pay increases. He has offered few details outside of a tax plan and a comment criticizing CEO pay. She supports keeping the Dodd-Frank law and in some cases would tighten rules for Wall Street, such as taxing high frequency trading. Trump would dismantle Dodd-Frank. She would ease regulatory burdens on community banks and support innovative financing methods. He has criticized government regulation but has offered no specific proposals. She Advocates equal pay, paid family leave, earned sick days, and expanded child care. He has no public stance on these things. ((Louis Jacobson, Compare the Candidates: Clinton versus Trump on the Economy. Politifact.com, July 22, 2016.))
We still haven’t found a solution for this momentum toward war. I’ll talk about that in the next post.