While Donald Trump stands little chance of winning the American presidency, there will be nothing to celebrate when  the neoliberal Hillary Clinton, the so-called ‘lesser evil’, walks into the White House.

AS A SPECTACLE OF cohesiveness and unity, the Republican convention has been a rank failure. It might make a passable low brow reality TV series - Don and Ted's Misadventures - but as an advertisement to the American nation that Donald Trump should be their man, it has been as compelling as a re-run of Gilligan's Island. Possibly less compelling.

It started badly for Donald with his wife reading out a speech that Mrs Obama helped to write. Then Ted Cruz strangely refused to endorse the man who claimed that Ted's father had been a supporter of Hitler.

"Vote with your conscience", Cruz pointedly told the delegates - that has been the catchcry of the #nevertrump faction within the Republican Party.

On top of all this there were less than fulsome speeches from the likes of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. They couldn't say how much they liked Donald Trump. Meanwhile some of the Republican's heavyweights, like George Bush and Mitt Romney, were just too busy to attend the convention.

You know you've got problems when one of you're 'headline' acts is faded sitcom star Scott Baio and a woman who appears in the daytime soap The Young and the Restless. It's not quite George Clooney is it?

Its easy to poke fun at the Trump circus, but it hasn't all been a barrel of laughs and the unpalatable and disturbing aspects of Trump campaign have often come to the fore. That was typified by David Clarke, the Sheriff of Milwaukee County, who told delegates that the United States was waging a war against the Black Lives Matter movement. He even compared it to the so-called Islamic State. And he was roundly cheered.

Donald Trump's campaign has allowed genuinely fascist elements in the United States, such as the white supremacist groups, to emerge from the darkness and gain some, if very limited, legitimacy.

But Donald Trump himself is not fascist. Fascism emerges as an organised political force that revolves around a political party that aims to smash working class power and dismantle the institutions of capitalist democracy. Trump doesn't want to do that. He just wants to win the presidential election.

The problem with defining Trump as some kind of neo-fascist is that has the potential of persuading the left to support the 'lesser evil' - namely the neoliberal Hillary Clinton. So Bernie Sanders has called on his supporters to 'unite' behind Clinton to defeat the threat posed by Trump.

This argument is based on the false assumption that Trump could win but his base of support is too narrow for that. You only had to look at the ethnicity of most of the delegates at the convention to realise that. Only a reported 3 percent of the delegates were black and only a reported  11 percent were Latino. And Trump is failing to win over female voters. And a poll this week indicated that 60 percent of Americans did not think that Trump had the required capabilities to be president. 

In some polls Trump has a zero approval rating with black voters.

Even the Republican hierarchy don't believe Trump can win. That kind of political fantasy is best left to Fox News to indulge in.

The real problem is that the 'lesser evilism' that has bedeviled American politics for decades -as it has in New Zealand - has stultified the development of the US left. The fear of a Republican presidency has led to much of the left limply falling in behind the Democratic Party, derailing political movements and struggles in the process. Exactly the same thing has happened in New Zealand with most of the left routinely wheeling in behind the Labour Party at every election - despite the fact that the Labour Party remains an obstacle in the way of the development of progressive politics.

But it's voting for the lesser evil, and the neoliberal economic policies they have put in place to support the corporations that fund them, have that allowed for a right-wing, “populist” figure like Donald Trump to rise so quickly.

As  Jill Stein, the Green Party's presidential candidate says, it's well past time to finally reject 'lesser evil' politics -  for the greater good.

"What Donald Trump is riding on, this wave of economic misery, was created by the neoliberalism of the Clintons, Jill Stein said in a recent interview. "The powers that be that are working overtime to tell us that the revolution is over. They are trying to stuff the genie, which is all of us, back into this bottle of voting for Hillary."

The truth is that constantly voting for the lesser evil is still voting for evil.


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