The Death Knell For Establishment Politics

Hillary Clinton's webpage was recently updated to clarify that Hillary Clinton will "continue to support a public option, and work to build on the Affordable Care Act to make it possible."

That hasn't exactly been her tone since she announced.

In fact, her campaign has been highly critical of the expense and the political feasibility of Bernie Sanders' plan to extend healthcare to every American.

It's just the latest in a series of policy positions that Hillary Clinton has wisely tweaked to make them more progressive.

But it's not Bernie Sanders himself who's forcing Hillary Clinton to become more and more progressive and to sound more and more like him and Elizabeth Warren.

Before the two candidates ever met on the debate stage, activists had already pressured Hillary Clinton to clearly oppose the Transpacific Partnership and the Keystone XL pipeline.

More recently she's come out in favor of protecting and strengthening social security, and now she's taken the first step towards supporting a single-payer system like Medicare-for-All by coming out in support of the public option for health insurance.

But this has very little to do with Bernie Sanders as a person.

It has everything to do with the fact that these are the types of bold proposals that the American people want from their leadership, despite the inside-the-beltway establishment "wisdom" that says that these types of bold proposals are politically "just too hard" to get done.

The same thing is happening on the Republican side.

For the same reasons that Hillary Clinton is sounding more and more like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have been slowly making their platforms every bit as outlandish and bombastic as Donald Trump's.

And it's happening even though those candidates spent months trying to call Trump's proposals "cuckoo", because like it or not, Trump's proposals are popular with the Republican base.

Take Ted Cruz for example, he spelled out his immigration policy for Bill O'Reilly recently, and it almost sounded like he was reading straight from Donald Trump's webpage.

Marco Rubio, who seems to be the GOP establishment favorite, has abandoned his positions on opening a path to citizenship and comprehensive immigration reform, and substituted them with views that are closer to Trump's.

And as the race heats up, it's very likely that the establishment Republicans will continue to mirror Trump's rhetoric to try to out-Trump the Donald.

A year ago, most commentators took it for granted that Hillary Clinton would be the nominee and that she would run as a middle-of-the-road pragmatic Democrat in the footsteps of President Obama.

Now, Democrats have not one, but TWO candidates who oppose the TPP and Keystone XL, who want to protect and strengthen social security, who want a public option, and who support debt-free college.

Clinton didn't adopt those positions just to be more like Bernie, she did it because they're popular positions even though they aren't establishment positions.

Voters from both parties are sick of the establishment, and they're frustrated by the country that America has become after 35 years of Republican Reaganism and Third-Way DLC Democratic corporatism.

What we're seeing is an all-out popular rebellion against establishment politics on both sides.

And according to Robert Reich, "The establishment is having conniptions. They call Trump whacky and Sanders irresponsible. They charge that Trump's isolationism and Bernie's ambitious government programs will [both] stymie economic growth."

The conventional wisdom about economics for the last 35 years in both parties is that economic growth is inherently good, that the middle class does well when the economy grows, and that the stock market and how well billionaires are doing reflects the health and wellbeing of Main Street.

But Robert Reich is spot-on when he writes that "[M]ost Americans couldn't care less about economic growth because for years they've got few of its benefits, while suffering most of its burdens in the forms of lost jobs and lower wages."

Americans know that the median family income has decreased since 2000, because of establishment economics.

Americans know that tens of thousands of factories have been shuttered, and millions of jobs have been shipped to Mexico and China, because of the establishment wisdom about trade deals and economic growth.

Americans know that the billionaires have an unimaginable amount of political and economic power, because of money in politics.

And Americans know that we pay more for prescription drugs and health care than any other country in the developed world, because of establishment wisdom about how health care works in America.

Which is why it's really no wonder that the two candidates who are speaking about these issues are doing as well as they are.

And it's no wonder that the establishment candidates, like Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio, are changing their tunes to try to woo supporters from the two outsider candidates who have become the major political stories of 2016.

Americans are sick and tired of the political and economic establishment that has enriched and empowered itself for 35 years at the expense of the American middle class, and that's why we're finding ourselves smack dab in the middle of a very real and consequential political revolution.


Raypc800 7 years 14 weeks ago

I would also like to bring something up that numerous people seem to overlook. Unless every voter that votes for the Democratic Presidential candidate, votes a straight Democratic ticket very little will be accomplished for the GOP Congress will block it. You want change then change the makeup of Congress and vote out ALL GOP members in every race for any position at the same time. Yes that includes State, Counties, cities, School Boards and everything else clean them out of all the positions you can.

Jim Loomis's picture
Jim Loomis 7 years 14 weeks ago

I agree. It is essential that we turn Congress, no matter who wins the Democratic nomination.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 14 weeks ago

Voting "blue no matter who" is what got us into this mess. Bill Clinton gave us NAFTA and Hillary helped write the TPP. Maybe Thom can fall for her latest in a long line of lies; but, most of us don't. There are also 13 Dems in Congress who voted FOR the TPP. We have to do our best to make sure none of these Corporate lackeys is reseated next year; and, anyone who'd support a Clinton is a fool.

cccccttttt 7 years 14 weeks ago

If Bernie does not get the nomination, then there are many of his

supporters who will say,

"lets try Trump, it must be better than 4 more years of gridlock".

