Few will be surprised to learn that I am voting for Hillary Clinton. In fact, I have a large number of friends, family, and suppporters, many, but not all of whom, are also voting for Hillary Clinton. They are not the primary audience for this endorsement. My other friends, some of whom are Republicans, the other of whom are hard line leftists, may be voting for Trump, or Johnson, or Jill Stein. [Yes, I have all kinds of friends, because I don't assume that I know everything, so I don't waggle my finger and hector people about politics. You should try it.] Some of you, particularly the hard line leftists, may be surprised that I am voting for Hillary Clinton. Sit tight, and I will tell you why.
The place to begin is with the basic economic data . . . data I have repeated over and over again, ad nauseum. If you would start repeating this data, and we could get a few million people to join us, we might one day defeat neo-liberal ideology which is both wrong but widely believed especially in the media.
How do I know it’s wrong? Look at the numbers. Since the end of World War II, you have been living in a vast economic experiment testing whether a progressively taxed, strong public sector produces prosperity or stagnation. The data shows overwhelmingly that a strong public sector produces prosperity. There are several tests, but my favorite is to simply look at what unemployment does depending on who is in the White House. Look at the closing unemployment numbers . . . the unemployment rate in January of the year the White House changes parties.
Truman 1953 2.5%
Eisenhower 1961 6.5%
Kennedy/Johnson 1969 3.5%
Nixon/Ford 1977 7.5%
Carter 1981 7.5%
Reagan/Bush 1993 7.3%
Clinton 2001 4.2%
GW Bush 2009 7.6%
Obama present 4.9%
The pattern is stark. Democrats create jobs and prosperity, historically as far back as we have statistics. Here are some more numbers. for you.
Total Jobs Created Since World War II:
Democrats 75 million
Republicans 35 million
Pick your measure. GDP growth rates, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, even the size of the federal deficit. Democratic administrations outperform Republican administrations. Whatever your reasons for voting Republican, please do not tell me your reasons are economics. Democrats are better at economics and that’s a fact.
Which brings us around to the last Clinton to occupy the White House. The results were pretty spectacular. I know all about NAFTA. According to the progressive Economic Policy Institute, NAFTA cost 650,000 jobs between 1993 and 2010. Bill Clinton’s economy offset those losses by creating 22 million jobs. Maybe NAFTA was a mistake on his part. But I remember 1998 and 1999 when fast food joints were serving burgers on placemats that were job applications. Those fast food joints were begging for workers, paying above minimum wage because there was a labor shortage, and wages were rising for everyone.
Why do Democratic economies work better? I cannot say that I know for sure. Perhaps it is simply a coincidence like the fact that the stock market rises when original NFL teams win the Super Bowl. Maybe conservatives really do know more about economics. They’ve just been unlucky. [Try attributing your own poor economic perforance to "bad luck" in front of these same conservatives. ] I frankly do not believe that a clear pattern that has lasted for seven decades is mere happenstance. I think progressive economics simple work better.
But wait, maybe there is a more recent test.
Neoliberal theory says that government spending is a drag on the economy. Stop taxing the wealthy, and let them invest in the private economy. It turns out that this theory was tested in the wake of the economic crisis of 2008. European countries like Greece and Spain, among others, practiced neo-liberal austerity. They slashed public spending, to stop that economic anchor, or so they called it, from dragging down the economy. Once again, the results were stark. Countries practicing austerity saw their economies collapse. Countries that used Keynesian stimulus policies, like ours, saw dramatically better results.
Compare that to the United States since the Great Depression. The conservatives are absolutely right about one thing. We have been on a spending spree since the thirties, building roads, bridges, dams, schools, interstate highways, computer networks, and rockets to the moon. And we have had the largest, strongest, most prosperous economy in human history. The only time the economy slows down is when Republicans try to restrain spending, always on the backs of working people.
You are living this history right this minute, especially if you are one of my many new friends in the construction industry. Yes, that’s what I’m doing these days. I had to go to work doing something, so I took my advanced professional degree out to the day labor hall, and spent a year with a shovel, and then a hammer and impact driver. In a just over a year, I was able to work my way into a management position, complete with health insurance, just in time to get my rising blood sugar under control.
For the first time in many, many years I have money in the bank, a decent credit rating, a late model truck in good repair, oh, and a doctor. I have an opportunity to learn the detailed nuts and bolts of residential home construction so that I can think about another dream I’ve had, again, for many years. I can think about developing green, solar subdivisions.
I just need for this boom to continue.
