Now that Clinton is officially in the race, progressives need to steer her further to the left

If you’re a progressive like myself, you probably weren’t that moved yesterday when Hillary Clinton announced her second run for president. She’s a good politician from a well-known family, and she has a better chance than most of defeating any Republican opponent. But let’s be honest, she isn’t the first name that comes to mind when you think of a progressive candidate.

From what I can tell so far, Hillary Clinton is planning to run the same type of campaign as Obama did in 2012. She will frame the choice for voters as between Democrats who will focus on the middle class and Republicans who will continue to protect the wealthy. Why not, it’s a proven winning formula.

However, there are significant matters left over from Obama’s presidency that will require her full attention. Issues she may not bring up during her campaign unless she’s forced to by another democratic rival. These are issues that establishment politicians have a hard time taking a stand on because of a slight political risk.

Hillary has a lot of supporters, but if she wants to go all the way this time, she’ll need to listen to progressives as much as Republicans cater to the Tea Party. Let’s face it, a Clinton without a progressive agenda is just another Republican. If she want’s people like us to vote for her, or vote at all, she’ll have to earn it.

Scale Back America’s Role in the Middle East

We all know by now that during her stint as a senator, Hillary Clinton voted in favor of going to war with Iraq. A major foreign policy blunder. The bad news is she can’t really take it back and unfortunately for her, liberals have pretty good memories.

What Hillary needs to do is repair the damage by promising to bring the troops home. She needs to realize and convince the American public that we’re outsiders fighting in the middle of a brutal Islamic civil war.

It is not always in America’s interest to keep taking sides. When you need to choose between the two ultra conservative Islamic theocracies of Iran and Saudi Arabia, the United States only loses by getting involved.

Getting Money out of Politics

This one should be a no brainer for any candidate. 61% of Americans want to see money out of politics. Still, time will tell if Hillary or anyone else bothers to bring up this most important of issues. Campaign finance reform is not talked about nearly enough.

Clinton may bring it up in her campaign if, and only if, her opponent is a staunch foe of new campaign finance regulations, like Mitch McConnell. I fear this is one subject that all parties will remain silent about throughout.

Hillary ClintonRegulating Wall Street

This one is the big question. On one hand, we all know how close Hillary was to her donors on Wall Street. She is also married to the man largely responsible for deregulating the banks in the first place. On the other hand, Hillary and Democrats have another winning issue.

Regulating financial services and products is seen as either “important” or “very important” by more than 90 percent of American voters. Tighter financial regulations are not only needed, they are very popular.

If Clinton wins the Democratic Primary, it is possible she’ll promote this issue on the presidential campaign trail, particularly if she finds herself falling behind in the polls. It is a winning strategy after all. Whether or not she actually does something about it if she were to win the White House is another story.

Universal Health Care

HA! This most important of progressive policies won’t be mentioned once. Quite frankly it will be curious to see at what length Hillary Clinton will go to defend the ACA. And therein lies the problem. She’ll be spending so much time defending Obama’s signature healthcare bill that little time will be reserved for discussing how to improve it.

Tougher Gun Laws

Before day one, the NRA was already pumping out the fear. According to Wayne LaPierre, “Hillary Rodham Clinton will bring a permanent darkness of deceit and despair.” I guess that’s a subtle way of saying she’s coming for everyone’s guns. If only that were true.

The fact is, this is another winning issue that Democrats refuse to campaign on. Hillary won’t be any different. It doesn’t matter that 89% of American support universal background checks, 69 percent support banning the sale of semiautomatic assault weapons; 68 percent support banning the sale of large-capacity ammunition magazines. In Hillary’s mind, the subject will still be too hot to handle.

It is important that progressives (better still, progressive candidates) challenge her and get her to talk about these issues, among others. Not just so she clarifies her position on them, but so we can hold her responsible should she follow in her husband’s footsteps down 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.


