all free men?”
– Shakespeare, The Life and Death of Julius Caesar
if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is
– Luke 23:31
The folks supporting Donald Trump, the GOP nominee, are fairly easy to grasp. Many of them share the same racist proclivities of the voters that have turned out for GOP candidates in elections past. And many of them have the same ultranationalist affinities for authoritarian troglodyte candidates, a problem that has become a trademark of the Republican political agenda. But, oddly enough, these are not the real pariahs this election cycle. In truth, it is the leftists in this country – people who have either passed as liberals, or been tolerated by the liberal camp for the last eight years – that have been fated to be the political black sheep of 2016.
As Hillary & Co. struggles to win the hearts and minds of millions of disenchanted Americans, her cult of curiously ignorant followers continues to bemoan the left, which will not support #her. In fact, they are so vociferous that one might think the left had actively begun stumping for Trump! Any disdain for the anti-Hillary left notwithstanding, the truth remains that HRC is the one who deserves the lion’s share of the blame for such a mediocre march towards the White House.
If at first some on the left were willing to back Bernie (despite a handful of warranted reservations about the capital “D” affixed to his name), it was partly in light of either a Hillary of Trump presidency that this choice was made: The other candidates were, in and of themselves, two sound reasons to back Bernie. And this very choice, that is, to support a fairly mainstream Democratic candidate like Bernie, gave Hillary and her cult hope that Berners, as well as some of the accompanying leftward folks, would eventually be brought back into the fold.
But then the DNC revealed its true character—and not just once, with Bernie backing Hillary, but twice, with #her shameless Wall Street pick for VP. And certainly the Debbie Wasserman Schultz ordeal – a virtual coup against Bernie and the folks that funded him – has put the icing on the corrupt cake that the DNC has been baking for the last two presidential terms, which it thought it would force-feed voters this year. Indeed, it seems that all along the DNC has conspired to “deal #her in”—never mind every single contemptible black mark against her, which the Hillary filigree so wantonly continues to ignore. Of course, none of this was lost on Trump, who made clear in a nationally televised speech or two that the DNC is riddled with shills for Hillary.
But for those on the left who will continue to participate in this horse-and-pony show, settling for Hillary chiefly because she is someone other than Trump is a miserable, unacceptable, and psychologically and emotionally reviling logic, to say the least. So, in the eyes of the HRC cult, and in the public sphere of the liberal domain where many of the left have been able to move about rather freely, those who will not kowtow to Hillary (i.e., to the totalizing narrative that compels so many unthinking Democrats to abide by a falsely dichotomous reality of lesser-evil voting) are the ones to be hanged for their crimes against progress in 2016. And here is how Hillary & Co. spins it: The left has effectively picked Trump as their president, cursing #her cult to second place in the competition!
Ostensibly, then, the left is the Judas Iscariot of the 2016 US presidential elections, though it has hardly sold its soul for a sack of silver—a thing that seems much more in keeping with the protocol of the Hillary campaign. Sadly, though, the HRC cult does not even have the common decency to treat the American left as any other kind of literary figure, such as Brutus, say, from Shakespeare’s The Life and Death of Julius Caesar. Brutus certainly plotted against Caesar, and was even collusive in his death; but his actions were far more noble in their political underpinnings than that of Judas, who, like so many HRC cult members, ironically, was in it for pride and the political purchase that a sack of silver might eventually afford him.
Another word on pride: The point of the capitalist American empire is to expand; this is fundamentally a matter of pride for the HRC cult. But by voting for the so-called “lesser evil” this year – as opposed to, say, organizing and building a new politics – self-described liberals and progressives do nothing to defeat the Trump carcinogens that already riddle Hillary and the DNC. How about the grassroots movement Bernie led? All of that money, it turns out, was funneled right into the big money machine that will not relent in supporting America’s would-be empress, Shillary Clinton. And the #ImWithHer Democrats are upset about the perceived intransigence of the left? How simple are these people?
For now, despite the disdain of the Hillary contingent, the left trudges on like the protagonist in Plato’s allegorical cave. The heroine emerges from the den of political ignorance only to see things for what they really are, and only to grasp the truth of things as it actually is: Hillary and Trump are one and the same! Armed with this knowledge, Plato’s protagonist marches back into the cave, though she knows her life is imperiled by returning. Similarly, the left has seen the 2016 US presidential elections rouse for what it really is, and for what it has always been: A lie that cries, “Hillary or bust!” And like the heroine who slinks back into the dark folds of the cave in order to fight the darkness the blinds her contemporaries, the left need contain no regard whatsoever for how much discomfort it causes the HRC cult, especially not as the left continues to educate, organize, agitate, and work against both Hillary and Trump in these upcoming months.
Though Hillary supporters do not recognize it now, they would do well to understand sooner than later that, like Judas, they are going to have to live with their complicity in the wicked political choices they have scheduled to make. Ultimately, by voting for #her, they achieve little more than the allegorical Judas did when he betrayed his friend with a kiss. Indeed, in the case of the HRC cult, theirs is a political suicide, and something arguably much worse than what Judas did when he hanged himself from a tree.
Edward Martin is Professor of Public Policy and Administration, Graduate Center for Public Policy and Administration at California State University, Long Beach, and co-author of Savage State: Welfare Capitalism and Inequality.