Which Side Are You On?

Which Side Are You On?

by Jim Luken
By DonkeyHotey (Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump - Caricatures) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
“Which Side Are You On”
They say in Harlan County
There are no neutrals there
You’ll either be a union man
Or a thug for J. H. Claire
by Florence Reece for the United Mine workers in Harlan County Kentucky (1931)

So…as this issue of Streetvibes goes to press it appears that, next November, Americans will choose between the billionaire reality TV star and the (multi­millionaire) first woman to head a major party ticket for President of these United States.

Spoiler: Unless something really chaotic or incredibly quirky occurs—a very real possibility in the insane climate that surrounds both candidacies—Hillary will win in a landslide. And shady “business­as­usual” will continue in the halls of US governance. I have watched politics intensely for fifty years. I’m not a betting man, but I would risk my family fortune on this being the outcome.

The Trumpster

Let’s talk about Trump. In spite of his being fabulously wealthy, and having a narcissistic personality disorder that could make Freud rethink his notions of the Ego, The Donald has managed to do what many felt was unthinkable before it happened. He and his angry white followers have managed to wrest control of Republican Party Presidential machinery out of the hands of the party “bosses.”

The party is adrift, and all attempts to bring it under the control of mainstream, “sensible” Republicans by party chairman Reince Priebus, and others, have failed.

Right­wing Trump, like Bernie Sanders on the left, has run a populist campaign, even though he has always been an elitist. He has rallied mostly poor, under­educated white people to see him as a kind of pied piper, seeking to “Make America Great” again, whatever that means exactly.

Trumps take no prisoners. This “I’m­gonna­do­things­my­way” style has painted him into a strange political corner where he influences an ever smaller portion of the overall electorate. His ongoing inflammatory rhetoric, and his violence­inducing bellicosity has alienated huge segments of the voting public, including: women (comprising more than half of eligible voters, blacks, who were already decidedly pro Hillary, the immigrant population, those with post­high­school education, and the “youth” vote, the 18­30 year-olds.

As his probable nomination nears, Trump has shown modest signs of behaving in a more controlled, Presidential manner, but it will be difficult for the proverbial leopard to change too many of his spots. If he becomes a pussycat, much of his populist base, which he has worked so hard to inspire, may not show up at the polls.

In the past week, former House Speaker John Boehner referred to the Donald as Lucifer. Senatorette Lindsay Graham (S. Carolina) followed up those comments by stating that Trump supporters “are destroying Conservatism.”

Many pundits maintain that it has been the Republican party itself which has created and funded this mutating monster, which continues to encourage more and ever more radical racism, xenophobia, and anti­womanism. Now the rabid politics of Trumpism seems to be biting the hand that fed it, and the Republican mainstream is beside itself in terms of finding a way to prevent the “orange man” from carrying their banner into the fall election.


It has been clear from the beginning that the former FLOTUS is the presumptive heir to Democratic Party’s nomination. All indications are that Hillary will assume the throne in November. She will be elected as POTUS. Her husband will be the new F­GOTUS (First Gentleman of the United States). Depending on your point of view, this will have become a marriage made in heaven…or hell.

From my (limited) perspective, everything in this election cycle has been too bizarre, too other-worldly, to try to put words around it. But I’m still trying.

A native of Chicago, Hillary attended the best schools, Wellesley (political science) and Yale, where she earned a law degree. She met an ambitious young politician from Arkansas, moved there, married him, and soon became first lady of that State…for twelve years. The rest as they say is history.

Bill beat out GHW Bush to become President in 1992. As FLOTUS, Hillary was no wallflower. She used her political pedigree and skills to attempt to create a nearly universal health care plan for the US. The Republican congress would have none of it. In 2000, while her husband remained President, Hillary—a carpet bagger—was elected the first woman senator from New York.

In 2009, after failing in her bid to become the democratic nominee for President, Barack Obama selected her for the highest­ranking job in his administration. She became Secretary of State for the next four years. As I’ve stated before, there never was a war she didn’t like.

She’s feeling the Bern

There seemed to be nothing in the way to Mrs. Clinton becoming the democratic nominee for President. Then—exactly a year ago­­Bernie Sanders, the independent, self-proclaimed “Democratic socialist,” announced his intention to run for President. Few took his candidacy seriously.

Refusing to take any donations from corporations, the 76 year-old Senator from Vermont, created a populist revolution on the left that mirrored the one Trump was creating on the right. Many thousands of (mostly) young people volunteered to work for him.

“Populism” is a political stance that supports and promotes the interests of ordinary people, as opposed to the interests of corporations and the politicians who do their bidding. The United States has never elected a truly populist President, because the two parties traditionally select candidates who are pro­big business, big Pharma, big Agra, Wall Street. The way it is. The way it’s always been.

Sanders has mounted an incredibly strong campaign (as has Trump). It could be an amazing phenomenon for the two populist opposites to go at one another mano­a­mano. But the insider Hillary supporters have too strong a hold on the democratic political machinery.

So the American voter is left to decide between Donald Trump, whose personal fortunes were built on a lifetime of corporate deal­making, and Hillary Clinton, who has the support of Wall Street and K Street (corporate Washington lobbyists).

For a number of very objective reasons, this writer will not be able to vote for either candidate come November. Simply put: Trump is a racist demagogue. And Hillary is a corporate war-monger. I could not vote for her, even if mine were the deciding vote that gave the Presidency to The Donald.

It (voting) is first and foremost a matter of personal conscience. Trump would be horrible, but we have survived monsters as Presidents before: Andrew Jackson, Warren Harding, George W. Bush. We would survive a Trump Presidency (which is a virtual impossibility at this point). Maybe this would mean that a true populist like Elizabeth Warren would be the candidate in 2020.

This time around, I will vote for a third­party woman populist whom you may not have heard of: Dr. Jill Stein, of the Green Party. Yes, I am wasting my vote (that doesn’t matter anyway). But I have had it with, year after election year, voting for the lesser of two evils.

[Editor’s note: the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition does not endorse any political candidates. The views reflecting in this editorial are the writers own personal views.]