Donald Trump has pandered to the extreme right this election, but Republicans have always engaged in this form of politics. My first Salon article (long before Joan Walsh lobbied the publication to stop publishing me) was in 2014, regarding Paul Ryan’s “tailspin of culture” comments. From Romney’s “47% Percent” remark to Reagan’s use of the “welfare queen” stereotype, Republicans have used race as a political weapon. Trump didn’t start the GOP’s use of racism to gain votes, but he’s been more vocal than previous Republican nominees. There’s a reason he won the Republican Primary and Tea Party politics has gained greater influence within the GOP.
However, to assume that Hillary Clinton’s speech on Trump’s “alt-right” political alliance makes the case for voting Democrat ignores recent history. Clinton and Trump are two sides of the same coin, especially considering Trump donated $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation and is friends with Bill and Hillary Clinton. Voting for the lesser evil in 2016 (assuming you view Clinton to be less evil) only bolsters the ability of establishment Democrats to take money from prison lobbyists, without the condemnation of progressive media. Therefore, the only logical choice to truly undermine “alt-right” political ideology is voting for the Green Party’s Jill Stein. I explain in this YouTube segment why progressives shouldn’t worry about Trump and must vote Jill Stein to transform America’s lesser-evil political system.
Jill Stein is the antithesis of Hillary Clinton and Trump on the subject of race. Unlike Clinton, who’d take incremental steps on the drug war and mass incarceration (assuming she keeps her word if elected), as well as other issues pertaining to race, Stein and Ajamu Baraka vigorously address these topics. Jill Stein’s Green Party platform on Criminal Justice reform highlights immediate structural change:
End the failed war on drugs. Replace drug prohibition with harm reduction. Legalize marijuana/hemp. Treat substance abuse as a health problem, not a criminal offense.
Release nonviolent drug offenders from prison, removing such offenses from their records, and provide them with both pre- and post-release support.
End police brutality, mass incarceration and institutional racism within our justice system. Support the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Demilitarize police. End use of SWAT teams and no-knock raids for drugs and serving papers.
Repair our communities rather than dump resources into the prison-industrial complex.
Establish police review boards so that communities control their police, and not the other way around. Appoint dedicated investigators to investigate every death or serious injury at the hands of police.
Eliminate harsh mandatory sentencing requirements which often result in unjustified sentences.
Hillary Clinton won’t push to legalize marijuana or end the death penalty and certainly won’t establish “police review boards so that communities control their police.” As for the prison-industrial complex, Clinton took money from prison lobbyists (more money than Jeb Bush this election) and often says one thing, then alters policy positions according to polls. If crime ever goes up during a Clinton presidency, rest assured Hillary will adopt Bill’s policies.
Before continuing with Jill Stein’s transformative agenda to address the dilemma of racial injustice, let’s compare Trump’s “alt-right” rhetoric to Hillary Clinton’s actual record on racial issues. We know Trump’s comments about immigrants and his Islamophobia, but what about Hillary Clinton?
According to Boston’s Black Lives Matter President Daunasia Yancey, Hillary Clinton’s racial justice record is “abysmal.” In 2008, South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn was concerned enough with Bill Clinton’s political attacks against Obama to say “I can understand him wanting to defend his wife’s honor…But you can’t do that in a way that won’t engender the kind of feelings that seem to be bubbling up as a result of this.” Also in 2008, Hillary Clinton used a 3 a.m. ad that Harvard’s Orlando Patterson believed contained a “racist sub-message” and reminded him somewhat of “Birth of a Nation.”
Then of course there’s Ashley Williams in 2015, who protested Hillary Clinton’s use of the phrase “super-predator” and forced an apology (“I shouldn’t have used those words”) out of the former Secretary of State. During this election, you’ll never get establishment Democrats to condemn Hillary Clinton’s use of racism, or Bill Clinton’s role in mass incarceration. Joan Walsh will write a book titled What’s the Matter with White People? but stay silent about Clinton’s racist 3 a.m. ad against Obama. She’ll also label Bernie voters (watch Jordan Chariton win a debate with Walsh on this issue) to be privileged white males, without realizing Nina Turner, Tim Black, and Susan Sarandon aren’t white males.
