Hillary Clinton’s campaign against Donald Trump is unwinnable.
Even if she gets enough votes in the right states in November, the former Secretary of State will take on the job of uniting a country where millions of people, both left and right, believe that she should be in jail. Latest polls show that she has about a fifty percent chance of beating Donald Trump.
I learned to walk, talk and breathe as a tiny baby in Washington D.C., so let me tell you what is going on. The Clintons and their Foundation run the biggest futures market for favors in the nation’s capital. There are people who have been holding onto Clinton Favor Bonds for thirty years, waiting for them to mature. Many were hoping they could call in or cash in favors from the Clintons in 2008. That didn’t work out. Now, the Clintons owe even more people and even more people owe the Clintons, and the only way for them to settle this byzantine network of handshakes is for Hillary to become president. If she had had to run against a low-energy guy like Jeb, she would’ve mopped the floor with him. But this might not have been her year to make that futures market worth anything.
What’s terrifying is that the Washington Democrats don’t understand how deeply fucked they are this year. One doesn’t need to look any farther than to the Washington Post, a venerable Potomac River valley news institution, Pulitzer-winning pride of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, to understand how inaccurate reports from the field are metastasizing into one big ass-covering festival on K-Street.
The title of the article was “How Clinton and Sanders Avoided a Broken Convention.” The article comes from exclusively anonymous sources in the Clinton and Sanders campaigns, but what the Sanders and Clinton “aides” and “advisers” were feeding the Post was just meaningless, feel good garbage that had zero relation to what I heard from exhausted Sanders delegates, who’d come to Philadelphia with idealistic ambitions about truth, justice and democracy and found themselves thrust into puppy kicking politics.
“The Clinton people wanted to use us as a piggy bank,” said Jon Schnitzer, a Sanders delegate from California. “They said ‘Oh, now you can fundraise for us!’”
But don’t listen to that human with an actual name, who is now my Facebook friend, listen to unnamed sources, the Washington Post would tell you. These people’s jobs rely on Washington believing that they have their shit together, when every indication from the convention was that they absolutely do not.
“Two campaigns that had been through a bruising primary season pulled together and orchestrated a week relatively free of public controversy,” the Post declares.
Look at the keywords in that sentence “orchestrated” and “public.” That orchestration involved the systematic suppression of anti-Hillary flags and posters and signs, and even ones dedicated to “Palestinian human rights.”
— Matt Bors (@MattBors) July 28, 2016
The Clinton “whips” (people in the stands who order delegates around) confiscated Bernie signs from Bernie delegates, and replaced them with Hillary signs that the delegates defaced to say “Liar” and “Stronger Together” posters marked up to read “Stop Her.”
It wasn’t that they were disappointed that Sanders didn’t get the electoral votes necessary to “clinch” the nomination, it’s that they felt the process was rigged against them. And when they came to Philadelphia, their experience there only amplified that feeling. Many left with a determination to stay on in politics, but with significant portions turning to Dr. Jill Stein in the Green Party, who made passionate appeals to dissident Sanders delegates to join her.
One Iowa Sanders delegate, Daniel Clark, now has Stein as his Facebook profile. Why the Washington Post didn’t talk to people who were prepared to give their names is beyond me, but maybe it has something to do with the ethos of “omerta” that permeates political parties.
It was up against this God-like power that the Sanders Democrats arrived in Philadelphia. They made lots of Facebook friends, even among some Clinton delegates, but many left deeply alienated from the Democratic party. Even if that doesn’t count as “public controversy,” but it still does matter, even if Washington isn’t waking up on Monday, today, to read about it.
I posted this Washington Post story on my Facebook wall and tagged a number of Sanders delegates to get their take. The comments I received within seconds were a dozen photos of anti-Clinton signs held up by disgruntled Bernie delegates, and then Clinton attempts to cover them up, even bringing out people just to hold American flags in front of protest placards.