How many will jump to will be the question.


happyashell's picture
happyashell 7 years 14 weeks ago

Bernie's policies would go a long way to solving the problems on Main St. But Main St. also needs affordable housing so household formation can be accelerated, and the 2% Appreciation/Inflation Taxation Policy to stabilize interest rates, and the economy.

The primary single home market, under current policies, is not providing affordable housing for the middle class, and the working poor, Many families are still being crushed by underwater mortgages, and increasing rents.

The Fed has the ability to do a better job of performing it's mandates of employment and price stability. It could use the excess interest income it returns to the US Treasury each year to slowly buy down all underwater mortgages, as homeowners continue to make their monthly payments over a ten year period or less.

It might take Congressional action to allow the Fed to pay down the underwater mortgages, but it would be very beneficial for the economy. This action by the Fed would stimulate the economy by increasing consumer confidence, and disposable income. Congress should agree that underwater principal reduction would help the Fed with it's mandates. The money being used is not tax revenue. It is interest income collected by the Fed.

The improving economy would replace the money the Fed would not be returning to the US Treasury.

Inflating the housing bubble was the wrong way to heal the economy after the financial crisis of 2008. Housing has become so unaffordable, in some markets, that if interest were normalized, it will bust the housing market.

Fanni and Fredi could also help stimulate the housing market, and the economy by agreeing to purchase the Asending Interest Rate Mortgage. The AIR mortgage will slowly normalize mortgage rates, and maintain the value of debt (money).

If wide spread principal reduction of underwater mortgages had been used, coupled with the low interest rates that the Fed created, the Great Recession would not have been so bad on Main St. People would have been able to remain in their homes, and the unemployment rate would not have gone as high.

If the 2% Apprection/Inflation Taxation Policy had been in the income tax code, the housing bubble and the other bubbles in the period from 2000 to 2008 may not have occurred.

Modernize the Pledge of Allegiance Sign the petition, I just started, to empower our children to know, and seek an economy, and society they will want and deserve!!

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 14 weeks ago

There may be differences in regard to social justice issues, but much like Obama, Trump and Clinton both stand for business as usual when it comes to the economy. The bloated billionaires will continue to get their way....they'll never get enough of getting more.

Bill Clinton compared progressive citizens who support Bernie to Tea baggers who support the Fascists. That told me a lot about the true colors of the Clintons. Informed citizens who thirst for economic and social justice are the antithesis of uninformed citizens being manipulated by the likes of the Kochs.

I heard Thom mention that a bunch of billionaires got together with key Republicans from the Senate and House and made the decision to obstruct the will of the vast majority because a half black, half white Democrat was in the White House. If that isn't a textbook definition of Fascism, please educate me on the matter.

Bernie is the only one we can trust!

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 14 weeks ago

Why is ANYBODY impressed with Clinton "adopting Bernie's positions"? It means NOTHING! It's only rhetoric. She'll adopt the Spanish Inquisition's "positions" if she thought it would get her elected.
Never trust a Clinton! Remember when her mentor, Bill, campaigned as a progressive and, once elected, pissed on all that and governed as a moderate Republican.
The People of Arkansas didn't call him "Slick Willie" for nothing. He initially ran for President in flagrant violation of a major campaign promise that if elected he wouldn't run for president before his term as governor was done - quite a lot of people in Arkansas voted for him on that condition - and he announced he was running JUST AS THE TERM BEGAN!
They're personal motto is, "So long suckers!".

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 14 weeks ago

So what if her rhetoric co opts Bernie's positions? As soon as she's elected she'll shit can all that, forget the people and serve the big money.
Talk is cheap as piss, why does ANYBODY think what she says means ANYTHING AT ALL?

PFNELKAK 7 years 14 weeks ago

well said Mark.
Always watch what the other hand is doing.

RLTOWNSLEY's picture
RLTOWNSLEY 7 years 14 weeks ago

Raypc800; Exactly what I was going to say ! Change at the top in our system of government is an exercise in futility given the limited authority awarded that individual by the Constitution. The Right in this country permanently hindered any President from orchestrating any meaningful long range programs when they banded together to pass the 22nd Amendment in the late 1940s, we haven't seen a unified effort to reform this system like the New Deal since but various private financial interests have done quite well. Changing the makeup of the Congress is infinitely more difficult as it requires fifty separate groups working toward a single goal. Fifty different sets of voting rules in this country and two political parties that have been awarded guaranteed ballot access in every state. Why are we so surprised that our system no longer works for the average American ?

L Gabriel's picture
L Gabriel 7 years 14 weeks ago

Thom, I am just so disappointed in you. I never thought you would become a sell out. I find I have to turn your radio program off now. I will watch your show tonight. If it is too biased toward Hillary, I will have to quit you all together. Bernie is not a protest candidate, he is for real. I thank you for introducing Bernie to us many moons ago. We will take him. Thank you. You can keep the other one. Good luck with that. Don't believe she is a changed person until she refuses the big money and releases the actual transcripts of her speeches.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 14 weeks ago

You're right RL, the Republicans know what they're doing. They always make sure they have the House - and the speakership.

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