Most likely, if Hillary Clinton is ever elected, she could do even less than President Obama did, and probably far less than Senator Bernie Sanders ever could. [IMHO, I say let's give Bernie the bully pulpit and find out!]
Oh sure, if Bernie is ever elected, the Republicans would hammer him hard and consistently with the "socialist" label. But they were saying the same thing about President Obama for the past 8 years before he was even elected. But since Obama was elected, even despite the recent downturn in the stock market, stocks on the DOW are still up over 7,200 points (surpassing all-times highs) — and after-tax corporate profits have also been at all-time highs (see the charts at the end of this post).
And since Obama first took office, over 13 million jobs were created — and gas prices are the lowest they've been in decades. Although there is still very much to do, Obama hasn't done too bad for a "socialist", wouldn't you say? But as many Republicans have also pointed out, all this positive economic news may be in spite of Obama, and not for anything he specifically did or didn't do.
And in the "real" economy, good jobs are still in short supply and wages are still stagnant. College tuitions and healthcare costs are still high, and Obama even wants more bad trade deals and more guestworkers visas, something the Republicans and many Democrats in Congress also want.
But over the past 40 years (under Democrats and Republicans) the U.S. economy went from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. That's in part because our best manufacturing and union jobs were offshored by Bill Clinton (NAFTA and PNTR for China) — and Obama wants more of the same with his own trade deals (The Triple Trade Treaty Threat) that Hillary supported 45 times — bad trade deals that Bernie was always against.
Now, our new service economy is full of a lot of part-time low-paying jobs (many in fast food and retail), with college grads taking jobs that high school grads used to take, displacing high school grads and dropouts (who are now forced to take jobs that teens in high school once had) — and the Great Recession only made this worse.
What have either the Democrats or the Republicans done for median household incomes?
What have either the Democrats or the Republicans done for median usual weekly real earnings? Hillary Clinton thinks anyone who earns $250,000 a year is "middle-class", when only the top 1% of wage earners make this much — and half make less than $28,000 a year. Bernie wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which will drive up all wages. Hillary's website says she has supported raising the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour — whereas Bernie has actually proposed real legislation to make the minimum wage $15 an hour by 2020.
Here are some excerpts from a post at the Daily Kos (January 19, 2016) The two most important political trends:
The rise of Sanders and Trump (i.e. political outsiders) has coincided with the rise of self-described independents (chart below). The media and political pundits are at a loss to explain the strength of these two candidates, but that's only because they aren't listening to the voters. The reason for this trend is obvious: government corruption. 50% of voters believe that neither party is the party of the people. What's more, most believe their own representatives have sold their vote and think congressional elections are rigged to benefit the incumbent. Both the trend to independents and the trend to believing the government is hopelessly corrupt started around the 2008 financial crisis and gained traction after the Obama Justice Department decided not to prosecute anyone for it. Given the overwhelming percentages of Americans who believe that the government is corrupt, you would think that someone would create an anti-corruption platform to run on, similar to the Progressive Movement of the early 20th Century. But since neither party has done so, it just reinforces the widespread belief that Congress is out of touch. Since Bill Clinton, the Democratic strategy has been to tack right and fill the political center as Republicans move further and further to the extreme right. It appears that democratic voters are not just misinformed, but grossly misinformed, about whether Clinton or Sanders would do better against Republicans [Bernie does much better]. There is a real danger involved here when it appears that a sizable percentage of Democrats would be willing to vote for Trump rather than Hillary.
So it's not just Republicans who dislike her, but many Democrats as well.
So why would voters ever have to be forced to register as either a Democrat or Republican to vote? See my post: Our Corrupt Political Duopoly Denies Voters Real Change. The photo below is just one example of our two-party system — and their daughters are BFFs — but yet, they could also be running against each other. They are both Republican LITEs and are more the same than they are different. Bernie offers new blood to the status quo.
So besides "informed" Democratic voters, Republican voters also have every right to blame Democrats for income and wealth inequality, high unemployment, low wages, an increase in part-time and temp jobs, crony capitalism, the offshoring of our best jobs, bank bailouts, the increase in guestworker visas, the low minimum wage — and a variety of other issues that directly affect their daily economic lives. Because the Democrats do many of the same things Republicans do — because they are just as beholden to the same big campaign donors.
Except Bernie Sanders (or even Donald Trump), who would only be beholden to us, the small campaign donors. Whereas 90 percent of the top 20 contributors to Hillary Clinton are corporations and 95 percent of the top 20 contributors to Bernie Sanders are unions. As Hillary pointed out in the last Democratic debate, even Obama took money from Wall Street. But Bernie? Not a dime.
But the reason Republican voters have every right to blame Democrats is not specifically because of Obama (the socialist), or what a Republican alternative might be. Republican voters have every right to blame Democrats because:
- the Democrats are perceived as being the party of minorities (because, usually it's only the Democrats who fight for minority rights),
- the Democrats never implement near enough solutions whenever they do hold power (like in 2009 and 2010), which only makes the Democrats a little bit better than the Republicans, but not giving Republican voters enough of a reason to vote for a Democrat. This has only given most of the voters the old option of voting for the "best of two evils".
- and the Democrats haven't really been true "Democrats", because just like their Republican counterparts, they are also beholden to corporate sponsorship (excluding progressives, such as Senator Bernie Sanders.)