At one point, the Oregon and Washington delegates started chanting “No More War” to which Democratic party loyalists responded “Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!” This is from multiple sources who were gracious enough to give me their names despite the delicate nature of American politics, or whatever genteel, mint-julep-ass sipping excuse worked on the Washington Post editorial board.
“There was dissent the whole time,” said Sitina Gutierrez, 38, a Bernie delegate from Texas. “There were some of course that went along with the program for self serving reasons and some just because but it was a bad attempt at forced Unity no doubt!”
On Thursday, I had met Gutierrez as she left the Wells Fargo Arena with her credentials bearing the “I Support Palestinian Human Rights” sticker popular with Palestinian rights activists in the hall. What happened to her is the reason “mind boggling” is a descriptive term.
“Somebody, a Clinton supporter, told me to take my sign down because it’s offensive,” the Texas delegate told me. “I asked her why are Palestinian rights offensive to her and she said ‘because I am for American rights.'”
And the coercive tactics were clear to the youngest Sanders delegates, too. Giselle Herzfeld, 19, gave a grim description of what happened in the Facebook comment thread.
“They instructed what I call “censorship police” to find protesters and instruct people nearby to cover us up with signs. They coordinated patriotic chants to drown out our calls for peace and justice. They filled our empty seats with actors,” Herzfeld said. “Their unity is a lie.”
For some, it was a deeply disturbing process.
“Our chants of ‘No More War’ drowned out by ‘Hillary, Hillary, Hillary’ will forever haunt me,” said Clark.
I mentioned to Herzfeld that a delegate had hoisted a Palestinian flag only to see security quickly cart him away. That’s something that only happens at Trump rallies, one would think. But no. Clinton rallies see the same thing. The pattern is disturbing.
Herzfeld had seen a completely different incident of attempted protest.
“I noticed that a lot of people were protesting Israel, and getting almost no press for it,” she told me.
“In the convention, I was disturbed when I saw a person by the stage with a large banner protesting Israel’s treatment of Palestine get completely covered by Hillary signs in a matter of seconds. There were what I call ‘censorship police’ in yellow vests whose entire job was basically hiding protests from the media. It terrified me, as a protester inside the convention, seeing the lengths they would go to silence us.”
What Clinton should remember is that delegates like Herzfeld and Clark have lots of politically active friends across the country, the world, even, and in their own home towns and states. These friends they can reach through Facebook with their dissident Stein sympathies. That’s a messaging problem Clinton can’t even quantify. Or just broadcasting their renewed distaste for Clinton tactics that multiple Sanders delegates described as “Orwellian.”
“We were treated like children,” wrote Georgia Bernie delegate Julie Wangari Kisaka, 32, who I met after all the delegates left on Thursday evening.
The Democratic National Committee “continuously tried to silence our voices. They tried to bully us, under the assumption that we would all just fall in line. We were called crazy, and some of us, including myself, were physically attacked. They tried to intimidate us, but their attempts only fired us up more. Even when it felt like the world was against us, we did not give in. We refused to accept the status quo. We continued through the struggle. We fought with all of our hearts. We stood up and fought back.”
That’s a Facebook post that’s gotten 58 likes from genuine human beings. Those aren’t part of some paid astro-turf social media campaign. They come from people who still believe America is better than favors-for-favors, fond-but-not-in-love, pig-in-a-cage-on-antibiotics politics as usual that is being propped up as the only bulwark against Trump’s “restore law and order” message. It might not work.
But that doesn’t matter to people who have stock in the Clintons’ favors futures market. What matters to them is that they did their share to help Hillary this year, and aren’t on the Clinton’s shitlist. Even if Clinton cannot win the general election, they plunked down their favor chips, like favorable primary coverage or failing to cover the Sanders delegate walkout. They’re OK.
But those are the folks who are rich enough to escape the wrath of a Trump presidency. They can leave the country, or buy a new passport, if they are some of Clinton’s wealthiest political clients. But for millions of other Americans there is no helicopter ride off the roof of the Establishment embassy as the forces of Trumpism close in on the city, promising revenge and jail or libel suits or “worse” to their enemies, the “cuckservatives” and other nonbelievers.