Friday, November 25, 2016

Hillary Clinton and the Populist Revolt - The New Yorker

This is a long read.  The opening doesn't tell you much - except that he will treat everyone with respect...except for Donald Trump.
He recognizes that Trumpism is a rebellion against Republican establishment conservatism and liberal  Democrats.  There's a lot of recognition the "strangers in their own land" laments of Trump voters.  And recognition that the Democratic Party has lost its (white) working class base.  [Why is another question: to me it is the cybernetic revolution and the marginalization of trade unions, envy, and racism.]

I can't, not at this hour at least, capture his argument except to say read it.  It's behind a paywall, I think.  But the long essay is in the October 3 issue of the New Yorker.  And keep an eye out for his name: George Packer.
Hillary Clinton and the Populist Revolt - The New Yorker
by George Packer  October 24, 2016

***I sat down across from [Hillary Clinton]. With only a few weeks left until the election, I wanted to ask her about the voters she’s had the most trouble winning. Why were so many downwardly mobile white Americans supporting Donald Trump?

“It’s ‘Pox on both your houses,’ ” Clinton said. “It was certainly a rejection of every other Republican running. So pick the guy who’s the outsider, pick the guy who’s giving you an explanation—in my view, a trumped-up one, not convincing—but, nevertheless, people are hungry for that.” Voters needed a narrative for their lives, she said, including someone to blame for what had gone wrong. “Donald Trump came up with a fairly simple, easily understood, and to some extent satisfying story. And I think we Democrats have not provided as clear a message about how we see the economy as we need to.” She continued, “We need to get back to claiming the economic mantle—that we are the ones who create the jobs, who provide the support that is needed to get more fairness into the economy.”

Clinton has given a lot of thought to economic policy. She wants to use tax incentives and other enticements to nudge corporations into focussing less on share price and more on “long-term investments,” in research, equipment, and workers. She said, “We have come to heavily favor the financial markets over the otherwise productive markets,” including manufacturing, “which have been pushed to a narrower place within the over-all economy while an enormous amount of intelligence, effort, and dollars went into spinning transactions.” As she plunged into the details, her eyes widened, her color rose, and her finger occasionally gave the table a thump for emphasis. “I want to really marry the public and the private sector,” she said. Her ideas are progressive but incrementalist: raise the federal minimum wage to twelve dollars an hour, but not fifteen; support free trade, as long as workers’ rights are protected and corporations aren’t allowed to evade regulations.

The thumps got harder when Clinton turned to the Democratic Party. In her acceptance speech at the Philadelphia Convention, she said, “Americans are willing to work—and work hard. But right now an awful lot of people feel there is less and less respect for the work they do. And less respect for them, period. Democrats, we are the party of working people, but we haven’t done a good enough job showing we get what you’re going through.” One didn’t often hear that thought from Democratic politicians, and I asked Clinton what she had meant by it.

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