Why Some of the Smartest Progressives I Know Will Vote for Trump over Hillary

Originally posted at Politico by Yves Smith.

Why do progressives reject Hillary Clinton? The highly educated, high-income, finance-literate readers of my website, Naked Capitalism, don’t just overwhelmingly favor Bernie Sanders. They also say “Hell no!” to Hillary Clinton to the degree that many say they would even vote for Donald Trump over her.

And they don’t come by these views casually. Their conclusions are the result of careful study of her record and her policy proposals. They believe the country can no longer endure the status quo that Clinton represents—one of crushing inequality, and an economy that is literally killing off the less fortunate—and any change will be better. One reader writes:

“If Clinton is the nominee 9 out of 10 friends I polled will [do one of three things]:

A. Not vote for president in November.
B. Vote for Trump.
C. Write in Bernie as a protest vote.

“We are all fifty-somethings with money and college educations. Oh, and we are all registered Democrats.”

Or as another reader puts it:

“I don’t want to vote for Trump. I want to vote for Bernie. But I have reached the point where I feel like voting for Trump against Clinton would be doing my patriotic duty. … If the only way to escape a trap is to gnaw off my leg, I’d like to think I’d have the guts to do it.”

To be sure, not all of my Sanders-supporting readers would vote for Trump. But only a minority would ever vote for Clinton, and I’d guess that a lot of them would just stay home if she were the nominee. Many of my readers tend to be very progressive, and they have been driven even further in that direction by their sophisticated understanding of the inequities of Wall Street, especially in the run-up to and the aftermath of the financial crisis, when no senior executives went to jail, the biggest banks got bigger, and Hillary paid homage to Goldman Sachs. True progressives, as opposed to the Vichy Left, recognize that the Clintons only helped these inequities along. They recognize that, both in the 1990s and now, the Clintons do not and have never represented them. They believe the most powerful move they can take to foster change is to withhold their support.

Some of them also have very reasoned arguments for Trump. Hillary is a known evil. Trump is unknown. They’d rather bet on the unknown, since it will also send a big message to Team Dem that they can no longer abuse progressives. I personally know women in the demographic that is viewed as being solidly behind Hillary—older, professional women who live in major cities—who regard Trump as an acceptable cost of getting rid of the Clintons.

Who does Naked Capitalism represent? The site, which I describe as “fearless commentary on finance, economics, politics and power,” receives 1.3 million to 1.5 million page views a month and has amassed approximately 80 million readers since its launch in 2006. Its readership is disproportionately graduate school-educated, older, male and high income. Despite the overall predominance of male readers, many of the fiercest critics of Clinton in the commentariat are women, with handles like HotFlash, Katniss Everdeen, Martha r, Portia, Bev and Pat.

What they also object to is that the larger bloc of Sanders voters has been treated with abuse and contempt by the Clinton camp, despite the fact that their positions—such as strengthening Social Security and Medicare, stronger educational funding and higher minimum wages—have for decades polled by solid majorities or, at worst, ample pluralities in the electorate at large.

By contrast, the Democratic Party in the Clinton and Obama administrations has consistently embraced and implemented policies that strip workers of economic and legal rights to benefit investors and the elite professionals that serve them. Over time, the “neoliberal” economic order—which sees only good, never bad, in the relentless untrammeling of capital and the deregulation of markets—has created an unacceptable level of economic insecurity and distress for those outside the 1 percent and the elite professionals who serve them.

The result is that the U.S. economy is becoming lethal to the less fortunate, according to the New York Times, which reported this week that U.S. death rates have risen for the first time in a decade. The increase in death rates among less educated whites since 2001 is roughly the size of the AIDS epidemic. One cause, the opioid epidemic, resulted from Purdue Pharma overselling the effectiveness of reformulated OxyContin, then recommending higher dosages when it failed to work properly, which experts deemed a prescription for creating addicts, according to a number of lawsuits. This was permitted by the U.S. government, leading to thousands of unnecessary deaths. Despite President Barack Obama’s Panglossian claim that the economy is doing well, the spike in suicides to levels over those during the financial crisis belies that.

Read more at Politico.

 

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Keep reading:

‘Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the Twilight Struggle Over American Power,’ by Mark Landler
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Forbes: Would The Clinton Foundation Withstand IRS Scrutiny?
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Vox: The Real Reason Hillary Clinton Is Beating Bernie Sanders
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