The attacks on Jill Stein’s blossoming supporter base from establishment Democrats have continued as frantically and aggressively as ever, despite Hillary Clinton enjoying a comfortable and enduring lead in the polls over Donald Trump. Numbers have stabilized, and it looks like Hillary will win without the support of the Bernie-or-Bust crowd.
So why continue the vitriol? It hasn’t lessened. In fact, it’s ramped up, and our social media news feeds are teeming with false accusations of Stein being anti-vaccination, anti-science, anti-Bernie Sanders, and now, surprise surprise, an anti-American Putin sympathizer.
Yes, the old red under the bed tactic. Clinton ally John Aravosis has continued the Democrats’ bizarre resurrection of the time-honored McCarthyist tradition of red-baiting their critics and political opponents, joining the Democrats’ diversionary tactic of pointing indignantly at Russia and its ties to Trump for the DNC hacks in the hopes that it will make everyone forget about the content of the leak itself. Over the weekend, Aravosis wrote an attack editorial, casting suspicion on Stein for attending a convention for alternative media outlet RT last winter, which Aravosis laughably tries to spin as evidence that the anti-war Green party candidate is a traitor in league with “the Kremlin’s propaganda agency.”
So that’s a thing now. And as WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange just pointed out in his speech at the Green party convention in Houston, it’s only going to get worse.
“I’ve just seen that the attacks have started to ramp up on Jill Stein,” said Assange via video stream from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. “They are going to go through the roof. I’ve had attacks from what is effectively the Clinton threat machine. They’re now post-convention. You guys are going to be post-convention. Those attacks are going to be ferocious.”
But I don’t want to address the members of “the Clinton threat machine” here. This article isn’t for them, nor is it for the sharks in the neoliberal think tank, the Correct the Record shills, or the ruling elites of the Democratic party. This article is for the ordinary, real human beings who help circulate these pernicious ideas and articles without getting paid so much as a dime for it. Our friends at work, our aunts and uncles, our acquaintances on social media. We Stein supporters would like a word with you, please.
Serious question, my Clinton-supporting, Stein-bashing friends: What are you hoping to gain from this behavior, at this point? I mean, I know what the millionaire rulers of the Democratic party are gaining from it. I know what the billionaires, war profiteers, bankers and Wall Street moguls are gaining from it. But I’m not clear what you ordinary 99-percenters are gaining from casting suspicion, hatred, and vitriol upon Jill Stein and her followers at this point in time.
Your candidate is currently polling eight to ten points above the orange fellow, which is well above the lead Barack Obama enjoyed at this point before he trounced John McCain in 2008. I know things can change and polls can move, but right now things haven’t changed and polls haven’t moved. The Democratic candidate is at this time under no danger of losing a threatening amount of progressive votes to the Green party nominee, but the attacks against Jill Stein are on the rise, and are expected to get worse. And you’re collaborating with that. Why?
Can I offer a theory? My theory is that despite all the fearmongering about Donald Trump, the ruling elites within the Democratic party are not afraid of Donald Trump. They’re afraid of progressives.
The DNC worked very hard to stop Bernie Sanders from winning the primary. They took a lot of risks extending themselves so far that the media blackouts and bias was obvious even before the DNC leaks revealed beyond a doubt that they were actively trying to sabotage his campaign the entire time. Why did they do that? Could it be because they stand a lot to lose if the Democratic party starts moving to the left? That a lot of comfortable power positions will be lost if progressive Democrats start voting Green when their wishes are actively rejected and insulted by the Democratic party’s unapologetic movement into neoliberalism?
The Democrats aren’t afraid of Trump. The Clintons certainly aren’t. He’s their golfing buddy. Bill Clinton had a private chat about politics with The Donald right before Trump announced his presidential campaign. The Dems have plenty of experience dealing with rich, narcissistic Republicans; it’s no big deal to them. But if their party were taken over (or worse, replaced!) by a progressive movement whose appeal with young voters already bodes very badly for their plans for America, where would that leave them? Out in the dust of political history with the Whigs and the Federalists. It will eventually kill their party.
The Democrats know that a new progressive party means the death of their party.
Now, let me get a little intimate with you here, dear reader. Do you really want to help to stomp out the spirit of the youthful progressive movement? Is that how you want to spend your life? Because that’s what you’re doing. You’re helping the Democrats snuff out the new energy, so they can keep their old corrupted thing alive.
Is that really something you ordinary, working-class Democrats want to take part in? Suffocating someone else’s desire to reach for something better? Because that’s really all you’re doing here, at this point. If someone’s already committed to Jill Stein, that means they stand for something, and you’re not going to bully or cajole someone out of their position if they stand for something. You’re not going to get someone who stands for progressive values to vote for a pro-fracking, Wall Street-courting millionaire candidate who’s pushed for increased military aggression at every opportunity throughout her entire political career.
But if it’s truly, honestly important to you to win as many people over to the Hillary bandwagon as possible, there are much richer veins to mine. U.S. turnout in the 2012 presidential election was a dismal 53.6 percent of eligible voters, well behind the turnout rate of most developed nations. That’s millions upon millions of people you could win over.
So try that! Instead of bashing your heads against the immovable wall of the #NeverHillary crowd, do like the Bernie supporters did and enthuse big and loud and openly about how awesome your candidate is! Get people excited, get people moving!
Unless your candidate’s campaign doesn’t really lend itself to that sort of thing?
If not, that’s maybe something else to think about.
[Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]