SYNDICATED COLUMN: Hillary’s Strategy: Snub Liberal Democrats, Move Right to Nab Anti-Trump Republicans

Hillary Clinton’s strategy for the general election is to try to peal away anti-Trump Republicans. That’s why we are seeing her move to the right.

Sorry, Bernie Sanders supporters. She’s just not that into you.

To those of us who have been paying attention, Clinton’s post-primary migration toward conservatism comes as no surprise. There’s a reason her campaign appealed to progressives primarily by referencing her work for the Children’s Defense Fund in the 1970s, when David Bowie was an up-and-coming glam rocker. Team Clinton had to go that far back to find evidence of her supposed liberalism.

Nevertheless, many lefties drawn to the Sanders campaign have been struggling to convince themselves that voting for the She-Wolf of Goldman Sachs is acceptable because (a) Trump and (b) somewhere down deep under Hillary’s Dr. Evil outfits there’s an adorable Bernadette waiting to get out and do some good for the world.

Now we have three crucial pieces of evidence that proves that that’s wishful thinking.

First came the revelation that her hawkish approach to foreign-policy sprang not out of the vacuum but from her hobnobbing with a bunch of disreputable neoconservatives who belong in prison rather than advising a possible future president: war criminal Henry “Secret Bombing of Cambodia” Kissinger, Iraq War schemer Robert “Project for a New American Century” Kagan, Bush deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage and Max Boot, renowned as the unstupid neocon.

The second tell was her back-and-forth flip-flopping over the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership or “free trade” agreement designed to destroy whatever is left of America’s manufacturing industry. As Secretary of State, she was for it. Under pressure from Bernie, she came out against it. Now her minions on the Democratic platform committee have arranged to omit her supposed opposition to TPP from the platform — and her pick for vice president, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, is a virulent supporter of outsourcing American jobs. She’ll sign the TPP.

Kaine, a conservative “Third Way” Democrat in the, well, Clinton mold, is the third giveaway. “If Clinton has reached out to Bernie supporters, it appears that she has done so to stick triangulating thumbs in their eyes,” commented progressive icon Normon Solomon.

If your Democratic Party is the party of FDR and JFK, Clinton’s predictable return to her right-wing roots is a betrayal of core values. Working people need one of America’s two major political parties to care about them.

But even if all you care about is winning, and defeating Donald Trump is Job One because you’re that kind of pragmatist, this rehashed Dick Morrisism of the 1990s looks like political suicide. It comes down to a simple question: where is there more potential for Hillary Clinton to expand her voting base? Among progressives who supported Bernie Sanders? Or among anti-Trump Republicans?

My instincts say – scream! – the former. As the cliché goes, Democrats fall in love and Republicans fall in line. As we saw last week in Cleveland, Republicans (Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio) who swore swore swore that they would never support Donald Trump wound up doing exactly that. Republicans are wired for obedience, conformity, rah rah rah.

Not to mention, for mysterious reasons entirely outside the historical record, they’re convinced that Hillary Clinton is a radical socialist communist feminist and they hate her for it. (If only.)

Like Fox Mulder in the X-Files, Bernie’s people want to believe. Most are scared of Trump, but they need some concessions before saying #ImWithHer: a promise to back a federal $15 an hour minimum wage, a public option in the Affordable Care Act, free public college tuition, fewer wars.

Let’s do a little back-of-the-envelope arithmetic.

The latest national polls show Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump neck and neck. According to the survey that is most favorable to her, 85% of Sanders supporters plan to vote for her, 9% for Trump. But those votes for Hillary are extremely unenthusiastic ones. Soft. Squishy. On Election Day, many of those people will end up staying home or supporting Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Not counting caucus states, over 13.1 million people voted for Sanders. Conservatively, 15% of these Berners – just shy of 2 million voters – currently say that they won’t vote for Clinton. Extrapolate those results to the approximately 66 million Democrats who turned out in the 2012 general election, and you get 10 million.

Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney by fewer than 5 million votes.

Bear in mind: I’m calculating this using the most favorable scenario for Hillary. Odds are, it will be worse.

Based on her move-to-the-right strategy, Clinton’s advisers believe they can get more than 10 million Republicans to move to her from Donald Trump — in other words, nearly 20% of the Republican general election turnout in 2012.

An obscure April poll found 19% of Republicans voting for Hillary, were Trump to win the nomination, but I don’t buy it. The Republican Party is a mess to be sure. But it isn’t that fractured. Republicans aren’t so opposed to Trump that they’re open to Hillary Clinton. I think anti-Trump Republicans are more likely to move over to Gary Johnson, the Libertarian.

Are Clinton’s advisers stupid? Or is she so completely enthralled to her corporate donors that she can’t be anything other than a Wall Street stooge? Only those inside the campaign know.
(Ted Rall is the author of “Bernie,” a biography written with the cooperation of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. His next book, the graphic biography “Trump,” comes out this Tuesday, July 26th and is now available for pre-order.)

