Hillary Clinton is not a leftist

As the media and Hillary Clinton supporters continue to sidestep some very glaring issues with her role in this election and the sorts of policies she favors, I think it would be useful to try to outline them here – especially since they paint a radically different picture of her policy and class leanings.

Firstly, Clinton has firmly established herself as a neocon of the highest order over her career as Secretary of State. She supports a barrier in the West Bank, advocated recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and blamed Hamas for the destruction caused by Israel’s disproportionate assault on Gaza last year.

She supports the Iran sanctions, and has asserted that “no option can be taken off the table,” including war – a threat which, as Noam Chomsky noted, violates international law. She voted for the Iraq War Resolution and has refused to retract her support or to apologize. She condemned Snowden, supported the embargo of Cuba and the Patriot Act.

Is it necessary to go on?

Clinton’s hawkish foreign policy alignment is already rather well known. Less frequently discussed, however, are her direct ties to Wall Street and the effects of those ties on her policies.

In Ben Whites’ article in POLITICO, he interviewed multiple GOP donors and financial executives, “turn[ing] up a consistent … consolidation candidate” in Clinton.

One executive said that “most people in the industry… have a track record with her.” Another, comparing her to more populist Republican candidates like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, called her “relatively tolerable.” Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein spoke of his enthusiastic support for her in the 2012 election.

Major newspapers, following from the book Clinton Cash, examined Clinton’s elite connections through the Clinton Foundation. More than 181 major corporations have donated, from all major industries, with five dozen paying out a total of $26 million. The top donors included ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs and the Walton family.

All of this occurred during her tenure as Secretary of State and some of her actions definitely suggest a response to donors. As ExxonMobil poured hundreds of thousands into the organization, for instance, Clinton was pushing to export hydrofracking abroad. Peter Schweizer, the author, admits that he found a “pattern of behavior” rather than outright bribery, but it is precisely this sort of loose-gift economy that places policy decisions firmly in the hands of rich elites.

Clinton’s support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) further indicates a distinctly right-wing economic leaning. Despite her insistence that she is skeptical of the agreement, CNN catalogued no less than 45 separate statements of support for it during her career, including her famous assertion that it is “the gold standard in trade agreements.”

The benefits of the TPP, of course, are expected to accrue exclusively to the rich, with increased drug prices and copyright restrictions in exchange for what the USDA estimates will be a fraction of a percentage point of growth over the next decade.

Summarizing Clinton’s apparent upperclass and corporate loyalties, H.A. Goodman wrote in The Huffington Post, “If the GOP has… ‘Republicans in Name Only,’ then Democrats should come up with a similar label for Hillary Clinton.”

The picture of American politics that emerges is one in which it isn’t the distinction between Democrats and Republicans that matters, but that between populists and establishment supporters.

“Establishment” refers to the complex of lobbyists, donors, executives and lawmakers that has essentially total control of all policy decisions, a category in which Clinton decidedly falls.

According to POLITICO, a conservative Wall Street lawyer confirms as much: “If it turns out to be Jeb versus Hillary we would love that and either outcome would be fine.”

It is clear, then, where Clinton’s class allegiance lies. And it is also clear that a Clinton presidency, while “fine” for the corporate-political establishment, would not be fine for the American people, who would suffer from her elitist policies.

Faced with this blatant betrayal of liberal ideas, Democratic supporters and all of us as citizens, need to start redirecting support to other candidates and organizations that stand for a system defined by genuine democracy.

Russell Guilbaut is a contributing writer and can be reached at ruguilbau@buffalo.edu.