The biggest problem is, the Democratic party has become too "moderate/Third Way/centrist/pro-corporate" since the days of FDR and LBJ. They were led too far to the right, whereas, Bernie Sanders is trying to bring the country back to the true "center". Most voters, as Senator Elizabeth Warren pointed out, are really "progressive" when it come to policy issues such as Social Security, healthcare and the tax code. (Although, many people who depend on short sound bites from the mainstream media, and don't have the time to thoroughly research all the issues, most likely don't even realize this.)
The Republicans use ideology, religion, social issues (such as gay marriage, etc.) and generational warfare to divide voters on wedge issues to only further implement their own version of economic policies — their same-ole-same-ole agenda of trickle-down, tax cuts for the rich, small government, austerity and cuts and/or the privatization of Social Security and cuts and/or the privatization of public K-12 schools and colleges.
The Republicans blame public unions for high taxes and private unions for a lack of jobs, when it's the lack of unions that gives us low wages and a lower tax base. The Republicans say Social Security is going broke and we have to raise the retirement age; when it's low wages that contributes to a lack of payroll taxes to fully fund Social Security (which has nothing to do with the national debt and budget deficits).
The Democrats, all too often, say they have to compromise with Republicans on many issues such as trade deals to "get things done"; but they really aren't compromising at all — they're really doing the bidding of their major campaign donors, who are often the very same ones who also give donations to the GOP. Trump (just like any other corporate lobbyist) was also giving money to both the Democrats and the Republicans.
The people (on the left and the right) are fed up. They can't count on the Democrats as a viable alternative to the Republicans (and vice versa) when most Democrats in Congress today are only Republican LITEs — with the exception of those in the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
When Obama ran for President, he ran on "progressive" values, and cited Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt (progressives) in his speeches. But despite being a "socialist" (as the Republicans claim), Obama turned out to be just another "moderate" Democrat — just like Hillary and Bill Clinton have always been (Even Donald Trump rails against offshoring, but has his ties made in China).
Hillary wants us to vote for her just because she would "be better than any of the Republican candidates" (and, because she is a woman); and she criticizes Bernie Sanders because all of his bold and popular policy proposals (supported by most Americans) would never get the political support needed from Congress.
But it's not just because both chambers of Congress is now dominated by Republicans, but it's also because most of the Democrats are really Republican LITEs. So even Hillary's FAKE proposals wouldn't pass Congress (and let's not forget how hated she is by almost all the Republicans.) So what could she do that Obama — or Bernie — couldn't? Nada.
Whether of not Bernie's plans for Medicare-for-All, free college tuition, taxing the rich and corporations their fair share, lifting the minimum wage to $15 a hour, and putting bankers in jail for their crimes against the American people is viable or possible in today's political climate is besides the point. But by electing him shows that the American people support his policies; and thereby, will send a very clear message to the pro-corporate "moderate" Democrats in Congress (who too often side with the Republicans) that they demand REAL change — and not just "hope and change".
If Democrats started acting like real Democrats, and started siding with American workers on issues such as trade and wages, only then can we ever expect any real change. Otherwise, with Hillary nothing will change. The only difference is, with Bernie things could change — but with a Republican, things will only change for the worse on economic issues (we already saw what "trickle-down" does).
As President Harry S. Truman said in 1952 (and he could have very well been speaking directly to Hillary Clinton today):
"I've seen it happen time after time. When the Democratic candidate allows himself to be put on the defensive and starts apologizing for the New Deal and the fair Deal, and says he really doesn't believe in them, he is sure to lose. The people don't want a phony Democrat. If it's a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing [a "moderate" Democrat — not like FDR], the people will choose the genuine article [like Bernie Sanders], every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat, and I don't want any phony Democratic candidates in this campaign. But when a Democratic candidate goes out and explains what the New Deal and fair Deal really are — when he stands up like a man [or a woman] and puts the issues before the people [like Bernie Sanders does] — then Democrats can win, even in places where they have never won before. It has been proven time and again. We are getting a lot of suggestions to the effect that we ought to water down our platform and abandon parts of our program. These, my friends, are Trojan Horse suggestions. I have been in politics for over 30 years, and I know what I am talking about, and I believe I know something about the business. One thing I am sure of: Never, never throw away a winning program. This is so elementary that I suspect the people handing out this advice are not really well-wishers of the Democratic Party." [See my post: Can Bernie Sanders pull off a Harry Truman on the GOP?]
If Democrats continue to lose seats in Congress and stateside, they only have themselves to blame for not listening to the people rather than their biggest campaign donors. At least Bernie listens. And because he does, maybe more Republicans would start voting for Democrats if they clearly represented ALL Americans, and not just minorities to pander for their votes. [Who Lost the White Working Class? by Robert Reich on January 19, 2016]
All the online polls clearly show that younger voters and Independents favor Bernie by very wide margins over Hillary. For Democratic voters, it's no longer good enough for a candidate running for office to be "just better than a Republican" to get votes; they also have to start acting like REAL Democrats, and not Republican LITEs — and not do as Obama did, make false promises just to get votes.
Republican voters have every right to blame the Democratic politicos (establishment Democrats holding office today), because the Democrats offered them very few alternatives — just like the Democratic politicos offered so little to Democratic and Republican voters alike.
Stocks and corporate profits since the socialist Obama first took office (via the St. Louis Federal Reserve). Bernie would like to see charts like this for wages.