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What's the Rush?

Jeff Hall

Posted on March 17, 2016 16:09

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I'm not sure why Obama feels a need to rally around Hillary just yet.

I think Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump represent both sides of the same "anger" coin. 

Their approaches are very different -- Trump is a divider, Bernie wants to unite -- but they share much in common, actually.

Bernie is clearly not a big fan of Wall Street. Interestingly, Trump isn't, either. Trump says he doesn't invest in stocks and thinks Wall Streeters should pay more in taxes.

Trump and Bernie claim to be their own persons. Trump is largely self-funding his campaign; Bernie is relying on smaller donors.

Neither is so keen on foreign military conflicts or nation-building.  Bernie voted against the war in Iraq; Trump recently claimed George W. Bush lied his way into the war (which Hillary voted for in 2002). 

Both agree trade deals have been a disaster for the middle class and manufacturing in particular.  Trump says "we don't win anymore" and that we need to negotiate better; Bernie says the economy is rigged in favor of the billionaires. 

But they both identify the same problem -- trade deals -- as being a major cause of distress. Too many people have been out of work or stuck in crummy jobs for far too long.  Meanwhile, the rich keep getting richer.  Of course people are angry. 

If, as a country, we are now ready to turn away from free trade, that puts Hillary in a weakened position vis-a-vis Trump. Bernie can go toe-to-toe with Trump on free trade; Hillary, whose husband pushed NAFTA through, will have a little more fancy dancing to do. 

One thing people like about Bernie is that, after all these years, he hasn't sold out.  It's hard to say the same thing about Hillary.  Bernie projects a lot of clarity and consistency.  She often seems confused about where she actually stands on the issues.

I actually think Bernie would be quite ferocious and fearless going up against Trump.  Bernie has thought through his positions on the issues; Trump is all over the place. 

The biggest mistake Democrats could make would be to underestimate Trump. Trump clearly has tapped into something powerful and his style, which is abhorrent to many, works exceedingly well with others. All this "Trump can't possibly win" talk reminds me of when people used to say Ronald Reagan could never win because he was "just an actor." 

Bernie, like Obama before him, has forced many to think. Democrats are being forced to ask what they really stand for. I think the longer Bernie stays in the race, the better it will be for the country, the Democratic Party -- and Hillary Clinton, even.

In 2008, the establishment talked about the need to rally around Hillary -- but, because the race dragged on, Obama was able to survive and eventually prevail. Had the establishment gotten its way in 2008, we never would have had Obama. 

Plus, if there are any e-mail or other bombshells coming our way, it would be wise to have Bernie all teed up, ready to go. I think Obama should remain neutral for now.  What's the rush?

 

 

Jeff Hall

Posted on March 17, 2016 16:09

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Source: Reuters
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama did not specify a candidate preference in the race for the Democratic presidential...

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