Yeah, yeah, yeah, the Rude Pundit feels your pain. He'd love, love, love for a real liberal to run for president. He says this pretty much every election, often supports whatever quixotic candidate is taking a shot this time until he (and, sadly, it's only been "he") drops out, and then votes for the moderate who he mostly agrees with on Supreme Court picks. In 2008, he supported Barack Obama because he thought the movement Obama had started would be transformative, not realizing that the president cared less about the movement than about governing from the presumptive middle (which, truth be told, Obama's pretty damn good at). Obama didn't move left. The middle moved right.
This time, though, it seems as if we're not getting the token liberal. And we're not getting anyone of color. Those who are remaining are either the white liberals who say they're not running - Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders - and the white dude who might - Martin O'Malley. If that liberal appeared, the Rude Pundit would love to jump on that bandwagon. But he or she won't be there this time. As much as we want to say that Hillary Clinton should have a primary candidate or whatever other bullshit we want to hide behind, the truth of the matter is, as everyone knows, very, very simple. Hillary Clinton is the nominee. She is more or less running as an incumbent. Last week, the Rude Pundit said this and was attacked on Twitter (which is the rhetorical equivalent of a gnat buzzing by you) for being racist because somehow he was dissing Obama. Sorry, but, Alan Keyes' paranoia aside, Obama can't run. And there is no man or woman of color who is even on the bench at this point, something that better be corrected or the Democrats will seem as out of touch as the Republicans.
So what are we left with? 18 months of bitching about what Hillary Clinton is not? 18 months of pretending like that will do a fucking thing to move her to the left on some of her positions? No, what'll it do is, one more time, take the left out of the equation. Because if there's one thing that Team Clinton knows is that most of the people who complain about her not being progressive enough on Wall Street, on foreign affairs, on immigration reform, will still vote for her because who the fuck else are they gonna vote for her? The ones who promise more Scalias and Alitos? Mike Huckabee? Jeb goddamn Bush?
Oh, you can say, "Well, I'll just stay home," and then you're a selfish fucking idiot who doesn't give a shit about the future. In her powerful Facebook post on how women of color should confront a Hillary Clinton candidacy, Jada Pinkett Smith (yeah, a celebrity) says, "The only question I have been asking myself is if I’m suppose to vote for Hillary because she is a woman; will she take us to the mountaintop with her or will women of color once again be left out and left behind?" But she concludes in the most hopeful way possible: "Women of color and white women have been taking on the majority of their fights on the political platform on separate lines; can Hillary Clinton change that legacy through her journey to become president? Because if she can...she would not only have my vote...but she would have my heart." You got that? Pinkett Smith says that she is voting for Hillary Clinton. But she wants Clinton to be something more.
That's why the title of this post is not a threat. It's not marching orders. It's an opportunity. What if the left coalesced behind Clinton and did so early? Clinton has already made one of her big issues a constitutional amendment restricting money in politics. That's some Lawrence Lessig-level shit right there, even if she's raising metric assloads of cash to run for president. What if, instead of the usual cycle of pretending we can get a moderate candidate to veer left by viciously tweeting and blogging and giving Fox "news" a chance to say, "See? The Left doesn't like Hillary," we just said, "Fuck it. We back her. Now let's talk policy"? What if we made ourselves players instead of giddy, powerless outsiders?
Obviously, it could backfire. Obviously, the votes could be taken for granted and Clinton could play us like we've been played so many times (and that's especially true for people of color). But that's what will happen if liberals decide to be the headless opposition, as we learned with Bill Clinton, as we learned, to an extent, with Barack Obama. At the very least, a different tactic during campaign season would force Clinton to deal with liberals in a different way. If there's one thing that we know about Hillary Clinton, it's that she can eviscerate or at least isolate those who seek to destroy her or her family.
And we know that she privileges loyalty. Maybe this time we could play it differently. Just shut the fuck up. Stop acting like there's gonna be any other choice. And behave as if this is the only one we have. Resignation doesn't have to be defeat.