Why Hillary Clinton is Losing in Polls to Donald Trump: 2
In the previous post of this series, I put forth the idea that HRC’s continued downward slide in polls against Trump is largely due to unanimous support of her candidacy by elites and their upper-middle class enablers. I also mentioned that widespread loss of public faith in elites and their flunkies is not unique to USA and infact is one of the major trends that has arisen throughout the west in the previous decade. You might remember that I first predicted the rise of Donald Trump in a post on Aug 31, 2015– when the vast majority of journalists, talking heads and other elite flunkies thought it was a joke or a ploy to get a new reality show. I also subsequently wrote more than a few posts about the factors that have made Donald Trump’s remarkable success possible.
And all of this brings us the inevitable question- Why is HRC such a remarkably unpopular politician? While more than a few of you will list a litany of reasons behind her lack of popularity, a close look at her public record and persona make her lack of popularity kinda odd. There is nothing about her public record or persona that makes her especially despicable compared to your average successful establishment politician in USA or anywhere else in the west. She is certainly not any more slimy or corrupt than other big name politicians such as Harry Reid, Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Schumer, Bush43, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio.. well you get the picture. She also compares very favorably to hucksters like Ted Cruz and pretty much any other republican governor.
By all counts, her nomination as the democratic candidate and subsequent win in the presidential election should have been ridiculously easy. But as many of you remember, it has anything but easy for her to win the democratic primary against Bernie Sanders, a 74-year old independent senator from Vermont. Infact the DNC had to rig the entire primary process for her to “win” the democratic nomination. It is also noteworthy that Bernie Sanders was able to raise almost 250 million dollars in small donations from democrats and independents in order to campaign against HRC. So why were democrats and democrat-leaning independents willing to put so much money and energy to stop the coronation of a candidate who was not that much worse than other establishment democrat politicians and, at least on paper, much better than establishment republican politicians.
The establishment narrative and explanation for the remarkable fragility of her presidential campaign is based on the idea that people hate her because she is a woman. But is that really the case? Is her gender anything more than peripherally involved in her remarkable unpopularity among the democratic base and democratic-leaning voters? I should also point out that she was not always seen as an especially corrupt and dishonest politician. As late as 2008, she was seen as a very viable if moderately flawed candidate for the presidency. She also had far lower negative ratings during the 2008 democratic campaign than she has now. So what happened in the intervening 8 years? How did a reasonably well-regarded and fairly popular politician become somebody with extremely high negative ratings?
So, what changed?
Let us start by talking about what has NOT changed since 2008. HRC, you see, has not changed since 2008.. 2000.. 1996.. 1992.. who knows. She is acting like an establishment politician was supposed to in the early-1990s to early-2000s timespan. Her executive style and worldview are also deeply rooted in the late-1980s-early-2000s era when it was cool and very profitable to be an establishment neoliberal. Infact for most of the 1990s, many in the west seriously believed that neoliberalism was the only way. Moreover, the relative peace and high growth rates enjoyed by people in the 1990s (especially in the USA) were able to paper over the many systemic flaws and defects of that ideology. The first large-scale problems with the neoliberal status quo (9/11, Invasion of Iraq etc) only started becoming obvious in the early 2000s, but a credit and real-estate bubble was able to keep the lid on things till 2008.
But that by itself was not sufficient to make HRC, and others like her, so unpopular. I believe it was the response of the establishment (specifically the government) in USA to the 2008 financial crisis that put the proverbial ‘nail in the coffin’ for popularity of neoliberal politicians. As many of you know, Obama (and the democrats) promised a lot of reform in legally deniable language during the 2008 presidential campaign. We all know how that worked out for the 90-99%. The government in USA (and other western countries) used the 2008 financial crisis to bail out their financial backers and transfer the costs of doing so on everybody else. The post-2008 era has also seen corporations using “laws” and “rules” to speed up the financialization-driven exploitation of people in areas that were traditionally regulated or moderated to prevent that outcome. Furthermore, they also sped up the rate of replacing well-paying with low-paying precarious jobs often with no benefits- all thanks to various secret “free trade” treaties.
Consequently most people in USA (and other western countries) have increasingly come to view establishment politicians as irredeemable and incompetent liars who are incapable of improving the lives of the vast majority of those who voted them into office. While the public image of politicians throughout history has always been a bit sketchy, their voters did expect them to.. for the lack of a better expression.. not piss on them. Which brings us to the most important reason behind Hillary Clinton’s abyssal favorability ratings. Most voters, you see, expect her to renege on every single promise she made about making their lives better. They expect her to work only for her extremely rich donors (domestic and foreign) and further enrich them while pauperizing everybody else. It does not help that her lawyerly parsing of words, or as I call it “anodyne” communication, is now seen as one of the main indicators of systemic and irredeemable dishonesty.
What do you think? Comments?