Flip Floppin’ Away

In this presidential election season, on three major issues Hillary Clinton has flip-flopped in order to mimic the policy positions that have long been occupied by Bernie Sanders.

First, she flip-flopped and came out against the Keystone XL pipeline which she had previously supported.

She also has promised Black Lives Matter that she would end private prisons.  This, despite the fact that Corrections Corporation of America and Geo Group, two private prison corporations, are among Clinton’s campaign contributors.

But perhaps the biggest whopper is her stunning reversal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal which Bernie Sanders has consistently and staunchly opposed, but which, until this week, she publicly pushed 45 times between 2010 and 2013.

Flip-flopping is not a bad thing in and of itself.  We all remember how John Kerry was excoriated in the 2004 election for having made adjustments to policies, and how this redounded to the benefit of his opponent, President George W. Bush, who was given credit by the American people for “consistency” no matter how consistently his policies were wrongheaded and disastrous.  The American people like people who stick to their proverbial guns, even if those guns are deeply flawed.  This can be unfortunate.

But in this case, it is not unfortunate at all to observe that Hillary Clinton has been a flip-flopper.  If anything, it would be profoundly unfortunate not to notice.

Ask yourself this: do you actually want to stop the Keystone Pipeline, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and for-profit prisons?

If so, whom do you trust to do it?  Someone who discovered these issues in the last three weeks leading up to the first debate?  Or someone who has been there all along?

But it’s worse than that with Hillary Clinton.  Let’s say just for the sake of argument that she’s had a genuine change of heart on all these issues.

The problem is that she is still beholden to her campaign contributors.  Wall Street corporations desperately want the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  Which candidate takes money from Wall Street corporations and their SuperPACS— Clinton or Sanders?  (That’s a rhetorical question, but in case you need it answered, Clinton has taken gazillions of dollars in corporate SuperPAC money while Sanders has not taken a nickel from a SuperPAC.)

The fossil fuel industry desperately wants the Keystone Pipeline.  Well, guess what.  Hillary Clinton has taken a crap ton of money from the fossil fuel industry too.

And, as noted, Hillary Clinton has taken money from the private prison industry.

Bernie Sanders hasn’t taken money from any of these interests.  So, even for the sake of argument accepting that Hillary Clinton’s changes of heart are genuine, she is still beholden to her campaign contributors.  Even if she wants to stop TPP, Keystone and private prisons, she won’t.

She can’t.

Possibly.

She’s hoping that you won’t see the lobbyist behind the curtain.  She’s hoping that with her relative name recognition advantage and the media blackout on Bernie Sanders that has occurred, that you, the voter, will believe (a) that she actually believes what she is saying and will keep these promises and (b) she thought of them first and has held these positions all along.

What this will test will be the degree to which mainstream and traditional media is still relevant.  If mainstream/traditional media is still relevant, then Hillary Clinton’s gambit will succeed.  However, if online journalism has anything to say about it, then Bernie Sanders will win the day.  Bernie Sanders is not only not blacked out online, but he’s easily, handily winning the online campaign by any metric.  On line, it is easy to fact check and to get the real story.  This very article has given you multiple links with which you can investigate on your own the background behind Hillary Clinton’s newfound positions on Keystone, TPP and private prisons.

So if you want real progressive positions and real progressive results, you have to ask yourself these things:

Who’s been there all along?

Who really means it?

Whom do I trust?

-Robert Gross

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