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Saturday, September 03, 2016

US elections- Clinton vs Trump- damned if we do vote, damned if we don’t

By SJ Otto

As the pundits keep saying, this is one of the dirtiest elections in US history. One candidate has a problem convincing people she is honest. The other candidate has problems convincing voters he is sane and rational. Of course I am writing about the two presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

For those of us who may actually consider the possibility of voting. And those of us who consider ourselves left-wing and issue oriented, this campaign is a terrible mess. Both candidates have some real problems that will plague us if or when he or she wins.

Neither candidate is really that far to the left or right. Compared to most Republicans Trump is to the left of the others. That is not to say he is left-wing, rather he is a right-wing candidate compared to his far-far-far right-wing Republicans. Clinton’s politics are almost right of center. She is best labeled a center-wing candidate—maybe even a right of center candidate.

On the domestic side Clinton will be choosing the next Supreme Court Judge if she is elected. That is a good thing as she will probably pick someone who will stand up for abortion rights and civil liberties. Also if she wins the Republican Party will not be able to consolidate their power they have massed over the last few years. They have used clever organizing tricks and gerrymandering to take over the Senate, the House and most state level governments in this country. With Trump in office the agenda of the Republicans is set to take off. Nothing will stop the most repressive political establishment party in US history (at least in my lifetime). Most important to me and others will be the end of Obama Care (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act/ PPACA, or Affordable Care Act/ ACA). While it may be a disaster, as the Republicans have claimed, for some health businesses and some middle and upper class patients, it is the first time many lower middle class and poor workers have been able to afford health care. The Republicans seem to want to see those classes of people go without insurance and die. As a member of the lower middle class workers, I resent the idea that I should die for the convenience of wealthier workers and business people. I don’t owe them anything like that.

But Clinton’s benefits come at a price. She is the most hawkish and pro-US imperialist candidate for office in years. So far she has voted to go to war at every opportunity that came up when she was in the US Congress. She voted to go to war in Iraq. She supports arming the Free Syrian Army, a right-wing pro-imperialist pro-NATO guerrilla movement. She will probably increase troops in the war against ISIL (the Islamic State). She may increase involvement in Afghanistan. She may make havoc for left-wing (or Bolivarian) governments in Latin America. She is way more hawkish than our present leader Barack Obama.

As a member of the Peace and Social Justice Center in Wichita, Kansas and as a major activist in the anti-imperialist movement, this means we will be busy working against Clinton’s pro-war pro-military policies.

On the other hand Trump has said that NATO is obsolete. He is right about that. He has indicated he will oppose nation building, which usually means our occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. He has said he will negotiate with North Korea—another good idea. He may increase involvement against ISIL. But that would be expected of such a Republican politician. Most of this would be a positive change over the present foreign policies of the US.

So we have to choose between a possible positive change in foreign policy or defense of expanded health care and some working class benefits. Or not vote at all.

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