8 thoughts on “SYNDICATED COLUMN: Hillary’s Strategy: Snub Liberal Democrats, Move Right to Nab Anti-Trump Republicans

  1. “Are Clinton’s advisers stupid? Or is she so completely enthralled to her corporate donors that she can’t be anything other than a Wall Street stooge?”


  2. And let’s not forget this.

    Here’s the lede (buried at the end):
    Similarly, Hillary Clinton thanks her “longtime friend,” and revealed Wasserman Schultz would transition to playing a role in the Clinton campaign. “There’s simply no one better at taking the fight to the Republicans than Debbie–which is why I am glad that she has agreed to serve as honorary chair of my campaign’s 50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country, and will continue to serve as a surrogate for my campaign nationally, in Florida, and in other key states,” said Clinton. “I look forward to campaigning with Debbie in Florida and helping her in her re-election bid–because as President, I will need fighters like Debbie in Congress who are ready on day one to get to work for the American people.

    Got it? Debbie breaks the rules and is IMMEDIATELY handed a position by HRC. Clinton might as well simply directly tell all of Sanders’ supporters to just stay home or vote for Trump.

  3. Hillary’s hypocritical move back to the far right, after pretending to be progressive while battling Bernie, pretty much shows that she doesn’t have the good sense that God gave a wood tick. Repeatedly snatching defeat from the jaws a victory, she demonstrates an inability to sense the mood of her electorate — an indication she lacks the good judgement we need in a President. Should Herr (Seig Heil) Drumpf win the election, he owes a giant “Thank You” to Hillary … engraved at the base of a “Jaws” statuette …

  4. Krugman’s Friday column didn’t say, ‘Chamberlain at Munich,’ but it should have. As Krugman points out, our great Secretary Clinton strongly supported Bush, jr and pushed Obama, and the US transformed the impoverished dictatorships Iraq and Libya into peaceful, prosperous democracies, where all the people are much better off and are all eternally grateful to the US and to Secretary Clinton, and the psycho Trump was completely wrong to say that this great, heroic work was a mistake. How could he? Of course, most Iraqis and Libyans might not agree with the US columnists, but whom should one believe? An honest American with a Harvard degree, or some ignorant Arab savage? After all, Scandinavians pay hundreds of Euros for an hour in a spa, and now that the curse of cheap, reliable electricity has been eliminated, Iraqi and Libyan houses are 160 degree spas 24/7. That’s at least $2,400 a day for a free spa for every Iraqi family!

    Trump says he’ll work with the evil dictators Assad and Putin against the Daesh, ignoring the fact that Assad and Putin created the Daesh by releasing the jihadists from Camp Bucca (‘Camp Bucca’ is Arabic for ‘Syrian government prison’ and Russian for ‘Russian jihadist brigade’).

    Our great Secretary Clinton has promised to liberate Syria and Russia from those evil dictators, which is desperately needed. Getting rid of Assad and Putin will rid the world of the Daesh. After all, there is no Daesh in Iraq or Libya now, thanks to the great work of Secretary Clinton. And she will finish the job in just months after taking office, at minimal cost in dollars and US lives.

    Trump, as anyone can see, would cause someone to launch a nuclear holocaust against the US that would totally destroy the US. President Clinton will ensure that every US citizen who obeys the law is safe and secure.

    Trump is terrible. Fortunately, almost all African-Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, and most white women will vote against him and elect President Clinton, after which I’m absolutely certain the world will be very, very peaceful.

  5. I actually fear Hillary more than Trump. HRC reminds me of those sanctimonious types who always think they are a moral compass and virtuous and all that. You know, the kind that’ll pray for your soul as they hold you down so the nails can be put through your wrists.

    Trump’s just a loudmouth. Once he’s in place, he’ll be in over his friggin’ head so fast he’ll have to quit, his ego won’t let him do anything else.

    Seriously. Take a look at HRC one day. She’s got that same “something clawing around behind the eyes trying to get out” look that Sarah Palin does. HRC has more control over it, but it’s there.

  6. I won’t vote for Killary. I might have voted for Elizabeth Warren and grudgingly accepted her choice of running mate, but that’s off the table.

    I’d like to reach out to all true liberals to vote for Hair Furor mit dem kleinen Schwanzstucker; if the country didn’t learn its lesson under Nixon, Reagan, Bush, and Bush, then it obviously needs another object lesson.

    What’s the worst he can do? Trash the economy? Bring us closer to WWIII? Encourage terrorists? Increase the gap between the poor and the reich? [sic]

    • My son was thinking of this. He canvassed for Bernie, really got into it. He had the same thought you have, let them REALLY learn their lesson. He’s decided he can’t do it, and he’s voting for Stein. But he thought seriously about it.

      On another note, I would say the party of FDR and LBJ, JFK was no real liberal.

      • Exactly. JFK was a good man. As opposed to big-government, war-mongering socialists FDR and LBJ.

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