Will Hillary Clinton run as a conservative?

Back in 1972, Democratic voters nominated a candidate, George McGovern, who was unacceptable to the Democratic leadership.  Top Democrats such as Lyndon Johnson silently supported Richard Nixon, who won in one of the biggest landslides in American history.

GettyImages-480679428.0Hillary Clinton seems to be basing her campaign on the top that the same thing will happen in reverse—that the top Republicans and also upscale Republican voters will support her, or remain neutral, because they can’t support Donald Trump and she is a sensible conservative

This would be bad for the nation.  It also would be a disaster for the Democratic Party.

Trying to out-Republican the Republicans was the strategy of her husband, Bill Clinton, in the 1990s.  He stole the Republicans’ thunder by balancing the budget, cutting back welfare, support mass incarceration and deregulating finance.

Barack Obama used the same strategy.  His legislative program consisted of asking Republicans in Congress to enact their own past policy proposals.  The Republican responded by simply everything Obama proposed regardless of merit—except, of course, pro-corporate trade deals, military intervention and shielding Wall Street from prosecution.

From the standpoint of political expediency, this strategy worked to the extent that Clinton and Obama won re-election, the first Democrats to do so since Franklin Roosevelt.  The strategy failed to the extent that, during both their administrations, Democrats lost control of Congress.

And it failed the American people, because Clinton and Obama neutered progressive opposition to crony capitalism and perpetual war.

What’s different from 1992 and 2008 is that Hillary Clinton is not running against a conservative Republican.  She is running against a shape-shifter who is perfectly capable of running on the popular parts of the progressive agenda.   And if she wins, the American people will not be well-served by defense of the status quo.

But inasmuch as Clinton will almost certainly govern as a conservative no matter what, I won’t criticize her for being honest and running as a conservative.  That’s what she is and always was.

LINKS

Clinton Supporters Are Scare-Mongering About Donald Trump to Silence the Concerns of the Young and the Poor by Benjamin Studebaker on his web log.  A little bit long but important.  (Hat tip to Avedon’s Sideshow)

Why must the Trump alternative be self-satisfied, complacent Democrats? by Thomas Frank for The Guardian.

Our politics are broken and toxic: How both party elites betrayed our trust, birthed Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump by Jim Sleeper for Salon.  (Hat tip to peteybee)

Clinton to take hard line with Sanders, say allies by Amie Parnes for The Hill.

Trump vs. the Two-Party System by Jack Rasmus for Counterpunch.

 

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