‘Critical support’ of Hillary Clinton?

Choosing between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is like choosing between Richard Nixon and George Wallace.

One heads a powerful machine dedicated to preserving the status quo.  The other is rebel who appeals to hatred and prejudice.

GettyImages-480679428.0I can understand why someone might support the Nixon-like candidate as a lesser evil.  The expression for this is “critical support”, which is means you may support a candidate, but reserve the right to call the candidate to account.

The problem with this is when the support ceases to be critical, which is what I see happening.   I know a number of liberal Democrats who are so afraid of Donald Trump that they think it out-of-bounds to point out that Clinton is a warmonger and literally a paid servant of Wall Street.

Support for a candidate should never be unconditional.  If you demand nothing in return for your support of a candidate, nothing is what you’ll get.

The leaked Hillary Clinton e-mails, especially the ones with the excerpts from her Goldman Sachs speeches, show that she regards her rich donors as her peer group, but that she finds it necessary to appease her core voters, as with the Dodd-Frank banking reforms.

The fact that Clinton can be pressured is, as I see it, the only argument for anti-war, pro-labor, pro-consumer or environmentalist Democrats to support Clinton.  And they are naive if they give their support without demanding commitments in return.


As I’ve written in previous posts, I don’t intend to vote for either Clinton or Trump.  If enough principled Democrats vote for Jill Stein and enough principled Republicans vote for Gary Johnson, maybe someday we’ll get more meaningful choices.

Of course I realize that third-party voting, in and of itself, will change little.   Change requires grass-roots organizing year in and year out.   I’m not part of this.   Some mornings I can barely drag my aging carcass out of bed.   This web log is my substitute for actually doing something.

I respect those who are trying to reform either of the two parties from within.   When and if their efforts bear fruit, I will support their efforts with my vote.


Wikileaks: The Podesta Emails

Why Feminists Shouldn’t Trust Hillary Clinton by Kathleen Geier for The New Republic.   What Geier writes applies more generally than just to feminists.

Clinton’s GOP supporters expect something in return by Darrell Samuelson for Politico.

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6 Responses to “‘Critical support’ of Hillary Clinton?”

  1. Bill Harvey Says:

    REAL good one, Phil.

    The thing I focus on at this point is that the election will have consequences for the ground level organizing you call for. Many progressive people know Clinton’s record- she’ll get no free ride like Obama. The more we clarify that the corporate liberalism that dominates the top of the Democratic Party does not represent a way forward for the Amerrerician (I like my spelling better) people, the better off we’ll be.

    With Clinton in office we’ll have a golden opportunity to push our agenda whether we expect her to respond or not. (I don’t expect much.) With Trump in office, who knows…?

    I think of it as not so much support for Clinton, but as self-defense against the Republicans that will help put us in a better position in January against the corporate Dems. No one reading this is more firmly opposed to the politics and values represented by the 3 Clintons- Bill, Barack, and Hillary- but it’s time we recognize what can be important to us about presidential elections. Simply put: If we recognize the opportunity before us, we could be in the best position we’ve been in for decades. (And no one has ever accused me of being an optimist.)

    And I’ll add that Trump gets way too much credit. He’s a blowhard, a bigot, and a bully. I get it, I get it. But our problems are much greater than one individual. Both the corporate leadership of the DP and the plain nasty pricks of the RP have been preparing the ground for a Trump for decades. This chicken has come home to roost. The point to be drawn now is that ANY Republican would be bad- worse, substantially worse- for me and mine.

    Here in “safe” MD I’m pretty sure ‘ll take the same approach as you and cast a protest vote of questionable value for Jill Stein. Before and after the election I’ll continue to work for a ban on fracking in MD.

    Thanks for everything, Phil,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lisa the Infidel Says:

    Trump and Clinton are in on way even comparable.


    • philebersole Says:

      What Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have in common is that they are both members of a social circle of rich celebrities—a social circle from which commoners such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are excluded.

      The Clintons were honored guests at Trump’s most recent wedding.

      Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton are close friends, and have promised not to let the election interfere with their friendship.

      Before deciding to run for President, Donald Trump sought advice from his good friend, Bill Clinton.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Anne Tanner Says:

    I think I’d have to go back to Adlai Stevenson to find a candidate for president whom I would trust. I don’t expect that of presidential candidates. But we have never had a woman president, vice president, treasury secretary, chief of staff, and on and on–and I haven’t seen men objecting to that. Now we have a chance. Will she be awful? No, I doubt that she will. Will she be great? Odds are against it. But we have had such a long and dreary time with candidates I could not trust and often feared, who thought I was inferior because of my gender. I want that to stop, now.

    I do not consider myself a feminist. You don’t have to be, to choose to vote for Hillary Clinton, though men always give us that label if we do make that decision. I’m sorry you have decided to make it easier for Donald Trump to get in, but that is what it is.



    • Darlene Aiken Says:

      I have to agree with Anne. It’s time for a woman. I am concerned about her hawkishness but Trump is much more frightening. Would love to see Jill Stein as president but lets face it, she doesn’t have a chance. And Trump does have a chance if we don’t do what we can to stop him.


  4. ashiftinconsciousness Says:



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