This is the first installment in a series devoted to our new national adventure: the election of 2016.
We’ve all seen the wonderful photo of the Clintons and Trumps with their huge happy faces at the Trumps’ wedding. You probably have also heard that Bill and Donald have been golfing buddies and that Bill loves Donald’s golf course, which is only miles from Bill and Hillary’s place in Chappaqua, N.Y.* You may have also heard about the close friendship between Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump, who is now serving as Donald’s adviser on women’s issues. Ivanka is also friends with Michael Bloomberg’s daughter, Georgina Bloomberg, who has said, “I am good friends with two of Mr. Trump’s kids and no matter what happens in the presidential race, that won’t change… Donald has always been, and still is, a great father, and I know she is very proud of him and what he has accomplished.” Multi-millionaires and billionaires and their children flock together.
Perhaps less well-known is the fact that Ivanka and her husband threw a fund raiser for Cory Booker in 2013, in which 40K was raised for Booker, a N.J. Democrat and Hillary supporter. Booker’s name is now being floated as a possible Vice President for Clinton. And lest we forget about another connection between these N.Y. metropolitan area elites, Michael Bloomberg considered running for president as an independent, but decided against it when it appeared he couldn’t win and it might give the White House to Cruz or Trump. “He’s a good friend of mine,” Clinton said. “The way I read what he said is if I didn’t get the nomination, he might consider it. Well, I’m going to relieve him of that and get the nomination so he doesn’t have to.”
A ruling class—which refers here to those who control great sums of capital and pretty much everything else—feels free to fight amongst themselves when they don’t feel especially threatened. Of course, they may be incorrect about whether there is an actual threat, for example, in this case from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. But if they feel safe enough, food fights are not a problem. Someone from the ruling class will still be in charge after the last tomato is thrown.
We are about to witness the mother of all food fights between two members of New York’s ruling elite, The Donald and Hillary. It will make for one hell of a show, a ratings bonanza for the Main Stream Media, with virtually nothing at stake that threatens the ongoing amassment of huge sums of capital by the ruling class.
Wait, you say, talking about Hillary and Donald as two peas in a pod is completely wrongheaded. There are real differences. He’s a bigot and sexist. She isn’t. True enough. On the other hand, Hillary is a hawk, who is quite willing to use the military to protect “American interests.” People are more likely to die in wars or military interventions under Clinton than Trump, at least this is what her track record would suggest.** He prefers trade wars to armed conflicts. Iraq was just stupid, as he has told us many times.
But to be honest, we don’t know what Hillary’s or Donald’s positions will be six months or year or two years from now. Hillary covers her twists and turns by talking about how she evolves. Will she evolve and once again favor TPP and other trade agreements? Good chance. How about on fracking? And on campaign finance reform, after her campaign has depended so much on PACs? Trump has started to cover himself by talking about how one must remain flexible. Times change, situations change, etc. He emphasized this point right after his recent string of wins in the Northeast. Further, the chameleon Trump can’t win without the support of a significant percent of women and people of color. Guaranteed he will be changing his tune about women and POC for the general election. Remember, he has already told us that he loves Mexicans.***
My point here is not to claim that there aren’t significant differences between Trump and Clinton. But we shouldn’t allow “evolving” positions, or “flexible” ones, to obscure what we do know: these two people have no fundamental disagreement about who should be in charge, all their partisan rhetoric notwithstanding. Neither of them will dare give capitalism the haircut-as-crewcut it needs. The best case scenario is a modest trim. All we have to do is drop below the tip of the iceberg to catch a glimpse of what binds Clinton and Trump together. It’s green, and it isn’t Kermit. And it’s what we don’t notice below the water’s surface that can do the most damage, especially over time. Seen in this light the mother of all food fights will be a mere, if highly lucrative, diversion.
*According to an August 2015 article, “Bill Clinton Loves ‘Racist’ Donald Trump Golf Course,” in the Washington Free Beacon, “The club would not share the current status of the Clintons’ club membership to the Washington Free Beacon. Hillary Clinton’s campaign did not respond to an inquiry into their club membership.”
** “For all their bluster about bombing the Islamic State into oblivion, neither Donald J. Trump nor Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has demonstrated anywhere near the appetite for military engagement abroad that Clinton has.” “How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk,” New York Times, April 21, 2016.
*** Donald was once pro-choice, then he became anti-abortion, but he made sure to qualify this position recently by stating that abortions should be permissible in cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother, which is a less stringent position than the GOP’s platform, which has no exceptions. He has said that the GOP should change its platform on abortion. He’s also said that Planned Parenthood does good work. Will he actually push an anti-abortion agenda if elected? Who knows? How about the wall? Fifty feet tall. He’s no longer sure of the height. In office, he may end up offering a fence similar to what Hillary once proposed. Flexibility covers a lot of ground.
Food Fight photo, Fernando Bustamante / ap.