Why We Need More Criticism From The Left

By Dylan Shearer

Criticism is often times seen as being inherently negative, a thing to be avoided at all costs. And it often is. A fair amount of criticism is completely useless drivel spewed out simply to make it seem like the spewer has a valuable insight on something. But not all criticism is bad. Especially when it’s coming from people on your side.

There has been a distinct trend in recent coverage of the election that paints any criticism of Hillary and her surrogates as a direct vote for Trump. This is, to borrow a hideous phrase, “not a good look”. The rejection of any sort of criticism as somehow strengthening Trump’s stance is at best intellectual specious or, at worst, purposefully negligent. Trump simply does not have the broad base of support necessary to win the election and no amount of criticism of Clinton is going to change that. It could come out tomorrow that Clinton killed like three kids and she’d probably still be leading the polls. And yet, Clinton and her surrogates continue to attack any leftist who dares critique Clinton or her policies.

Let’s take the Clinton’s campaign recent embrace of Center-right Republicans who have defected to the Democrat camp in light of Trump’s ascendancy to the GOP throne. It’s incredibly odd that Clinton, an ostensibly center-left Democrat is actively working to bring these people into the fold. She recently faced a huge primary battle against the leftist Bernie Sanders who ran on a Democratic socialist platform whose campaign captured the attention of the most troublesome demographic for Hillary, millennial voters. And yet, instead of trying to bring these voters, the future of the party, into the fold, she’s courting and supporting old Republican standouts like Henry Kissinger. But when every people on the left write or voice dissatisfaction with Clinton’s refusal to meaningfully incorporate any of Sander’s policies (her free college for “entrepreneurs” does absolutely not count), they immediately get shut down. This reaction to any sort of criticism is bad for the Democratic Party and an omen of what future political contests may look like.

Criticism is necessary for change. If properly handled, it can force you to re-examine your own processes and ideas. And if it comes from people on your own side it should be a clarion call that something needs to be changed. But Clinton campaign and her supporters are not doing that. And unfortunately, in this campaign, it’s incredibly easy to see why that is. With Trump as her opponent, Clinton is looking at the clearest path to the White House since Bob Dole’s campaign got decimated in 1996. Clinton literally has to not be an actual fascist and she’ll walk into the Presidency. It would seem like a great time to run an actually leftist campaign, something the Democrats haven’t seen since McGovern, but the Clintonites absolutely refuse to make any sort of gesture toward running on an economically liberal platform. With Sander’s campaign showing that there is a broad base of support for more Democratic Socialist positions and the GOP finally being torn apart by the very dogs it's been whistling at since the Hoover Administration, it looked like for a second Clinton might even embrace some meaningfully economic reforms. But it has yet to happen. Sure, she embraces the “culturally left” policies, but same-sex marriage/non-gendered bathrooms should not be a Democrat’s sole difference from the right. Whether Clinton’s refusal to embrace the politics of the left is political ineptitude or soulless electioneering, is the subject of another article.

But it’s not this election that is the scariest. The success of the Clinton campaign in framing this election as “life or death” (which to be fair has a ring of truth) will certainly be studied and reattempted by campaign managers from now until the we all die from global warming. The Clinton Campaign has managed to project not just an air of invincibility but at aura of necessity. This mindset, that voting for Clinton is the only way to ensure that the U.S. doesn’t immediately collapse, which has been enhanced and exploited by the Clinton campaign, is a dangerous one. For one, it gives the “all criticism is bad criticism” argument credence. It also creates a Hillary as Savior persona. History has shown time and again that individuals cannot be trusted with immense power. By positioning Hillary as a savior, the campaign is putting her in a place where when she comes to power she is going to have a lot more leeway to do what she will with it. Every presidency needs checks and balances, and this savior rhetoric is helping to erode the barriers against despotism.

So while Clinton may be by far the better choice for President, there has to be room for criticism from the left. Criticism that is recognized, listened too, and acted upon. Here are just a couple of people/groups doing some of criticism:

Amber A’Lee Frost

Roqayah Chamseddine

Chapo Trap House

Matt Taibbi

Jeb Lund

Dan O’Sullivan