Andrew O’Hehir writes in Salon that Hillary Clinton and other establishment Democrats are just as dedicated to preserving the status quo are are establishment Republicans.
For Hillary Clinton and the political faction she embodies or represents, America is pretty much OK, both in itself and in its relationship to the world, and American politics are mostly OK too. Yeah, the Republicans have gotten really weird and increasingly crazy and some significant tweaks are needed to correct for that: We need to consolidate gains in LGBT rights and push back on women’s reproductive freedom and confront the lingering legacy of racism. We can make guns a little tougher to buy, make college a little more affordable and make sure that working people have slightly more resources and better healthcare.
Those are not bad things! Moreover, it’s understandable that to many Democratic voters those sound like realistic and potentially achievable goals, whereas the Sanders agenda of “political revolution” and free stuff for everyone sounds unhinged and impossible.
The problem with all that is not the agenda itself but the reassuring frame of “regular-order democracy” around it, in which such things might actually happen. No such democracy exists, which was and is the fundamental point of the Sanders campaign.
You won’t hear Hillary Clinton use the term “oligarchy” to describe the way the United States is governed, as Sanders does in every stump speech. Why should she? She’s one of the oligarchs, or more properly one of their trusted employees. You won’t hear her say that free-market capitalism has utterly failed to improve the lives of ordinary people, or that the neo-liberal economic regime of low taxes and government austerity is a disastrous scam that has robbed from the poor and given to the rich. Or that much of this resulted from the deregulation of financial markets carried out by her husband’s administration and a Democratic Congress, as directed by their oligarch overlords.
Hillary Clinton genuinely believes, I suspect, that things are not nearly as bad as hothead Bernie makes them sound, that most of the problems are things a competent and compassionate administrator can fix, and that the Democratic Party hasn’t made any fundamental mistakes. Change a couple of the proper nouns and that is exactly, word for word, what Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney believed too.