The Republican convention sought to present the billionaire racist Donald Trump as the champion of working-class Americans, an exercise in falsification that the Democrats attempted to match by presenting Hillary Clinton, the consensus candidate of the Wall Street elite and the military-intelligence apparatus, as a combination of Mother Teresa and Mother Jones.
In the aftermath of the Democratic convention, the issue that columnists of various stripes focused on was that the Democrats had captured the themes of “patriotism” and national security that once were the focus of Republican electioneering, with the Democratic Party convention awash in flags, tributes to the military and police, and chants of “USA, USA.” In their view, this made Clinton a more credible “commander-in-chief” for US imperialism than Trump.
Conservative David Brooks, in the Times, declared that Trump has “abandoned the great patriotic themes that used to fire up the G.O.P. and he’s allowed the Democrats to seize that ground. If you visited the two conventions this year you would have come away thinking that the Democrats are the more patriotic of the two parties …”
Pro-Clinton columnist Paul Krugman, also in the Times, hailed the same trend, in a column headlined, “Who Loves America?” which directly linked the Democratic convention’s embrace of identity politics and its espousal of militarism and patriotism. He branded opponents of Clinton as “tribalists, not patriots,” people who didn’t love America, but rather only their “tribe,” as defined by race and gender.
The implication, peddled previously by Krugman in numerous columns, is that “white men” are offended by the prospect of the first African-American president being succeeded by the first female president. He smears the widespread working-class hostility to the Democratic Party, a right-wing, corporate-controlled party that bailed out Wall Street at the expense of working people, as nothing more than white racism.
Krugman referred in passing to the WikiLeaks revelations about corrupt support for Clinton by the Democratic National Committee, at the expense of Bernie Sanders, in order to raise again the unsubstantiated allegations—heavily promoted by the Times—that DNC emails were hacked by the Russian intelligence services to help the Trump campaign, in return for Trump’s support for Russian President Vladimir Putin. He wrote: “What strikes me most is the silence of so many leading Republicans in the face of behavior they would have denounced as treason coming from a Democrat.”
Times online columnist Timothy Egan chimed in with a filthy McCarthyite diatribe slandering WikiLeaks for allegedly working with Russia to “hijack a great democracy.” In “The Real Plot Against America,” Egan wrote that the “plot” started “with a stooge, a fugitive holed up in London [WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange], releasing stolen emails on the eve the Democratic National Convention, in the name of ‘transparency.’ Cyberburglars rely on a partner in crime to pick up stolen goods. And WikiLeaks has always been there for Russia, a nation with no transparency.” Never mind that Assange has been hounded by the Obama administration for exposing the crimes of American imperialism.
Egan did not bother to provide an ounce of substantiation for his allegations. He went on to dismiss the content of the leaked emails—which show the efforts of the DNC to undermine the campaign of Sanders, among other underhanded and possibly criminal dealings—as “ho-hum.” He denounced “lefty extremists” for booing Clinton and for booing the call by Bernie Sanders to “unite to save their country from a monster.”
According to Egan, opposition to Clinton from the left is the equivalent of treason in support of Russia and Putin. “If enough angered lefties won’t go for the Democratic nominee, a longtime foe of Vladimir Putin, it will be just enough to put a Putin puppet in the White House.”
Two conservative columnists for the Washington Post gave similar post-convention appraisals backing Clinton over Trump as the more effective advocate of the global interests of American imperialism.
Charles Lane, a regular panelist on Fox News, defended the US alliance structures in Europe and the Far East against Trump’s criticism that US allies were not paying their fair share of the military cost. He warned that popular support for US military commitments overseas was waning, “to the point where a major-party candidate for president finds it advantageous not to assuage public ambivalence about collective security, but to weaponize it, politically.”
While expressing concern over the “radicalism, or the destabilizing potential, of Trump’s attacks on long-standing U.S. security doctrine,” he expressed relief that: “To be sure, the 2016 Democratic nominee is an internationalist former secretary of state whose husband, as president, began NATO’s eastward expansion. Hillary Clinton undoubtedly subscribes to the 2016 Democratic platform’s unequivocal pledges to stand by NATO and ‘deepen’ alliances in Asia.”
Even more explicit is the endorsement penned by neo-conservative columnist Anne Applebaum, a longtime apologist for US war moves in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Under the headline, “Why we need a President Clinton,” she wrote: “[W]e do need to elect Hillary Clinton for president. If we don’t, as we learned in recent days, we’ll be led by a man who appears bent on destroying the alliances that preserve international peace and American power, a man who cheerfully approves of hostile foreign intervention in a U.S. election campaign. And please remember: If that’s how he feels about Russia, there’s no guarantee that he’ll feel any different about China or Iran.”
Applebaum is linked both personally and politically to the ultra-right factions in Eastern Europe who have been agitating for a warlike posture by the US and NATO against Russia: her husband, Radoslaw Sikorski, has been foreign minister and defense minister of Poland, and now is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University's Center for European Studies.
These commentaries, published within hours of the close of the Democratic convention, demonstrate the real constituency of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party. Far from representing the interests of working people, as Clinton claimed in her convention speech, the former secretary of state seeks to be the consensus choice of the military-intelligence apparatus, and has tailored her campaign explicitly to its dictates.