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Response to Tarheel_Dem (Reply #251)

Fri Jan 30, 2015, 04:00 PM

253. My big issue is disparity in wealth. I do not believe that Hillary Clinton understands that issue

or IS CAPABLE of fighting the structures in our society that cause it.

I just do not think that Hillary Clinton gets it. And we cannot be the great, creative country we should be unless we get a more balanced distribution of wealth and ownership and thus of opportunity and responsibility. Elizabeth Warren, thanks to her work on bankruptcy and the reasons people go bankrupt understands what is going on there.

All our national security efforts, all our environmental causes, discussions about education, all our other causes are absolutely useless if most of us do not have the money that gives us the ability to influence Congress or even our local elections. (or maybe even pay our mortgages on our modest home.)

I discussed Warren v. Clinton as our candidate with a very active member in our local Democratic Party clubs, and she said Clinton was the only candidate with the money to run. That right there encapsulates all the terrible top-down, money and therefore rich influencing and controlling everything, state not just of the Democratic Party but of our country in general.

Hillary is the most likely candidate because of the system that disenfranchises on a very practical level and sometimes even at the polls a large segment of America. Hillary rises in the polls as union membership declines, as wages stagnate while stock prices rise. That's the story. It isn't right. I see two candidates who could represent a larger percentage of the American people than Hillary: Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Those two understand the issues, viscerally. Actually, I would say that this huge for all practical purposes estrangement of many Americans from their political power -- because of the decline in union membership and power and because of the increasing disparity in wealth and quality of life -- will get worse if Hillary is the candidate. She just owes too much, including but not limited to her elitist lifestyle (which was not what she was born into and is not necessarily represented by the extent of her personal wealth but which is rather represented by the crowd she runs with) to New York State, Wall Street and the corporate behemoths including Walmart around the country.

Hillary really is Republican-lite in that she is supported by a crowd that is very similar and maybe even the same as the group, the corporate group, that thrives on and advocates for the enormous influence of corporations and Wall Street banks in our society.

At this time, we have almost no institutions (like unions or universities or other liberal organizations) strong enough to stand up for other interests in our society. Other interests like children and their health and education, environmentalists, urban poor, people who live in small towns across America -- ordinary Americans.

I'm kind of ranting at this point. But you understand my frustration. Hillary is the inevitable candidate because she has the money. But the reason she has the money is that she is viewed as a "safe" candidate by the very people who are bent on wresting political power from you and me and other ordinary Americans so that they can protect their own power and wealth which is already unreasonably greater than that of the rest of America.

Here is what that means in terms of, let's say, environmental issues. The Koch Brothers have the money to lay pipelines and invest in dirty energy. We who own or are buying our little houses do not have the money to invest in clean energy alternatives that are friendlier to our environment. Thus, we cannot through our choices work for a better environment. Take away the subsidies for oil and raise the wages of ordinary people and you might discover that people will choose to be more self-sufficient when it comes to energy production for their homes and businesses.

Another example, we allow vertical monopolies to an extent that they squeeze out smaller businesses and makes it very difficult for start-ups. I shop in a store I love, but the store brand is nearly always cheaper than other brands. How is that possible? Many years ago I had a temp job working as a secretary for the day for a small group of people from a Caribbean Island who wanted to import spices. They couldn't. Our grocery stores at that time bought products through brokers who controlled the entry and sort of charged a modern day version ofa "salt tax" for access into the supermarkets. The money and the markets are in these ways controlled by the huge corporations. It's a system that makes it difficult for entry-level businesses to get a foot in the door of the prosperity that our economic gauges suggest exists.

Our tax policies favor inherited wealth to an extent that is unhealthy. In fact, most of the issues I am so concerned about involve tax policy that favors those now wealthy and disfavors entrepreneurs and small businesses and working people.

I sincerely believe that Hillary will be unable to do anything to change this direction.

And what is more, I do not see Hillary as a strong candidate. She is, I'm sure a nice and good person. Probably a loyal friend. But if she had what it takes to win a high-stakes election in which projecting personal warmth and likeability to large, perhaps television audiences, is decisive, she should have won in 2008. She didn't. The weaknesses in her presentation and what she believes in and in just who she is as a person do not make her the best candidate in my opinion. And I rely on past experience to back me up.

And then there are all the problems with the Bill Clinton baggage which will become a caricature by November 2016. We would be better off with a candidate who boldly projects a new image and a new direction. Elizabeth Warren's divorce issue will be more easily cleared up than Bill Clinton's womanizing issue. Elizabeth Warren has an obviously happy marriage and her divorce was long ago when she was very young. Quite different from having obvious, undeniable marital problems while living in the White House. (And I wish these issues did not intrude into our political arena but they do.) Elizabeth Warren is close to her daughter. I do not know how well she gets along with her son. Is there really an issue there??????

Gore should have won in 2000 (probably did). But he did not have enough of an advantage among voters to overcome the fraud, He was too much a part of the previous administration and old news. I think Hillary could hit that point where she is old news and too tied to the inevitable failures of the administration in which she worked.

There are so many reasons to look for a strong candidate other than Hillary that I cannot list them all. We need someone who will be able to excite great interest in Democratic issues. Do you seriously think Hillary can excite interest in the change we need? Obama did. But Hillary?

I picture myself standing at a table talking to middle class voters about the Democratic candidate. I've done that over and over, many times. How would I engender enough interest in Hillary to get people to vote for her? I don't have a sense that it would work. And essentially, when you pick a candidate, when you vote in a primary, you have to ask yourself what would you say to a voter about your candidate that would move the voter to get out and vote. With Obama, in my neighborhood in which many young men volunteer for the military, it was his view on the Iraq War for one thing. I live in a neighborhood of immigrants and people who are not white, European Americans. Obama's image spoke to them. So it was easy. I can't see that it would be so easy with Hillary. It is not a matter of race or gender. I just don't see Hillary appealing that much to people whose sons serve in the military, people who drive a truck for a living, people who have lost their homes, people just buying new homes and struggling to care for their children and work -- two working adults and a couple of small children in school or day care. I just don't see Hillary as their candidate. And remember, we don't have the unions to campaign at least among their members like we used to. Hillary is doing well in the polls now. But Republican money could bring those polls down via TV ads. And how do we in the grassroots counter the force of those TV ads? What is it about Hillary or what she stands for that can overcome the inertia that those ads cause? I can't see it.

The problem in 2016 won't be Democrats voting for Republicans. It will be Democrats staying home because there is no reason to vote -- as we saw in 2014. I think that Elizabeth Warren would give a lot of people a reason to vote. Bernie Sanders is the most competent. His candidacy would provide more excitement than Hillary's in my view.

I just spoke to a friend of mine who lost her previously thriving business in the aftermath of 2008. (Lost her home too after a long fight to keep it and had to start over in her late 50s.) She is hardly political at all but supports Elizabeth Warren. I think that Elizabeth Warren would have enormous appeal. And that she says she is not running does not move me much. I think we need a reluctant candidate. That is a more compelling story than what might appear to many to be a bought candidate. And I think we need to dare to institute the reform that Elizabeth Warren wants. Our choice of candidate for 2016 is in my view an existential decision for the Democratic Party and possibly for the nation.

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