Look around, folks. Jill Stein voters, Trump voters, Johnson voters, look around. To my Ayn Rand reading, Mises institute following cousins I say to you look around. In my town, we have a massive commercial expansion underway on the southwest side of Gainesville. I worked on it. I installed cedar soffit at the new Bass Pro Shops. I did demolition work on the remodeled Double Tree Inn. I layed sod at the Florida Gators’ new practice facility. I installed crash doors at the new Middle/High School in Williston. Today, I supervise construction of middle income housing. Working families are buying those houses as fast as we can build them.
I need that boom to continue.
So do you. Donald Trump tells you about this dystopic nation, where people are suffering under economic stagnation. I say to you, stop listening to Donald Trump. Stop listening to rightwing propaganda, open your eyes and look around. Look at that road construction. Look at those construction cranes rising over your town. Our economy is on the mend, and the only reason it took so long, is because the stimulus, as Paul Krugman warned us eight years ago, wasn’t strong enough. Don’t let Donald Trump use the old supply side voodoo the way George W. Bush did in 2003. It didn’t end well then, and it won’t now.
Keynsian economics works and austerity does not. That is not politics. That is science.
In case you are not yet convinced, let me address my conservative friends. I am a southern white boy. I grew up shooting guns, and playing football, and riding my International Scout around the woods. The only rattlesnake I fear is the one I can’t see. The only gun I fear is the one in the hands of an idiot. I’m not a feminist. I don’t have a boyfriend I want to marry. I won’t be needing an abortion anytime soon. I’m a working man just like you, and I need the rising economic tide to keep lifting my boat. And so do you.
Hillary Clinton is the candidate most likely to keep that economic tide rising.
Maybe you don’t like Hillary Clinton. That is no concern of mine. I don’t care if you hate her everloving guts. I don’t care if you believe she is “the most crooked politician in American history,” as Donald Trump claims. He is manifestly, spectacularly wrong, but whatever. Say he’s right. Her husband created an economic boom. Barack Obama is creating an economic boom. Republicans you might like better drove the economy into a ditch. Many of you will remember your friends who had subcontracting businesses going broke in 2008 and 2009. I have met and talked to many of them. Are you willing to send your friends, just getting back on their feet, back into bankruptcy just because you have a problem with powerful women? Do me a favor and don’t wreck the recovery. Just get over it.
To my friends on the hard left, maybe you believe, and there is indeed evidence to suggest that Hillary Clinton is really more of an Eisenhower Republican. There is evidence to suggest that she is still a DLC, “third way” corporate Democrat who will offer palliative measures for the working class, instead of the kind of real empowerment Bernie Sanders might offer.
I do not dispute your suspicions.
Here is the political reality. If you are a hard core leftist, you don’t have dick in terms of organization on the ground. All of the things you wanted Obama to do for you, you had zero organization to help him do it. When tea partiers were gathering in Washington in 2009, where were you? Why weren’t you on the streets pushing for healthcare reform worthy of the name? And since then, with your occupation of the Wisconsin state house, and your Occupy movement, and your “moral Mondays,” how many elections have you won? How many voters have you won over with these “direct actions?” Do you want to change things? You have to win elections, which means you have to build organizations to win elections. If Hillary Clinton wins this election, it will be using her own and also President Obama’s GOTV organization. It will not be thanks to any organization created by the “Occupy” folks. The hard left in this country makes a lot of noise. They don’t make much difference, and that’s an ugly fact you need to face.
So don’t tell how you’re voting for JIll Stein, or whoever, because you want to bring it all down and start over. If Donald Trump succedes in destroying the American economy, and trying to “renegotiate” the national debt is one sure way to do that, the winner will be all these neo-nazi cretans who will serve as Trump’s paramilitary enforcers. You will be the first ones they shoot.
On the other hand, if you’re serious about Bernie’s “revolution,” here is a smarter, more strategic alternative. First, make sure Trump loses. If Trump loses, the Republican Party will die. The country club, inverstor class Republican establishment will never reconcile with the white working class Trump voters. Moderates will join Hillary, the Eisenhower Republican. Moderate DC Republicans in the Senate, for example, don’t hate Hillary Clinton. They just act like they do for their base. They’re going to jettison that base, because they can’t win elections with it. Trump voters will scatter to the winds, many of them ready to hear a working class socialist message. That will be your opportunity. Wait for it.
In the meantime, do not send this country into the dark night of Trumpian fascism. Vote for Hillary Clinton.
For those of you visiting for the first time, please enjoy some of my older essays. Some are as much as 13 years old. You may find some of them downright prophetic. I might even start sharing them.