With the looming general election face-off between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, there has been a relentless push to dull any criticism of Clinton, for the sake of sparing the country a Trump presidency. The notion that any reproval—thorough or otherwise—of Democratic candidates leads to a Republican outcome has long been a typically unarticulated condition, one that leads to less accountability, more capitulation, and the unequivocal silencing of left detractors who are arguably necessary elements in the pursuit of much needed political reformation.
The coddling of Clinton by admirers, who often treat her as they would an incorruptible friend instead of a fallible politician, has led to even an atom’s worth of dissent being cast as a sign of Trump favoritism. Take for example what happened when Rania Khalek, associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, published an article in The Intercept calling Clinton an implementor of hawkish foreign policy. Khalek argued that Trump’s “isolationist posturing” provoked what she calls “a neoconservative flight from the presumptive Republican ticket while repositioning the Democrats, if led by Clinton, as the war party.”
Not only was her nuanced piece characterized as being supportive of Trump’s campaign—The Intercept was swiftly accused of having ‘come out for Trump’. In May, Vox author Matthew Yglesias tweeted that “[i]t’s going to be weird when National Review ends up supporting Hillary while The Intercept backs Trump”, to which former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum responded with “yep”, and a link to Rania Khalek’s aforementioned article, as though to say ‘it’s already happening’. […]
Arguing in favor of holding political representatives accountable for present and past actions is now all but classified as a puritanical leftist conviction. Clinton’s history is mired by abhorrent policies that she’s manufactured and championed on behalf of previous administrations, yet despite this, her supporters and tireless media stenographers continue to frame her campaign as being one of ‘evolution.’ Clinton hasn’t simply furthered catastrophic programmes, she’s “evolved”, much like you and I. It is a terrifying assertion that allows voters to view lawmakers not as public servants that must answer for their actions, but as friends, and as beer-buddies deserving of absolution.
Photo by Gage Skidmore