Home | About | Donate

Why This Is the Year of the Anti-Corporate Presidential Campaign


Why This Is the Year of the Anti-Corporate Presidential Campaign

David Korten

A recently released study by four leading economists of voting in U.S. congressional races uncovered an important pattern. According to a New York Times report on the study, “Areas hardest hit by trade shocks were much more likely to move to the far right or the far left politically.” Job losses, especially to China, the authors noted, lead voters to strongly favor either Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders.


It seems the punditry has a difficult time calling a corporatist a corporatist at least when it is Hillary in the middle. Trump is the wild card anti status quo on the right and Sanders who started it all is the unquestioned anti status quo from the left but Hillary in the middle is the status quo who wants to be thought of as the anti status quo from the status quo? The status quo middle who wants to change things by keeping them the same? That is Hillary. The stay the same candidate.

How does that work? Does anyone believe that Hillary represents change when she is the very status quo that people want to change? Yet saying this fact seems so hard to do for pundits. Hillary represents the status quo yet they bend over backward to make her seem like she will change things by staying the same. Reality. She constantly hews close to Obama so what is she supposed to be changing by the way?

Oh right ... I forgot. Its the gender. Its the surface - the appearance of the candidate like Obama was change that was only skin deep, Hillary is change that is gender deep but otherwise preserves the status quo.

They've dumbed us down and won't let us rise above it. No real changes allowed.

Democracy be damned, the people are undone by oligarchy. The game is lost.

Sorrow will follow
The choice was not ours
Since when was it ever this obvious
That the same would not change


I don't get your logic on change. Obama ran on the platform "Change you can believe it." That was a big reason he defeated Clinton in 2008. Now Clinton is running as a candidate who can push the Obama agenda further which would be an agenda for change. I guess the question is was Obama fooling everybody when he ran a platform for change or it is the Republicans who prevented him from carrying out his change agenda. Or, a third possibility, was Obama unable to get the support of the people that needed to change things. My view is that it was the Republicans who made it their mission that Obama fail and they successfully blocked change. I think Clinton has had a chance to look back on the last 8 years and has seen that the type of change Obama promised is not possible with enough Republicans in Congress to block it so rather than disappoint people like Obama did she has opted for a more limited agenda.


What good are jobs when we are dying from a polluted environment. Slowly, but surely, the people are finally waking from their slumber and realizing that you can't breath, eat, or drink money. We want our clean air, food, and water back right NOW!


Trump IS the corporate and anyone who believes he isn't is deluding themselves. There is only one way forward and that is with Bernie Sanders. As for international trade deals, all that the corporatists want is to stifle democracy and usurp it to their will. Both TPP and TTIP include a clause about secret courts where the multi-nationals and corporate elite can claim compensation from any government whose policies they don't like and which affect their profits. It's fascism by the back door and we need to fight it tooth and nail NOW.


The glaring problem with the view "the Republicans made me do it!" is that it can't explain the extraordinary 'bipartisan' cooperation on some major legislative frameworks in certain areas, foremost among them foreign policy, war, and corporate rule, all using a hyper-invested security state to ensure their success.
The GOP cooperates with Obama all the time--but only the stuff that matters equally to both parties.
The GOP didn't force Obama to invade then subsequently destroy Libya. In fact, Congress explicitly told him not to! (GOP to the left of Obama albeit briefly?). Honduras, Syria, Ukraine, all actions not requiring GOP support or opposition. Each of them hideous abuses of power.
So no, the best explanation by far is that Obama is governing as he actually is, not as he told you he was. He's a right winger. Period. And you'd think people would start to learn that speeches aren't policy and that politicians lie. But apparently party loyalists can't learn these things. Ever.


I agree with Korten about the need to continue to build a Movement and then Move beyond these elections. However, I wonder what forms of activism he proscribes that people take - is political activism beyond elections at a national level? At a state and local level? Is it social and economic activism outside the political arena? Is it relationships building and organizing in one;s own community? Is it making change in one's own everyday life to set an example of how to transform? Is it all the above?