In 2016, there’s absolutely zero condemnation of Hillary Clinton’s flawed record on race; simply the paranoid viewpoint that any criticism will lead to a Republican presidency.
After all, Trump is crazy, so Hillary Clinton’s vote for a border fence isn’t relevant. As Clinton once stated pertaining to immigration reform, “I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in. And I do think you have to control your borders.” While not as insulting as Trump, Clinton plays both sides of the issue, depending on whom she’s speak to, and whether or not she needs certain votes.
Today’s “alt-right” social media comments overshadow the fact Democrats have also engaged in similar politics. Professor Orlando Patterson highlighted the essence of Democratic politics when he stated “It is striking, too, that during the same weekend the ad was broadcast, Mrs. Clinton refused to state unambiguously that Mr. Obama is a Christian and has never been a Muslim.”
Why did Hillary Clinton refuse to state categorically that Barack Obama was Christian and not Muslim in 2008?
TPM, Slate, and The Daily Beast don’t care about Hillary Clinton’s racism, only Trump’s use of this political weapon. As long as Trump is worse, anything goes with Clinton. This dynamic exists as well with foreign policy and other key issues.
Progressive media’s amnesia and acceptance of racism, when it’s Bill Clinton flying back to Arkansas to witness the execution of a black man (in order to seem tough on crime) or Hillary Clinton calling black youth super-predators, is far more dangerous than Trump’s white supremacist voters. This element of the GOP will always exist—with or without Donald Trump—and racism has always been alive in American politics. The only way it becomes truly mainstream is if progressives voting for Clinton ignore her failures on the issue of race. Focusing on Trump’s obvious missteps, as if this makes Democrats infinitely better, is simply a cowardly way of circumventing a complicated predicament.
From Hillary Clinton’s prison lobbyist donors in 2015 to her campaign spreading a photo of Obama in African attire (David Plouffe called it “the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering we’ve seen from either party in this election”), Democrats ignore racism when winning is at stake. Like Tim Black explains in the following segment, Hillary is scarier than Trump on the biggest issues in 2016, especially when Democrats force people into lesser-evil voting.
Tim Black, Benjamin Dixon, Yvette Carnell and other powerful political voices would never vote for Trump, but they also haven’t forgotten Hillary Clinton’s use of racism. As for Jill Stein being infinitely better than Clinton or Trump on this issue and many others, watch Tim Black’s interview with the Green Party’s presidential candidate. Regarding Clinton’s similarity to Trump on the issue of race, I explain in this YouTube segment why Clinton’s “alt-right” speech conveniently ignores her record.
Finally, to seriously address racial justice issues Americans need greater options, not simply lesser evils. For this reason, voters should read the following letter from Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka regarding the upcoming debates:
Today Green Party Presidential candidate, Jill Stein, along with her Vice Presidential running mate, Ajamu Baraka, published an open letter to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton urging them to participate in open debates that include all four campaigns that have the potential to achieve 270 electoral college votes.
The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), actually a corporation controlled by the Democratic and Republican National Committees and funded by big business donors, stifles real democracy by limiting debates to candidates from their parties.
We can’t have democracy without a free exchange of ideas and an informed public. Debates are the most important way for voters to get information.
Like any other contentious issue, from war to racial justice, nothing will change if Democrats and Republicans control the agenda. It’s time for the Green Party to have its voice heard by American voters.
Simply mocking Trump with snarky headlines and chastising the extreme right won’t solve racial injustice in America. Structural change is needed and only Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka are bold enough to address structural dilemmas. While Clinton might be more polished on the issue of race than Trump, her record speaks for itself, and Stein offers a clear alternative to the status quo. If you fear the “alt-right,” then only Jill Stein can serve as a true alternative to an American political system where both major parties utilize racism to win votes.