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The Sanders’ movement challenged the establishment and met with some success. Bernie changed the discourse. Because of him, socialism is no longer a dirty word, but he could only go so far. He could speak of a government of the 1%, by the 1% and for the 1%, but the Democratic Party establishment worked to guarantee Sanders could not capture the nomination. Hillary Clinton and her allies in the party machinery—on Wall St., in other corporations, in the military, in the state bureaucracy—were not to going to relinquish control or permit any deep questioning of whether the US is truly a democracy.

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Vote for Hillary? You May Live to Regret It—Yale Magrass & Charles Derber

That would seem to argue for voting against Hillary. But we explain here why the opposite is true, though it goes against the instincts of many on the Left who believe that a victory for Trump would hasten severe decline or collapse of the system and create the best opportunity for transformation.

History makes our case. However bad and fraudulent the Democratic Establishment—and despite its militaristic and corporatist bias—voting for it against Republicans and right wing populists is better for survival of the planet and the empowerment of Left movements.

The Democratic establishment has a long history of distorting elections. In 1960, Kennedy’s victory over Nixon was assured when Chicago Mayor Richard Daley Sr. rallied the dead to his support (voters from Chicago cemeteries). As deplorable as Kennedy’s election fraud may have been, we should be grateful for what he and Daley did because if Nixon had sat in White House during the Cuban missile crisis, the world might not have survived.

In 1968, the Democratic Party establishment was not going to let an opponent of the Vietnam War win the nomination. Instead, they anointed Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who did not enter a single primary. Four years later, when anti-war candidate George McGovern did capture the nomination, the establishment denied him all support and thus guaranteed the landslide reelection of Richard Nixon.

In the last fifty years of American history, there are several cases where the Left’s resistance to the Democratic nominee led to something much worse. In 1968, there were very good reasons to protest Hubert Humphrey’s complicity in the Vietnam War, but there is evidence that, once in the White House, he would have ended it in months, while Nixon dragged it on for years. With legitimate reasons to be angry at Carter, some left organizations demonstrated against the 1980 Democratic convention. By doing so, they increased the odds of Reagan’s election. Carter probably would not have drastically undermined the social service safety net, attacked labor unions, or offered destructive tax breaks for the corporate rich.

A slogan from the 1984 election is relevant here: Vote Mondale. At Least You May Live To Regret It.

Fast forward to the present.

Today, the two party establishments remain militaristic capitalist bullies and—despite Hillary’s shift toward progressive economic and social policies—will not allow an opposition movement to prevail. Trump may be an outlier but he is certainly a billionaire militaristic capitalist bully. He is dangerous to the establishment because he is so blunt that he inadvertently exposes beliefs they privately hold but do not dare publicly express. Mitt Romney—who has denounced Trump—called 47% of the population parasites, who expect the state to take care of them, but he thought he was speaking in front of rich donors at a private fundraiser where the public would never hear. John McCain’s theme song was “bomb da bomb bomb.”

The Democratic Party is also oligarchic and militarist. Sanders has pushed Clinton to the Left on the platform, and her economic policies are now more progressive than in the past. But Clinton remains within the Establishment camp—especially on foreign policy—that shaped her. Much of the Republican establishment now considers the Democratic nominee a lesser evil than Trump. Trump’s rival Republican New York billionaire-turned politician- Michael Bloomberg has allied with Hillary Clinton. She routinely vacationed with Nixon’s co-architect for his war crimes in Vietnam, Henry Kissinger. She has won praise from Richard Cheney, as well as endorsements from co-founder of the neo-conservative think tank Project for the New American Century Robert Kagan, and National Security advisor for Republican presidents Gerald Ford and George Bush Sr., Brent Scowcroft.

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On the night she accepted the Democratic nomination, Clinton had retired General John Alle—a commander in the American invasion of Afghanistan—address the convention. As he declared under Clinton, “Our armed forces will be stronger…Enemies will fear us,” he was greeted by Clinton supporters shouting “USA” and waving flags, while Sanders supporters chanted “No More War.”

If Trump pursues the domestic policies he proposes, America may lose any semblance of democracy. Whatever we may think of Hillary Clinton, the alternative is far too dangerous.

Since the Convention, Clinton received the written support of 50 leading neo-conservative Republicans who were active in the Reagan and George W. Bush National Security apparatus. Worse, she has clearly chosen an electoral strategy that relies on recruiting militaristic Establishment figures of both parties to vouch for her interventionist agenda. In other words, she is campaigning on a foreign policy platform that almost certainly will be more aggressive and dangerous than Obama’s, who himself has bombed Syria, begun a new bombing campaign in Libya and is using drones across several continents in his never-ending war.

But Trump is even more militarist and authoritarian and dangerous.

Trump promised, “I want to build up the military so nobody messes with us.” While he does question the wisdom of unrestrained interventionism, and is ironically less globally hegemonic than both Hillary and President Obama, he preaches xenophobia, will impose a religious test for entry into the United States, wants to expel 11,000,000 immigrants, endorses torture, plans to use libel laws to attack freedom of the press and intends to increase surveillance of phone calls and other private communication.

Candidate Donald Trump claims to oppose “nation building,” but so did candidate George Bush Jr., who as President invaded Iraq and Afghanistan and overthrew governments which he deemed challenges to American interests, especially the interest of oil companies. Despite his claimed opposition to nation building, Trump’s rhetoric reeks with saber rattling and he could easily provoke a war. He shows no sign of being someone whose finger can be trusted on the button. If he pursues the domestic policies he proposes, America may lose any semblance of democracy. Whatever we may think of Hillary Clinton, the alternative is far too dangerous.

If we vote for the lesser evil, we must recognize that the greatest evil of all is the militaristic capitalist system itself. Bernie Sanders may have realized this, but even he would have been forced to govern within its boundaries. Meanwhile, a Trump regime could produce a catastrophe from which recovery would be almost impossible. A Hillary Clinton regime will offer no fundamental change from the status-quo but it will not make working for a better future impossible.

The argument to vote for Hillary is not just that we “may live to regret it.” The Sandernistas and other Left movements may well be destroyed if Trump wins (though it is possible that a broad civil liberties movement could emerge to battle his authoritarianism). If Hillary is President, our progressive movements have a far better chance than under Trump to survive and get stronger.

Liberal Presidents move the political conversation to the Left, making it easier for sympathetic social movements to gain credibility. FDR, who wanted to save capitalism, helped a fiery new industrial labor movement grow. JFK was a Cold War liberal, but he helped make the New Left of the 1960s possible. The same is likely to be true of Hillary.

Bernie will be a major force in the governing Democratic Party if Hillary wins. He will simultaneously be an oppositional and transformative figure from within (as a Senator) who will be providing cover and voice for his followers and the broader activist communities that share his beliefs. Hillary is less likely to co-opt Sanders’ followers than to catalyze them to fight for the deep systemic changes that she will resist.

Radical social movements in America have historically arisen when liberal rather than conservative presidents take power. So the argument that the Left should vote for Hillary is not just to prevent dictatorship or nuclear annihilation. It is that Hillary is a better seedbed than Trump from which an oppositional fully democratic progressive and Left movement to her and militarized capitalism can survive and bloom.

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Yale Magrass & Charles Derber