This is perhaps unfair to Korten, because it is not up to him to decide. It's up to the people. Nevertheless, I wish he would have spelled out his ideas, at least in outline or bullet point form, in this article. I know he knows and I think I have an idea, but still it is easy to make the general case for a Movement and he is far from the first from making it.

Also, what "helps" or "hinders" the Movement politically, economically, institutionally, socially, and, maybe most importantly, psychologically?


I agree and it costs money. The filthy rich don't have there money in the Bahamas its its in the care of their hedge fund at LaSalle or Wall Street where the only transaction tax is 0.00042% which pays off the SEC to declare them a self-regulated market.The BEA is controlled by the Koch brothers trained economists and does not include the stuff that Michael Lewis describes in "Flash Boys" and "The Big Short"; the bundled mortgages and high risk loans or the purchase of gold and milk in the GDP or GSP in Illinois.. Lisa Mataloni at BEA says that buying and selling that crap which caused the worst recession in history is not measured in the GDP. The trades are $500 trillion the GSP of Illinois is $809 billion. Do they think we are nuts? A 0.5 % tax could sequester the necessary 5 gigatons of biomass like growing and sinking kelp restoring forests in South America as described in the New York Times Science News yesterday .


Lrx - I think you are off a bit in your analysis. First, on Obama as the change candidate - he might have used the word 'change' in his slogan, but is this the change we wanted or were expecting? I think not. Plus, other than just wanting everyone to get along, Obama never had an issue-oriented agenda. He inherited an economic mess and other than the Lilly Ledbetter law and a too small stimulus his prescription was pretty much follow Bush (including the 2nd half of the big bank bailout). We were at war when he started and wand we still are, though in a different form. He never outlined a direction for the country, at least that he told us about. And remember his admin was going to be the most transparent in history; instead it is the most secretive, even more so than Bush-Cheney. Not discounting repub obstruction which clearly there was, but Obama rarely if ever fought for things, especially things that would help everyday people. Funny the things he is willing to fight for like the TPP and TTIP. When elected he had a huge mandate but was too timid or just did not want to to take on entrenched power (so we got Obamacare). He had the people behind him, but he disbanded his grassroots action group that got him elected, so there was never anyone to have his back. There is really little evidence out there that he wanted to make all this change and it was those pesky repubs that kept him from doing it. I could go on, but won't here.

So do we really want more of the Obama change that Clinton says she wants? No.


Obama threw the Left some bones; gay marriage, a watered down health plan but not much else. Guantanamo still there, endless war expanded, extra judicial killings and drone war an Obama speciality, mass surveillance legitimized, trade agreements his top priority, and on and on. If that is the legacy Clinton will build on, I want no part of it.


Outside of the 1980s, every campaign year of the modern era (since at least FDR) has been about the anti-corporate agenda.

Unfortunately, America blew it in the 1980s and 1990s, from Reagan's deregulation mania to B. Clinton wiping out actual welfare, from B. Clinton's signing of NAFTA to the hard work Hillary Clinton did in 2015 to get the TPP through Congress. We're stuck with the consequences of the choices made by our middle class. Now what? The message is clear enough. Americans want to maintain our current agenda, but see different results.


The author started this article talking about "free trade". As I am learning, capitalism is far more sadistic and psychopathic than I realized. The "free trade" policies under capitalism are no exception. The following article puts "free trade" into historical, practical and actual perspective.

What Is "Free Trade" Really About?

On a personal level, I couldn't believe the common key components between free trade and human trafficking. Both are about:

  • Exploitation
  • Control
  • Domination
  • Huge profits


I think you interpret what you want to be true rather than discern the truth of things. In this case you excuse Trump's expressed fascistic perspectives and then apply a wishful thinking wait and see attitude towards his candidacy. Meanwhile you have too much antipathy towards Hillary because you have already made up your mind that she is evil incarnate. How does that work? I think Trump would be worse than Hillary particularly towards instituting the ongoing oligarchy and corporate rule. People are kidding themselves if they think that Trump won't say whatever he needs to say to get himself elected. He is a republican though and a conservative and right now he is working out a deal between the republican wheelers and dealers for him to sit on a throne for 4 to 8 years and for them to pass conservative programs that he will help bully through congress. People are expecting Trump to be like Bernie but I think they are very wrong about that. Very, very wrong.

