In this issue: Eric Draitser on the racial animus that animated Trump’s legions. 70 Years of Decline for American Labor: Eric Laursen. When Clinton Intervened in Russia’s Elections: Nick Alexandrov. A World Beyond Trump: Matthew Stevenson. Tech Industry Monopolies: Rob Larson. What Blacks Don’t Owe Obama: Yvette Carnell. America’s Homeless Children: Richard Schweid. The War on Fracking: Lee Ballinger. Exxon and Climate Change: Jeffrey St. Clair. PLUS: Mike Whitney on the Central Banks; Chris Floyd on Trump’s America; and Jeffrey St. Clair on John Berger.
Exclusively in the New Print Issue of CounterPunch
Listen and you can hear the sneering “elite” liberal left narrative about how the big dumb white working class is about to get screwed over by the incoming multi-millionaire- and billionaire-laden Trump administration it voted into office. Once those poor saps in the white working class wake up to their moronic mistake, the narrative suggests, they’ll come running back to their supposed friends the Democrats.
It’s true, of course, that Trump is going to betray white working class people who voted for him in the hope that he would be a populist champion of their interests – a hope he mendaciously cultivated. But there are three basic and related problems with the scornful liberal-left storyline. The first difficulty is that the notion of a big white proletarian “rustbelt rebellion” for Trump has been badly oversold. “The real story of the 2016 election,” the left political scientist Anthony DiMaggio notes, “is not that Trump won over working class America, so much as Clinton and the Democrats lost it…The decline of Democratic voters among the working class in 2016 (compared to 2012) was far larger than the increase in Republican voters during those two elections” If the Democrats had run Bernie Sanders or someone else with “a meaningful history of seeking to help the working class,” DiMaggio observes, they might well have won. More
Donald Trump ran for President on the slogan “Make America Great Again,” implying that America had been great once, but no longer is. True to form, Hillary Clinton’s rejoinder was clueless. America is great now, she would insist every chance she got -- indispensably great, “exceptional” even.
Could there be a more empty-headed exchange of views! After all, Trump was neither asserting nor implying anything; he was pitching a line to a demographic that he, advertising himself, wanted to target. Therefore, no rebuttal was called for; least of all, one as inane as Clinton’s. But, of course, she was pitching a line too. More
As he shuffles out the door, Barack Obama reminds us that he is, at heart, a moral weakling. On Wednesday, Obama denied clemency to Leonard Peltier. It was a thoroughly deplorable decision. Obama could have acted humanely, stood up for human and indigenous rights and stuck it to the FBI at the same time. But, like Clinton before him, Obama folded, his pliant conscience untroubled by the perpetuation of one of the gravest judicial travesties of our time.
No doubt Obama thinks his welcome, but belated, commutations of sentences for Oscar Lopez Rivera and Chelsea Manning will eclipse the injustice done to Peltier. For eight years, Obama was happy to exploit Native Americans as props for photo ops, but remained mute as poverty skyrocketed on reservations, tribal people got gunned down more frequently by cops than blacks or Hispanics, tribal lands were preyed upon by mining and oil companies and pipelines bored through tribal burial grounds and water sources. Now this.No doubt Obama thinks his welcome, but belated, commutations of sentences for Oscar Lopez Rivera and Chelsea Manning will eclipse the injustice done to Peltier. For eight years, Obama was happy to exploit Native Americans for photo ops, but remained mute as poverty skyrocketed on reservations, tribal people got gunned down more frequently by cops than blacks or Hispanics and tribal lands were preyed upon by mining and oil companies. More