Was it Comey or the Middle Finger?

Hillary Clinton has given us her analysis of the Democratic catastrophe to which she led us: it did not happen because of her sense of privilege regarding the use of e-mails; it had nothing to do with her cozy, secret and lucrative speeches to Goldman Sachs; the failure of the Obama administration to build a full employment economy was not relevant; in brief, her personal greed and secretiveness and the self-satisfied greed of the elite that has run the Democratic Party for almost fifty years were beside the point. The problem was the last minute announcement by FBI Director Comey of the re-opening of the investigation into her e-mails as a result of examining the computer of Anthony Weiner (as Marx said, history always repeats itself: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce). This announcement blunted her momentum, says she, and cost the election.

Certainly none of us would approve Director Comey’s timing, and he has raised the specter of Illegal FBI interference in the electoral process. However, it is altogether too much for Ms. Clinton to focus on a more or less technical glitch to explain her defeat. This is a convenient explanation for her and her friends because it implies that there were no political reasons for losing a race that, given the incredible Trump, was hers to lose. If there were no political reasons, then the Democratic Party can go back to the policies and practices that have enriched its elite and alienated them from the American working class.

The overwhelming political fact is that millions of people in this country are hurting. They have not had a real increase in wages in decades. Millions do not have jobs, and those who do are worrying about the future. They cannot afford to help educate their children and give them chances to survive in an economy that has no use for high school graduates. Hillary Clinton missed this pain, and remarkably, Donald Trump, in his skyscraper pleasure dome, did not. To be sure, Ms. Clinton, as a result of pressure from the Left, had a progressive platform to run on, a platform that addressed many of the problems of the middle and working classes. She largely ignored this platform and failed to convince the middle and working classes that she understood their hurt on a personal, human level. An understanding that FDR, the Hudson Valley aristocrat, managed was beyond her.

Massachusetts Representative Jim McGovern sees this election as a middle finger salute from the working class to a Democratic Party that has abused its loyalty for so long. I think he is right. The working class has been slipping away from the Democratic Party since the Reagan
years because working people have ceased to believe the party understands or supports their needs. The task of social democrats and other progressives is to take back the party and regain the trust of its traditional base. We made a good trial run with the Sanders campaign, and we have four years to build on that beginning. We have lost an election but the democratic revolution is not yet lost!

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