Hillary is a corporatist and I fully expect her to pull an Obama where she promises much but somehow can't deliver but relies on her administration not being as bad as the Repubs ( while going along with them for the most part )! I truly believe she is cheating and subverting democracy but I don't think that for a moment that Trump intends to preserve democracy at all. I think he will institute direct oligarchic rule ( starting with himself) and further dismantle the America that Bernie believes in, that Hillary pretends to believe in and that he (Trump) considers only a business opportunity and worse. Hillary is bad but Trump is worse. Reagan was a figurehead too and Trump is inexperienced, so he will delegate and they will be immune to criticism. That scares me. Hillary is too willing to continue this endless war but her own party may in fact have had enough of it. Would Trump bring peace? You have got to be kidding if you think that. He will let the republican neocons have their way and he will remain aloof from it. He will attempt to dictate mores (such hypocrisy that) and control our lifestyles too. Be warned of republicans in designer sheepskin clothing.


"The voter sentiment on these issues is so strong that Hillary Clinton is presenting herself as an anti-corporatist . . ."

This sentence illustrates a stark difference between Hillary and Bernie. No one raises an eyebrow when this is written about Hillary and no one can imagine this being said about Bernie.


Off topic, but here it is friends, the beginning of the end of Hillary's presidential run:

“It just boggles the mind that the State Department allowed this circumstance to arise in the first place,” said Judge Sullivan, who was appointed to the Federal District Court in 1994 by President Clinton.

The judge called the email episode “very, very, very troubling.”

Yes, I concur with Judge Sullivan that setting up your own server so that you could run your own government within a government is very very troubling. I see no wiggle room in this: what she did was unlawful and should certainly disqualify her presidential aspirations.


The article says the last deposition is set for June 29, so about a month before the Democratic convention. I don't think Obama would pardon her as that would certainly end her presidential run.

The scuttlebutt in Washington, according the Cenk Uygur, is that Biden is preparing to step in in case of an indictment, that the DNC would never allow Sanders to get the nomination. Says Biden's made a couple curious recent statements about wishing he had run for President and that if he had he would have chosen Elizabeth Warren as his running mate.


I very much appreciated this article, as it is forward looking. It is asking us what will folks do now that they have found their agency, if Sanders, Trump, or Clinton wins. And that is a very good question. I'm praying we go on to form that democracy movement.


If the DNC bypasses Sanders for Biden I predict revolution. The other kind.


"Change you can believe in" was a slogan. The mediated (a useful word) US public has been so sloshed with slogans for so long that the habit of believing them has been inculcated. Most of the voting age public believes in the doctrine of "false advertising" and expect that there are criminal sanctions for perpetrating it. Capitalist theory as presented reinforces this bias by when it says that if one makes a claim for a product and the product doesn't deliver the promised results, the consumers will stop consuming that product and it will cease making bogus claims and no longer be available on our brains' shelves.

Political candidates are products and their campaign rhetoric are the commercials for claims they are making. The only rebuttal that their claims receive is the braggadocio of opposition candidates. The record of whether they made good on their claims, made by political journalists whom the public often suspected have agendas of their own, remain hard to evaluate. "But he said . . . " remains the knee jerk response to the politicians, and while people give lip service to the concept that "all politicians lie," but they tend not to believe this is true of politicians whose personalities they like and whose "positions" are congruent with those their supporters believe they should be,

That's why nothing will change.(except to get worse) until the public stops professing an attitude of pseudocynicism and begins to a acquire a real cynicism and scornful contempt that matches the spin doctored focus grouped reality of how these office holders get the offices they hold. Attention needs to be paid to how all office holders perform their duties and how and what they say checks out against what they actually do. The revolution that's most needed is a widespread upgrade of political awareness.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.