August 10, 2016

Progressives Don’t Trust Hillary Clinton Means What She Says

Hillary Clinton is the say or do anything candidate of the 2016 election. On issues as diverse as trade, the Keystone pipeline, and the Second Amendment, Clinton has tailored her positions to fit the views of the electorate. This week progressive groups are noticing who they’ve nominated as the Democratic standard bearer and are calling Clinton to firmly commit to the more progressive positions she took in the primaries.

After years of giving big money speeches to Wall Street firms, Clinton is viewed suspiciously by progressive groups. During the primary, Clinton took a firmer anti-Wall Street position because of Bernie Sanders’ success using the issue against her. Still, 15 progressive groups do not trust Clinton will act tough if she became president. This morning, they sent her a letter challenging her to not appoint Wall Street bankers to her administration:

An alliance of 15 progressive groups is pressuring Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to keep people connected to Wall Street out of her transition team and the White House if she wins the November election. The organizations, several of which backed Bernie Sanders in the primary race, urged Clinton to select ‘proven policymakers whose commitment to the public interest is unimpeachable to lead your transition efforts.’ They wrote to Clinton in a letter Wednesday they provided to Bloomberg Politics that ‘personnel is policy’ and that ‘too many Wall Street executives and corporate insiders have traveled through the revolving door between private industry and government.’”

Clinton is also feeling the heat from progressive groups on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Clinton infamously called the deal the “gold standard” of trade deals, and was so effusive in her praise that CNN was able to compile 45 instances of her praising the deal.

Progressive groups, like Democracy for America and CREDO, now fear that Clinton will flip-flop again on TPP, supporting its passage in the lame duck session. They’ve called on her to pledge that she will stay firm in her original flip-flop:

“On Wednesday, the grassroots liberal groups Democracy for America and CREDO will begin circulating petitions urging Clinton to go further by making a public statement ‘urging the White House and Democratic congressional leadership to oppose any vote on the TPP, especially during the post-election lame duck session of Congress.’ The groups would like Clinton to make that declaration in her policy address on the economy this Thursday outside of Detroit.”

These two examples show that progressive groups have put Clinton in a lose-lose position. If Clinton fails to satisfy progressives, she risks them staying home on Election Day or voting for Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Yet, if she gives into their demands, she could alienate more moderate swing voters. As it turns out, a history of politically advantageous actions causes people to not trust your word. Who knew?