Ready For A Leftist Clinton Presidency? Hillary Clinton embraced a populist agenda mostly to deflect attacks from potential leftist opponents

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WASHINGTON – Hillary Clinton just relaunched her presidential campaign with a big public event in New York City. The only interesting part of this carefully choreographed and totally staged appearance is that she chose this occasion to tell America that now she has embraced a populist, leftist  political message.

Hillary Clinton’s beliefs

Is this an epiphany? After more than 20 years in public policy did Hillary Clinton suddenly discover that she always had an anti-capitalist, anti-big business soul? Not really. This is all about political calculations.

Sadly, almost nothing comes from the heart in modern campaigning. Positions held by most candidates have nothing to do with what they really believe in. They are going to say what they think will win them votes. Their “message” is based on the results of countless internal polls and scores of focus groups meetings. And, most amazingly, voters do not seem to mind candidates who all of a sudden begin to tell them what they want to hear. Like it or not, sincerity is not a virtue in politics.

She was a centrist

In 2008 Hillary Clinton was the centrist, moderate Democrat who unexpectedly lost the nomination to the more radical Barack Obama. Of course, Obama won in large part not because of his left-leaning policy platforms but because of who he was: the first African American who had a shot at becoming President of the United States.

Now Hillary Clinton has a good chance of becoming the very first woman President. And there is no doubt that millions of Americans, mostly women, will vote for her mostly for this reason, no matter what her agenda is. Very often in politics symbolism prevails over substance.

A leftist agenda

But to the extent that Clinton has any program agenda, now it appears to be decidedly leftist. Her NYC relaunch speech was all about the rich who gamed the system, while the toiling masses are left with just a few scraps. This “Main Street v. Wall Street” strident rhetoric looks rather odd and out of character. After all, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, emerged and got elected in the 1990s because he was a moderate, centrist Democrat. The only way to explain Hillary Clinton’s sudden discovery of her leftists soul is electoral tactics.

Indeed, the only real and potential challengers to Clinton getting the Democratic Party nomination are on her left. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, (the only self-described socialist in American national politics), and decidedly liberal former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley are declared candidates. Strident populist Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts may become a candidate, if she sees Clinton rejecting her leftist agenda.

Occupy space on the left

Given these potential problems, in order to secure her nomination without any unexpected fights that may tarnish her aura of invincibility, Clinton may have decided that the best approach is to occupy the political space on her left by embracing leftist positions now. This may be a clever way to sail to the nomination virtually unopposed.

But how will this play out in the general election? Is the country ready to move further to the left, after 8 years of a fairly liberal and not particularly successful Barack Obama presidency?

A weak Republican nominee?

Of course, if the Republicans end up nominating another inconsequential light weight, (many of them running), then Clinton may very well win the November 2016 general election by default. For mysterious reasons, notwithstanding meagre accomplishments, Hillary Clinton has built the image of the competent, serious professional who really knows how to handle government.

Hard for young first term Republican Senators like Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz to be elected President of the United States on the basis of a few speeches and a very thin resume.

And then there is a broader Republican political weakness. It may be objectively difficult for any Republican nominee to broaden his conservative appeal beyond the mostly White, mostly male, middle class.

A GOP message of hope, opportunity and inclusion

And if that is so, then the national political math does not favor Republicans. In order to win the White House, they need the support of at least some women, young people and minorities. And  obtaining that support would require a vibrant and convincing message of hope, inclusiveness and renewed opportunity.

The Republicans need this fresh message and a credible messenger to deliver it. “The free market system is good for everybody, not just for Wall Street financiers”. But the Republicans may not be able to credibly formulate this message and/or nominate a believable messenger.

In this case, the carefully engineered and ultra scripted Clinton campaign will sail to victory.

Hillary Clinton will win by default, no matter what she says now in order to prevent a leftist insurrection that may cause her trouble between now and the Democratic Party nomination.

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