A couple of weeks ago I was listening to Democracy Now! and heard a replay of a debate between Pulitizer Prize winning journalist and author, Chris Hedges, and economist and former secretary of labor under Bill Clinton, Robert Reich, about the upcoming election.
The debate first aired a day or two after Bernie Sanders betrayed his supporters and endorsed Hillary Clinton. Right around that time, Dr. Jill Stein, the current nominee of the Green Party offered to drop out of the race for her party's nomination if Sen. Sanders would run as the Green Party candidate. He declined the offer (raising questions of why he even bothered running in the first place).
The question before the panel was what should progressives do in the upcoming election.
While Mr. Hedges urged progressives to support the Green Party instead of the pro-corporate Democratic Party, Mr. Reich raised the alarm and claimed that the only way to save America was to elect Hillary so that Trump would be defeated. He told the listeners that they had to abandon their convictions and vote for Clinton because the alternative was so much worse.
Mr. Reich stated over and over that now was not the time to launch a third party bid for the White House. He said he would work to jump start a progressive movement in time for the 2020 election. Bullshit, I say.
In 2020 Mr. Reich will make the same old tired arguments that now is not the time, that progressives need to be patient and wait... and wait... and wait.
To be fair to Mr. Reich, he's not the only one spouting this garbage. Ben Jealous, former head of the NAACP and now an investment banker, says the same thing.
Mr. Reich and Mr. Jealous are mere mascots for the Democratic Party who are trotted out to convince voters who are sick and tired of the way the party abandoned the working class for Wall Street money. They will continue to tell their flocks of listeners that now is not the time to exercise one's conscience. They will continue to tell them that they have to hold their noses and flip the lever for the Democratic candidate because the alternative is so much worse. They will continue to tell them to wait another four years.
And then they will rinse and repeat.
If you think that you can work within the existing system to reverse three decades worth of economic policy that has hammered the working class and poor, you are deluding yourself. If you think that you can work within the existing system to stop the continuing rape of our environment by oil, gas and coal companies, you are deluding yourself. If you think that you can work within the existing system to make health care a right and not a privilege, you are deluding yourself. If you think that you can work within the existing system to reverse the tide of the corporatist state in which we live, you are deluding yourself.
President Obama is every bit the shill for corporate interests, the oil companies and the warmongers that George W. Bush was. He may talk a big game, but when the chips are on the table he's not willing to shove them in the middle.