Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Trump Victory Over Clinton Would Not Be a Repudiation of Progressive Values

The first numbers from Real Clear Politics are out on the Trump/Clinton race. While they show Hillary Clinton leading Trump, it is not a sure thing. Currently, Ms. Clinton has 224 electoral votes in the bag, while Mr. Trump has 143. That means that there are 168 electoral votes that are up for grabs. 
Hillary Clinton has made her bed with the corporate big shots such as Goldman Sachs and others, who donated millions to her campaign and who paid her $225,000 per speech. To her credit, she takes more from small donors (Open Secrets) than the average person, but her actions show she is trying to have it both ways. As Cenk Uygur notes, if she had told Goldman Sachs stuff they did not like to hear, they would not have invited her back over and over again. And the word would not have gotten out among the 1% circles that she was someone they could do business with.
While a Hillary victory over Donald Trump is likely, it is not a given. And her attempts to court Bush donors are not going to help her in that effort. In order for her to win, she has to earn our votes. While I will vote for her, other people might not. She has to do more than triangulate and equivocate. Her recent stance on the Public Option is a good example. It sounds good on the surface, until you realize that all it does is allow people who are 50 or 55 to buy into Medicare. That is a good next step, since there are a lot of insurers who jack up rates for them because they are an insurance risk. However, that alone will not solve the problem of millions who are still uninsured. I had a lady on Twitter whose reaction to Hillary’s plan reminded me of the girl in the country song who sang, “That don't impress me much!”
Most of the Democrats who lost in 2010 and 2014 were not Progressives, but corporate Democrats. There were a few exceptions such as Feingold and Udall, but most of them lost because of the continuing demographic shifts of voters shifting from Southern Democrats to Republicans. Therefore, a loss of Hillary in the upcoming election would not be a repudiation of Progressive values, but a repudiation of Democrats trying to have it both ways by trying to court both the working class and Wall Street.
Another case in point is West Virginia. Paul Farrell, a West Virginia attorney, sought to run for President on the presumption that West Virginia voters, many of whom had families who worked for coal for 180-300 years, would repudiate both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. He touted pro-coal, pro-gun credentials. However, West Virginia voted for Bernie, suggesting that Democrats in Coal Country are just as tired of corporate Democrats as the rest of the country. Farrell got around 7% of the vote even though people knew him, and I wonder how many of those confused him with the TV actor Will Ferrell, who has portrayed Presidents on late night TV before. It took me several tries on Google before I could pull up the West Virginia attorney.
One West Virginia exit poll showed that nearly half of Sanders voters would support Trump over Clinton. While the transition from coal to other forms of energy are inevitable with the signing of the Paris Accord, Hillary does not offer any kind of plan to transition coal workers from energy to other fields beyond vaguely mentioning clean energy. As a peon, I do not know how well skills learned in a coal mine translate to, say, solar and wind energy. Bernie did a better job of relating to these people; his trillion dollar infrastructure plan would create millions of jobs, his opposition to TPP would protect many more, and his $15 minimum wage means that companies would have to hire to meet demand, since people would have more disposable income. The November election is Hillary’s to win. But to do so, she has to relate to us, and she has to relate to workers who stand to lose jobs in the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy.

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