Secretary Hillary Clinton has accepted millions in "speaking fees" and campaign contributions from interest groups – most notably Wall Street firms – that she will be in a position to help or hurt as president. She promises that the money will not influence her if she takes office, but voters are understandably skeptical.
Voters have been betrayed again and again by people who have become known as "corporate Democrats." These politicians made promises to help regular working people, then turned on them after elections and enacted policies that boost the monied interests – especially Wall Street and giant corporations – at the expense of the rest of the country.
What can Clinton do to overcome the resulting voter skepticism? Are there concrete things she can do and commitments she can make now that can reassure voters that she will be able to represent the other 99 percent of us once in office? Are there ways she can show the public that she means what she says when she claims to be as "progressive" as her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders?
Broken Promises From Past Democratic Politicians
"Many people have come to believe politicians say what they need to say to win, and then turn on them. If Hillary Clinton wants to win the Democratic nomination and inspire people to vote for her in the general election, she must find ways to overcome this voter skepticism." That is how the post "Does Clinton Really Oppose TPP? There Is A Test For That" began.
Now here we are again. This time the issue is Wall Street influence, not the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Working people – wages stagnant or falling and employers putting the squeeze on in hundreds of imaginative ways – have figured out that they’ve been sold out by 'establishment' politicians who have helped “rig the game” against them. And they are fed up.
Millions of voters, betrayed and cynical, have simply given up on the system. They haven’t gotten anything from the system in a long time. They don’t vote and they don’t believe the things politicians tell them.↓ Story continues below ↓
Candidate Clinton might not need those voters to win the nomination and maybe not even to win the election. But if she wants “coattails” to bring in a Democratic House and Senate, be it in 2016 or 2018, she is going to have to earn their trust.
Democratic voters are skeptical of promises. They want to see proof. They want to see action. They want to see changes. Or they will just stay home. And the terrible mess we are in will continue and worsen.
That was about TPP. These words apply equally to voter perceptions of Wall Street influence.
How Clinton Can Overcome Voter Skepticism
How can Clinton overcome this widespread voter skepticism? There are specific concrete things that Clinton can do now, and specific things she can pledge to do as president. (That's "pledge," by the way, not "promise.")
Right now, Clinton can demand that President Obama remove anyone in his administration who comes to government from Wall Street from any position where they can influence decisions, especially decisions about the government prosecuting people in the financial industry who are suspected of criminal activity.
Right now, Clinton can demand that President Obama issue an executive order requiring corporations that do business with the federal government to disclose their political spending. Right now. they should disclose contributions to candidate super PACs as well as "dark money" groups, "think tanks," even so-called "charities" that actually support candidates, ideologies and causes. All of it. Right now.
Clinton can also demand that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) do the same for all public corporations it oversees. Make them disclose contributions to candidate super PACS, as well as "dark money" groups, "think tanks," even so-called "charities" that actually support candidates and ideologies. All of it. Right now.
Clinton can pledge (not promise) to do those things once she takes office.
Clinton can pledge not to bring Wall Street people through the "revolving door" into the upper ranks of government. At all. Especially, but not limited to, people moving from Goldman Sachs into positions of influence over government policies.
Clinton can also pledge to ban anyone working for her administration from leaving government for any position with any Wall Street corporation if that position pays significantly more than what they make now, including all compensation, stock, perks, whatever, for at least 5 years.
There are probably dozens of other things Clinton can pledge to do to clean up government. Please suggest some in the comments.
So Far on TPP
So far, Clinton has not passed any of the "tests" suggested in "Does Clinton Really Oppose TPP? There Is A Test For That." She has not actively and boldly lobbied against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, calling and visiting and working to convince the representatives and senators who voted for fast-track trade authority to vote against TPP. She has not appeared at anti-TPP rallies. She has not spoken out against TPP at her own campaign events. She has not expressed opposition on radio and TV interviews. She has not worked to rally the media and public in opposition. She has not said Democrats in Congress who vote for TPP will be out of favor, will not receive reelection support, not get a job in her administration if she is elected. She has not declared that her administration will fight to overturn the bad trade deals and policies that got us into this mess.
The TPP post closed, "To close the enthusiasm gap she needs to stop just talking like a progressive and start acting like one – and demonstrating to people that she means it. Clinton is going to have to make it clear that she wants TPP to be stopped and she is going to have to join the front lines of the fight to stop it – or voters won’t believe her."
She hasn't, and now many opponents of TPP don't believe her when she says she is with them.
Clinton is going to have to make it clear that she wants Wall Street influence over our government stopped and reversed, and she is going to have to join the front lines of the fight to stop it – or voters won’t believe her.