By Arun Gupta (October 9, 2016)
Trump is toast barring something unprecedented like Clinton being forced from the race. He has a slim chance to staunch the bleeding, though not really recover, if he trounces Clinton in the debate Sunday night. But that is unlikely given a) that a town hall format plays to Clinton’s strengths and will showcase his weaknesses; b) his refusal to do debate prep and the likelihood the audience will be hostile to him and; c) he is likely completely disoriented at this point by the all the odious revelations from Friday.
With nothing left to lose, Trump is likely to double down on stoking the nativist hysteria he has cultivated for 17 months. He and his followers already have a burn-it-all-down mentality, so it makes sense for him to now try to undermine the legitimacy of both Clinton and the electoral process (don’t call it “democratic process”). If it wasn’t for the numerous tapes and recordings that surfaced yesterday, as well as the expose of Clinton’s Wall Street speeches, the big news might have Trump feeding rumors that Obama is ordering the Border Patrol to allow “illegals” to “pour into the country so they can go and vote.”
This is after numerous comments claiming the election was being rigged and calling on his supporters to engage in voter suppression. He pivots to these threats and lies when he is down in the polls and now that he is flaming out he will go all in.
Trump, a teetotaler, has always been drunk on power, and now he will go on one last bender. Don’t expect this hysteria to end and congressional Republicans will be happy to welcome the xenophobes, racists, and misogynists back into the fold so they can use them to try to hamstring the Clinton administration.
But the white nationalist movement has likely peaked for now, and he has discredited the Alt Right. That they won’t be working the levers of power is a huge relief. And they will likely descend into infighting, quasi-random white-male terrorism, and go to seed as more organized forces will concentrate on the state level and feeding bizarre anti-Clinton, anti-immigrant media conspiracies that worm their way into the mainstream.Democrats are poised to take back the Senate and have an outside chance to build a firewall to withstand the inevitable losses they will suffer in the 2018 midterms when they have 23 seats up for election and two independents who caucus with the Democrats (Maine and Vermont), while the GOP has only 8 seats to defend.
As for the left, it has distinct advantages if it can patiently organize militant movements that can make gains around policing, structural racism, climate justice, immigrant rights, healthcare, anti-imperialism, and income and wealth redistribution. Showing that political, policy and social gains can be achieved will win more people to the left. But that militancy can’t lapse into collaboration with, or a defense of, the Democratic Party. And there will be significant clashes between the Left and big labor, mainstream environmentalists, and establishment feminist, LGBT, Latino, and African-American organizations.
But this is all welcome even exciting because this is the essence of politics, the fight for social power and conflicting visions of how society should be organized and function.
Never forget that Clinton and the Democrats are the enemy. They just present different threats and opportunities.
While we can envision some of the road ahead under a Clinton administration, much is unknowable. The paths we take depend on careful planning, creativity, foresight, and a refusal to ever compromise the principles of on solidarity, justice, and equality, and an unwavering belief in our collective ability to create a better world for all.
A final thought: Voting as an individual act is inconsequential. It is the mass aggregation of votes that has the potential to influence the outcome. At this point, it is game over for Trump, barring something truly extraordinary. So vote or don’t vote. If you do vote, vote for whomever you want wherever you live. It doesn’t matter anymore. My analysis was always based on what is happening on the ground, not the armchair ossified reading of history that passes for analysis on much of the left. The real question is not what you do in the voting booth on November 8. It’s what you do every day for the next four years after the election.