Hillary Clinton is not going anywhere. As the Louis CK of politics, she wants to make a comeback to the mainstream pretending as if nothing has changed. After hinting at yet another Presidential run, she is now giving interviews to European newspapers. Anytime an American politician has to go to Europe looking for sympathy, curtains on their careers are just about drawn.
But she needed a trip to Europe. Seeing Prime Minister May might give her bit of a boost of morale. If May with her bad hair, witch-like smile, terrible suits and utter lack of policy can make it to the doors of power, well then so can Hillary.
But even before that happens, she is already advising Europeans on how to run their continent. With an expression that was as pseudo-intellectual as the comments that followed, she purported to get the cause of populism. Undermining the stance of an actual female leader of the free world, Hillary said that Merkel and Europe need to send a clear message: “we are not going to be able to continue provide refuge and support“. Yeah, when have Europeans themselves ever needed refuge and support?
This is what Hillary believes will end populism. She believes that people vote for popular leaders because the centrists are not racist and xenophobic enough. The way to stay in power is to shut the doors on people fleeing war zones where both sides are shooting Western-funded guns.
By her advice, Donald Trump is doing the right thing by firing tear gases into migrant crowds where mothers have to drag their shrieking kids to safety. That migrant caravan from South America is also fleeing torture and brutality of US client states and drug lords propped up by the CIA. There was some truth to ‘Trump and Hillary are the same’ argument after all.
Coming back to Hillary’s comments, it’s true that Europeans are wary of the immigrant influx. But it’s not because the Europeans are racist except maybe Hungarians. It’s not the racism and fear of foreigners the European populists exploit, unlike the Americans. They tread on the growing financial insecurity of the Europeans.
The ‘economic recovery’ following the ’08 crisis overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy in the US and Europe. The EU bureaucracy is only austere when it comes to the welfare of the people. They don’t mind if you increase your military budget, subsidies to the corporations who need them the least, or the cost of government. This leads to economic uncertainty where parents don’t see a better future for their kids than their own.
Incomes rather than growing are going down. In Sweden where far-right did surprisingly well these past elections, average income from 2014 to 2017, went down from €2,690 to €2,465 a month. That’s a reduction of over 9%. In the U.K. that voted to leave the EU, average income went down from €2,597 to €2,102 a month during the same period. That is a reduction in income of over 23%. Austria where a far-right neo-Nazi Sebastian Kruz is a chancellor, average income went down from €2,114 to €2,009 a month. This is a decline of over 5%. Italy where populists have formed a very dysfunctional coalition, average incomes have gone down from €1,923 €1,762. This was a decline of 9.11%.
Populism does not have much to do with racism. Europeans want better-paying jobs and feel that migrants would dilute the workforce and provide cheap labor. That’s not racism. If they had better life prospects, they wouldn’t mind migration. It was just what happened in the United States, people had good jobs and thus didn’t mind a perforated border to the South.
Ronald Raegan gave amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, conservatives still hailed him. It was only after NAFTA was signed that Bill Clinton militarized the border. After NAFTA, corporations got the freedom to exploit the cheap Mexican labor and keep wages down in the US. Since then, opposition to illegal immigration has grown.
Ron Paul is the only politician that comes to mind who took the stance that illegal immigration wouldn’t matter if the US economy was doing good. He said that the US would be in need of Mexican workers. No other politician has had the guts to spell it out like that for fear of offending the electorate.
Hillary Clinton wants to treat the symptom but ignore the disease. The disease is the policies endorsed by neoliberals like her that transfer the wealth to the wealthy. Median household income was lower when Obama exited office than it was when he first entered it. So much for ‘economic recovery’. It is the policies that Hillary has endorsed over the years that have pinned one people against the other. It is little surprise that race relations in America are worse now than when Obama entered the office.
If Hillary was serious about it, she wouldn’t look for ways to shun populism. Populism by definition is the essence of democracy. The public is not the troublesome rabble no matter how many pseudo-intellectuals term them that way.
Hillary Clinton is exactly the kind of politician that James Maddison hoped would govern America. The kind to serve the minority of the opulent.