Pindo media steps up campaign for Clinton
Patrick Martin, WSWS, Oct 1 2016
This week has seen a series of editorials by usually pro-Republican newspapers denouncing Donald Trump in scathing terms. The commentaries have been accompanied by a series of press exposés of the real estate billionaire’s shady business practices. The stepped-up intervention by major media outlets reflects the broad consensus within the Pindosi corporate and political establishment, including prominent Republicans, behind Hillary Clinton. This support is based mainly on Clinton’s bellicose stance toward Russia and her close ties to Wall Street and the military/intelligence complex. The flurry of anti-Trump and pro-Clinton editorials is at the same time a reflection of concern within the ruling class over the lack of popular enthusiasm for Clinton, particularly among younger voters, who largely see her as a corrupt representative of the status quo. The near-unanimity of the major media in support of her stands in stark contrast to the broadly felt distrust and dissatisfaction with the candidates of both major big business parties. This disjuncture is one expression of the chasm that exists between the entire political system and the general population. USA Today, the largest-selling Pindo newspaper, with a combined print and digital circulation over 4.1 million, denounced Trump on Friday as a “dangerous demagogue” and urged its readers not to vote for him. The flagship publication of Gannett Corporation, the largest Pindo media holding company, said it had never taken a position on a Pindo election in its 34-year history, but was breaking with that tradition because the Manhattan real estate billionaire was “unfit for the presidency.” The newspaper attacked Trump for appealing to racism, taking advantage of small businesses in the operation of his real estate and casino empire, refusing to release his tax returns, and systematically lying. But its main criticism was on foreign policy, where it echoed the attacks on Trump from the right by Clinton. USA Today declared:
Trump has betrayed fundamental commitments made by all presidents since the end of WW2. These commitments include unwavering support for NATO allies, steadfast opposition to Russian aggression, and the absolute certainty that the United States will make good on its debts … He is ill-equipped to be commander in chief. (USA Today) does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement… (Clinton is) the most plausible alternative to keep Trump out of the White House.
The authors allowed that others might vote for a third-party or write-in candidate or abstain, but it categorically urged its readers not to vote for Trump. This approach was echoed by the Chicago Tribune, long a standard-bearer for the Republican Party, which nevertheless endorsed Barack Obama for president in his two campaigns. The newspaper endorsed Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson in an editorial published Friday. Like USA Today, the Tribune called Trump “a man not fit to be POTUS.” Hillary Clinton “by contrast, is undeniably capable of leading Pindostan,” the newspaper wrote, but it refused to support her because of her supposedly left-wing views on expanding federal spending. Instead it backed the Libertarian ticket, which it described as “two moderate Republicans – veteran governors who successfully led Democratic states.” The Arizona Republic, which has never endorsed a Democrat presidential candidate in its 126-year history, endorsed Clinton earlier this week declaring:
The 2016 Republican candidate is not conservative and he is not qualified… Despite her tack left to woo Bernie Sanders supporters, Clinton retains her centrist roots.
In other words, Clinton is a thoroughly right-wing Democrat, completely subservient to corporate Pindostan. Other traditionally pro-Republican newspapers that have backed Clinton over Trump include the Dallas Morning News and the Cincinnati Enquirer. Clinton has dozens of endorsements from major daily newspapers. Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, has six, including the Detroit News, the New Hampshire Union Leader, the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Winston-Salem Journal. Trump so far has none. An editorial board member of the WSJ, which spearheaded the impeachment drive against Bill Clinton and has long vilified Hillary Clinton as a corrupt semi-socialist, denounced Trump in a column published Friday under the headline, “Hillary-Hatred Derangement Syndrome.” Dorothy Rabinowitz blasted Trump’s “casual disregard for truth, his self-obsession, his ignorance, his ingrained vindictiveness.” She noted the fascistic character of the Trump campaign, writing:
No one witnessing Mr Trump’s primary race – his accumulation of Alt-Right cheerleaders, white supremacists and swastika devotees – could fail to notice the menacing tone and the bitterness that came with it. (The choice) will be either Mr Trump or Mrs Clinton – experienced, forward-looking, indomitably determined and eminently sane.
Adding fuel to the anti-Trump campaign are press exposures of the operations of his business empire and his eponymous foundation. The WaPo continued Friday with the latest in a series of investigative reports on the Trump Foundation, which had already revealed an illegal campaign contribution of $25k to the Florida state attorney general just before she quashed an investigation into the bogus “educational” efforts of Trump’s real estate institute, and a dubious payment of $258k to settle legal bills owed by various Trump-owned businesses. Reporter David Farenthold discovered that the Trump Foundation had never been registered with the state of New York to obtain the certification required under state law before a charity can solicit donations from the public. The Trump Foundation raised more than the $25k threshold for seeking certification in each of the last 10 years. By failing to seek certification, the Trump Foundation avoided audit of its transactions.
Newsweek magazine chimed in with a cover story devoted to blasting Trump as a stooge of the Castro regime in Cuba, claiming he authorized spending $68k in Cuba to explore potential hotel and casino operations, at a time, in 1998, when such spending was illegal without approval by the government. The clear purpose of the article, which was of a right-wing, anti-Communist character, was to depress Trump’s support among older Pindo-Cuban voters in south Florida, a critical “battleground” state where polls show a tight race between Trump and Clinton. Meanwhile, the parade of prominent Republicans who have either denounced Trump or endorsed Clinton or both continues to swell. The latest was former Senator John Warner of Virginia, a former secretary of the Navy with close ties to the military/intelligence apparatus. The Clinton campaign continues to highlight endorsements from former Republican congressmen and officials of the administrations of Bush 41 & 43. A conference call Thursday featured former commerce secretary Carlos Gutierrez, former secretary of the Air Force Mike Donley, former deputy White House Chief of Staff Jim Cicconi, and three former congressmen. The increasingly right-wing appeal of the Clinton campaign was underscored in an op-ed column by billionaire Steve Case, former CEO of AOL Time Warner, who cited as one of his major reasons for backing the Democrat candidate:
I agree with Clinton on the need to control the deficit. (She is) our best hope to remain the most innovative and entrepreneurial nation in the world.
Nearly all of the newspaper editorials and endorsement statements have cited foreign policy and Clinton’s greater reliability as Pindo “commander-in-chief” in a future confrontation with Russia. This has been particularly the standpoint of the bevy of former Bush administration officials who spearheaded the war in Iraq, including neocons such as Paul Wolfowitz, Eliot Cohen and Robert Kagan. A driving force behind this outpouring of ruling class support for Clinton is concern that the former sec state is so unpopular, as the personification of wealth, privilege and the reactionary status quo, that she could actually lose the election to Trump, who makes an appeal, albeit of an entirely demagogic and right-wing character, to layers of the working class and lower middle class devastated by plant closures, declining real wages and deteriorating social conditions. He says crudely what millions are experiencing in their own lives: Pindostan is sinking into ever-deeper social and economic crisis. Clinton’s complacent pledges to continue the “progress” made under Obama only further discredit the Democrat Party and her campaign.