Senator Elizabeth Warren didn't cave to big bank threats to withhold campaign funds, will Presidential Candidate Clinton do the same?
Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren has developed a reputation for being a stand up woman who doesn’t back down from a fight, especially when it comes to standing up to the big bad banking bullies. This same reputation has helped her get elected to the United States Senate and it is why liberals have raised 300,000 signatures for a petition urging her to run for the White House in 2016.
Progressives have obviously taken notice of her take no prisoners attitude, even though Warren has said repeatedly she will not be running for president. Alas, the left wing aren’t the only people paying close attention to Warren.
Last week, the Big Wall Street banks including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America all discussed withholding campaign donations to Senate Democrats in a symbolic protest over Elizabeth Warren’s call to break them up. Since the 2008 financial crisis, Warren has been a strong advocate for breaking up the too big to fail banks, and her voice has gotten even stronger with time.
The amount of money at stake is a maximum of $15,000 per bank, a symbolic rather than material gesture. This money will not have a direct impact on Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton either since the bank’s fund-raising groups focus on congressional races rather than the presidential election.
Still, political strategists say Clinton could struggle to raise money among Wall Street financiers who worry that Democrats are becoming more hostile to Wall Street. The question is; will Clinton, who has historically been close to Wall Street and the big banks, be willing to go after them? From a progressive point of view, that is the essential question that needs answering this election cycle.
When Elizabeth Warren was asked about the threats coming from the banks, she simply said “It will not work.” Eliminating donations won’t end her demands.
“They want a showy way to tell Democrats across the country to be scared of speaking out, to be timid about standing up, and to stay away from fighting for what’s right,” Warren wrote in a statement to The Huffington Post “…I’m not going to stop talking about the unprecedented grasp that Citigroup has on our government’s economic policy making apparatus… And I’m not going to pretend the work of financial reform is done, when the so-called ‘too big to fail’ banks are even bigger now than they were in 2008.”
So far only Citigroup is publicly withholding money from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Warren has a long running feud going with Citigroup who has a history of writing bank friendly government legislation, including the Christmas Wall Street giveaway this past year.
It’s hard to say this early on whether Clinton will grab onto some of Warren’s economic populism. If she runs unopposed for the Democratic nomination, it’s possible the subject of Wall Street Reform will never come up during the entire election. I’m sure she’ll be well funded as a result.
Wall Street Reform will only become an issue in the federal election if Hillary Clinton makes it one. I believe that won’t happen unless she finds herself losing in the polls, and losing badly. Being pro-Wall Street Reform is a winning proposition in the United States these days, so long as you don’t need their money. And these days, getting elected is all about money.
All this leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Namely, where on Earth does Clinton stand on Wall Street? We may only find out if a Democrat runs against her in the primaries or after she’s elected to the White House.
Regardless of what happens, I’m glad Senator Warren will be around to keep the pressure on. Perhaps she’ll even rally future presidential candidates to her cause.