I figured since I’m a Hilary Clinton supporter, I should probably make a few updates about her ongoing campaign to become the next President of the United States. Let’s see where her campaign is at.
As far as polling is concerned, Real Clear Politics shows that Clinton is still the favorite on the Democratic side. In general, CNN/ORC has Clinton at 56% while Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is at 19%. The latest NBC/Marist poll from Iowa shows Clinton in a 24-point lead. However, the same NBC News/Marist poll does show Sanders gaining on Clinton in New Hampshire (Clinton only has a 10-point lead there). Additionally, Hilary Clinton’s favorability ratings have gone down steadily as of late. However, Slate’s Jamelle Bouie tells us Clinton supporters not to panic (I tend to agree).
Dan Merica and Jeff Zeleny of CNN documented her response to the issue of the Keystone Pipeline, which she is apparently reluctant to take a stand on. I’m sure environmental groups were sounding the panic alarms about how that was an indication that Clinton would garner their support now and betray their trust later. As for me, I support the Keystone Pipeline so this isn’t really a big deal to me either way. On a related environmental note, Cameron Joseph at New York Daily News covered a recent radio interview Clinton gave while campaigning in New Hampshire. On the topic of off-shore drilling in the Arctic, Clinton made the following statement:
“I have doubts about whether we should continue drilling in the Arctic… And I don’t think it is a necessary part of our overall clean energy climate change agenda. I will be talking about drilling in general but I am skeptical about whether we should give the go ahead to drill in the Arctic.”
As someone who is okay with the idea of drilling in the Arctic (as is President Obama, for what it’s worth), this is not devastating news to me. Clinton’s skepticism towards drilling in the Arctic should sound more pleasing to the environmental Left, but at this point they may already be running high with a case of the Bernie Sanders fever.
Let’s move on to Hilary’s recent economic policy proposals. We’ve already documented Clinton’s support for raising the minimum wage and willingness to run with the Left’s passion for reducing income inequality. However, more recent Clinton economic statements have been about how Corporate America is too fixated on short term profits and not enough on how to invest in America for the long term. Hence her recent proposals for rethinking how capital gains should be taxed. Matthew Yglesias of Vox notes the following from his article regarding her proposal:
“Right now, the tax code distinguished between a short-term investment held for less than a year and a long-term investment held for longer than that. She wants to replace that with a different system, featuring a six-year sliding scale of rates to give genuinely long-term investors a leg up.
Her campaign has not yet released a fully-fleshed out plan, but they say she wants to make two changes. One is to push the current one-year definition of short-term capital gains out to two-years.
The second is that she doesn’t want to give every investment held for longer than two years equal treatment. Instead, she wants a sliding scale of rates over a multi-year period so that you would need to hold an investment for a full six years to qualify for the discount rate.”
I like this idea for multiple reasons, but instead of getting into that, I want to give my reasons for why I consider myself a Hilary Clinton supporter. I want to start by contrasting this course of action compared to her rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders has been known to rail against corporations, even going so far as to express his desire to “wage a moral and political war on billionaires and corporate leaders…”. Now, I understand that among many things that upset the political Left the most, it is how corporations use greed to augment their wealth at the expense of those in the middle class. I (partially) sympathize with this viewpoint, but on the other hand, I tend to see a different picture on the wall.
As much as I understand the desire to denigrate corporations and Wall Street and make them a political enemy, I’m just not interested in doing so myself. And no, it’s not because a sizable share of those who work on Wall Street vote Democrat. It’s because I believe that corporations and the middle class can coexist. I believe both entities can benefit from our government, and both entities can make American society better.
Bill Clinton is a good example of what I’m trying to relay here. In the 1990’s, Clinton raised taxes on the wealthy and corporations. But former President Clinton did not do so a means of punishment. He did not refer to those who work on Wall Street or those in the top-tier income bracket as malevolent or iniquitous. Clinton raised taxes because he understood that those who benefit the most in our society should pay a little more to help those who aren’t at the top of the earnings spectrum. And guess what? Economic growth was plentiful during the course of his administration. Oh, and Clinton was also balanced the budget, in part by raising taxes.
But the point I’m trying to make here is that there are plenty of Independent and Democratic leaning voters who don’t want to see income taxes for those at the top to exceed where they are now (there can be other forms of taxes implemented, such as a carbon tax, national sales tax, or a tax on financial transactions). There are plenty of Independent and Democratic leaning voters who don’t hold the view that Washington D.C. is programmed to benefit billionaire campaign contributors.
Lest anyone start to think I’m a Republican in sheep’s clothing, I do not support privatizing Social Security or Medicare. I do support Universal Health Care (not a single payer system, but a hybrid public/private system ala the ACA). I do want to see the Welfare State expanded to support Universal Pre-K and Paid Maternity Leave. I do not believe that corporations should have the same rights as people. I support marriage equality and full LGBT equality. I support moderate forms of gun control. I support the federal government taking strong actions to combat the effects of anthropogenic global warming. I do want to see an increase in the minimum wage (to $10/$11).
I want to see Hilary Clinton continue the progress made by President Obama to shift America into a Center-Left country. I want to see Hilary Clinton make history by being the first woman President of the United States. But most importantly, I want someone as president who respects our political institutions and the political process, imperfect as they may be. While I respect Senator Sanders, I’m not interested in starting a revolution. I’m also not interested in supporting someone who just pivots to the extremes of whatever ideology they hold. I’m not interested in supporting a candidate just because he/she is anti-“mainstream politics” and is “outside the beltway”. In my opinion, these are just catchy tropes void of any serious substance. I’m interested in someone who will make incremental reforms to make our country and our government better.