By Robert Borosage
Here are some take-aways from last night:
1. Clinton’s Populist Embrace
Clinton clearly sought to embrace the populist temper of our time, and made it a centerpiece of her long address.
She began with a tribute to Bernie Sanders, her chief competitor for the Democratic nomination:
“I want to thank Bernie Sanders. Bernie, your campaign inspired millions of Americans, particularly the young people who threw their hearts and souls into our primary. You’ve put economic and social justice issues front and center where they belong. And to all of your supporters here and around the country, I want you to know I’ve heard you. Your cause is our cause.”
She acknowledged that this economy is not working for working people. She credited President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for saving the economy from the free fall they inherited, but stated: “[N]one of us can be satisfied with the status quo, not by a long shot. We’re still facing deep-seated problems that developed long before the recession and have stayed with us through the recovery.” Many “feel like the economy sure isn’t working for them. Some of you are frustrated, even furious. And you know what? You’re right.”
After reminding Democrats that “we are the party of working people,” she pledged to pick Supreme Court justices who would overturn Citizen’s United, ensure that Wall Street would never “wreck Main Street again,” address climate change, take on corporations that pocket tax breaks and ship jobs abroad.
Then she offered a list of populist intentions “to make this economy work for everyone, not just those at the top”:
Expanded shared security, lifting the floor under workers, public investment to create jobs, a new global trade strategy, progressive taxes, a crackdown on corporate and Wall Street excesses – Clinton chose to present herself as a populist reformer, not simply as Obama’s third term.
2. Stuff Happens
Many will doubt the sincerity of those promises. There was no explicit pledge to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, no explicit pledge to break up the big banks or pass a modern Glass-Steagall Act. No mention of the platform’s endorsement of a $15 minimum wage and a union.
Perhaps even more telling is that Clinton offered no explanation about how we got into the straits we are in. It just happened to us: “Now America is once again at a moment of reckoning. Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart. Bonds of trust and respect are fraying.”
The economy isn’t working for working people because our democracy isn’t working, she argued. But there was no indication that this deck was stacked by those who made out like bandits.
3. Change in the Backrooms
How will all this get done? Clinton addressed the question directly: “Well, look at my record. I’ve worked across the aisle to pass laws and treaties and to launch new programs that help millions of people. And if you give me the chance, that’s exactly what I’ll do as president.”
No need for a movement, much less a political revolution. No need for a sweeping mandate or even a Democratic House and Senate. Clinton rightly savaged Trump for claiming that only he could fix things, but then suggested that her ability to cut deals can get things done. The modesty of the means contrasts with the boldness of the promises. [emphasis by The Secular Jurist]
Continue reading: Hillary Clinton and the Choice
Commentary by The Secular Jurist: Borosage concluded his editorial by describing the 2016 election as a clear choice between Hillary (a faux populist, in my opinion) and Donald Trump (“a man clearly unfit to be president,” in his opinion); however, I must disagree. There are more than just two presidential candidates and two ballot choices for November. I’ll be selecting an alternative.