Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the 107th National Association for the Advancement of Colored People annual convention at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Monday, July 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)(Credit: AP)
This originally appeared on Robert Reich’s blog.
Does Hillary Clinton understand that the biggest divide in American politics is no longer between the right and the left, but between the anti-establishment and the establishment?
I worry she doesn’t — at least not yet.
A Democratic operative I’ve known since the Bill Clinton administration told me “now that she’s won the nomination, Hillary is moving to the middle. She’s going after moderate swing voters.”
Presumably that’s why she tapped Tim Kaine to be her vice president. Kaine is as vanilla middle as you can get.
In fairness, Hillary is only doing what she knows best. Moving to the putative center is what Bill Clinton did after the Democrats lost the House and Senate in 1994 — signing legislation on welfare reform, crime, trade and financial deregulation that enabled him to win reelection in 1996 and declare “the era of big government” over.
In those days a general election was like a competition between two hot-dog vendors on a boardwalk extending from right to left. Each had to move to the middle to maximize sales. (If one strayed too far left or right, the other would move beside him and take all sales on rest of the boardwalk.)
But this view is outdated. Nowadays, it’s the boardwalk versus the private jets on their way to the Hamptons.
The most powerful force in American politics today is anti-establishment fury at a system rigged by big corporations, Wall Street and the super-wealthy.
This is a big reason why Donald Trump won the Republican nomination. It’s also why Bernie Sanders took 22 states in the Democratic primaries, including a majority of Democratic primary voters under age 45.
And then there’s the Republican establishment (now scattered to the winds), and the Democratic establishment.
If Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party don’t recognize this realignment, they’re in for a rude shock — as, I’m afraid, is the nation. Because Trump does recognize it. His authoritarian (“I am your voice”) populism is premised on it.
“In five, ten years from now,” Trump says, “you’re going to have a worker’s party. A party of people that haven’t had a real wage increase in 18 years, that are angry.”
Speaking at a factory in Pennsylvania in June, he decried politicians and financiers who had betrayed Americans by “taking away from the people their means of making a living and supporting their families.”
Worries about free trade used to be confined to the political left. Now, according to the Pew Research Center, people who say free-trade deals are bad for America are more likely to lean Republican.
The problem isn’t trade itself. It’s a political-economic system that won’t cushion working people against trade’s downsides or share trade’s upsides. In other words, a system that’s rigged.
Most basically, the anti-establishment wants big money out of politics. This was the premise of Sanders’s campaign. It’s also been central to Donald (“I’m so rich I can’t be bought off”) Trump’s appeal, although he’s now trolling for big money.
A recent YouGov/Economist poll found that 80 percent of GOP primary voters who preferred Trump as the nominee listed money in politics as an important issue, and a Bloomberg Politics poll shows a similar percentage of Republicans opposed to the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision.
Getting big money out of politics is of growing importance to voters in both major parties. A June New York Times/CBS News poll showed that 84 percent of Democrats and 81 percent of Republicans want to fundamentally change or completely rebuild our campaign finance system.
Last January, a DeMoines Register poll of likely Iowa caucus-goers found 91 percent of Republicans and 94 percent of Democrats unsatisfied or “mad as hell” about money in politics.
Hillary Clinton doesn’t need to move toward the “middle.” In fact, such a move could hurt her if it’s perceived to be compromising the stances she took in the primaries in order to be more acceptable to Democratic movers and shakers.
She needs to move instead toward the anti-establishment — forcefully committing herself to getting big money out of politics and making the system work for the many rather than a privileged few.
She must make clear that Trump’s authoritarian populism is a dangerous gambit, and the best way to end crony capitalism and make America work for the many is to strengthen American democracy.
Robert Reich, one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley.
He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. Time Magazine has named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century.
He has written 13 books, including his latest best-seller, “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future;” “The Work of Nations,” which has been translated into 22 languages; and his newest, an e-book, “Beyond Outrage.”
His syndicated columns, television appearances, and public radio commentaries reach millions of people each week. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, and Chairman of the citizen’s group Common Cause.
His new movie “Inequality for All” is in Theaters. His widely-read blog can be found at:
Follow More Robert Reich.
more recommended stories
- Massachusetts – MPP
Defending Question 4: The work continues.
- Reviving The War On Drugs Will Further Harm Police-Community Relations
The United States has been waging.
- The Militant Left’s Attack on the Roman Catholic Church
Conservative Catholic Group in Ferndale, Michigan.
- Senators Defy Jeff Sessions And Vote To Extend Medical Marijuana Protections
A congressional committee voted Thursday to.
- President Trump’s Transgender Military Ban Is an Affront to the Core Tenets of the US Military
This morning, on the 69th anniversary.
- The Rolling Resistance: Meet Three Disability Rights Activists Fighting to Save Healthcare
This is a rush transcript. Copy.
- What Role Should the Military Play in the Fight for Transgender Rights?
This is a rush transcript. Copy.
- Grande Produce Issues Voluntary Recall of Limited Quantity of Papaya â€œCaribeÃ±aâ€� Due to Potential Health Risk
Salmonella is an organism that can.
- Hy-Vee, Inc. Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Soy in Hy-Vee Brand Pizzas
Eight varieties of Hy-Vee pizzas are.
- FDA Investigates Multiple Salmonella Outbreak Strains Linked to Papayas
Page Last Updated: 07/25/2017 Note: If.