It is all too easy to rail against what has been going on in the Republican Presidential campaign. In fact, the hyenas of the profit-hungry news media – who are equally and rightly disparaged from each edge by Bernie and Donald – throw gasoline on any small ember of hatred and hostility that looks as if it might not catch fire on its own. The news media creates news that sells rather than reporting on what happens.
I have been hesitant to publicly weigh in on the hegemonious xenophobia and racist rhetoric seething from the Republican candidates and splashing the rest of us with pus laden mental sepsis. Honestly, like so many others, I expected the madness to dissipate by now, leaving in its place the usual kind of moderately ugly candidate pandering to the right-of-center while trusting the more overtly racist and nationalistic citizens to trot in line.
I will admit to being shocked by Trump’s success, and equally amazed that rightwing Marco Rubio is considered more moderate and ‘establishment’ than Cruz or Trump. In the same way that the national news media aided-and-abetted Bush’s prosecution of the Iraq War, and the frightening assault on civil rights in the wake of 9/11 (unselfconsciously termed with Orwellian flair, The Patriot Act), they have gleefully contributed to the rise and prominence of Donald Trump. Hate-mongering and sound bite politics is as much a product of corporate greed from the newsroom as it is a political class.
Yet the size of the keep-our-white-privilege-and-Christianize-the-nation voting block is obviously larger than I thought.
If the rightwing is able to take hold of the Senate, House, White House, and Supreme Court there will be a lot more than terrorists and criminals hoping Apple keeps the back door closed. The hapless middle will vote with anyone they think butters their bread better, so there is no counting on Independents to staunch the infection. The worst-case scenario is far more possible than we want to imagine.
Those who vote for Bernie or Hillary must band together this summer and build a groundswell of opposition to the madness on the right.
Both Bernie and Hillary have deep vulnerabilities for the general election so it is important that neither one of them do too much to exploit and damage the other now. Whichever candidate wins the nomination, all of us need the winning candidate to be as strong and complete as he or she can be next November.
With Trump, Cruz, and Rubio in mind, and the dark heart of ruthless House Republicans broiling in brine beneath them, I urge Bernie and Clinton partisans to go gently in this night so that we might be as strong as we can be for the next, most crucial, fight. Be passionate but don’t burn bridges or effigies because come August, you simply must support with vigor whichever one is the candidate.