  1. There are a lot of voters who don’t want to see a Bush/Clinton dynasty situation again, and that’s understandable. However, unlike the Bush clan, nobody can claim either Bill or Hillary are stupid as a compost heap, especially with George W. as an intellectual comparison.
    I am very angry about President Obama’s basic deserting of the labor force and its unions, and want Hillary or whomever to get very aggressive about supporting organized labor, which will do more to save the middle class than anything else. The right has almost completely dismantled union workers and we cannot allow that to happen. Kiss your retirement benefits goodbye, work until you die for pissant wages, have no job security and the ability to ever do anything pleasant like take trips or have a recent model car if you help people like Scott Walker and his owners the Koch brothers have their way.
    Plus, Hillary must end the Afghanistan war once and for all like it was promised by Obama. We must reduce our meddling in the Middle East because it’s an extremist hell hole that will never see a day’s peace, and to keep stirring up the pot only guarantees long protracted military action.
    She should also let the religious community know in no uncertain terms that she will not allow any efforts to dismantle the 1st Amendment. The Christian cult is getting increasingly loony and simply cannot keep itself out of everybody else’s business. Their hate for homosexuals and racism is appalling.
    Increase import tariffs and encourage more domestic manufacturing with organized labor. World trade is fine – the manufacturing world sending everything overseas and down to Mexico to slave labor sweatshops is not.
    Regulate Wall Street. Make banks start paying decent interest rates for savings accounts and CD’s, along with 401K’s. The lending rate versus the interest earned for the average Joe is criminal and completely destroys incentive to save money in the first place.
    Paint the GOP as the hate mongering lunatics they are. Pull no punches, and do not back down.

  2. I would like to hear just ONE candidate say he or she is going to work to raise tariffs on the flood of foreign goods into the USA. This tide has washed out millions of American manufacturing and service jobs. We should raise tariffs on these foreign products so that their cost would equal what it would cost to make those items here.

  3. These are very valid points and I would hope a discussion of climate change would also be in the forefront. We need to face the scientific realities brought to us by climate scientists and deal with these on a national level.

  4. Those are all good points. One has to remember, though, that as President one does not have the same ability to get a very agressive liberal agenda across as one might speaking from the chambers of Congress…afterall, the Pesident has to show fairness to serving ‘all’ the people. It’s Congress that votes on the policies. That means not beating up entirely on wall street or the wealthy. Capitalism is at our core of society, but indeed speaking toward greater equity as a means toward the greater end, is the philosophy she should take. That would mean that repeating the Republican’s theory of ‘Trickle down economics’ does not, and has not ever worked, and to elect another Republican would only take us back to a time when what we saw was one of the worst recessions of our time. That’s what she needs to run on….”Do you want to go forward; or backward to the Republican/Bush era?”. We can’t go back…we have to continue on a path to greater prosperity, and Republicans do not have any new answers…heck, she should remind them that they closed down the Government and cost the Am. tax payer a fortune; went to war with no revenue to pay for it, and then complained because of high deficit numbers. Then they had nothing productive to offer. Do we really want to return to the Republican way? Hell no!

  5. I too have my doubts as to how far to the left Hilliary will go. We need at least two other contenders that will push her so we can see what she really stands for or has a problem with.

  6. I agree with you on all these points. However I would have added… Income Inequality, Climate Change, Civil Rights, Racial and Cultural Intolerance, Infrastructure, Educational Standards and Student Loans, Privacy, and the Status and Operations of the NSA, Drones, Homeland Security and the Patriot Act.

    The problem is… Without Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders or even Al Franken running against her, Where is there a Progressive Challenger with enough gravitas to force Hillary into a solid and Real debate on these issues. Who will push her far enough left to energize the electorate enough that they get out and Vote!! Because without a Progressive Congress we will just have 8 more years of spinning wheels and kowtowing to the 1% owned TeaPublicans, as the last 6 have been.
    Also without a Democratic controlled Senate (60+ seats) we will not be in a position to reconfigure the Supreme Court!!! They only new justices Hillary will be in a position to promote will be pseudo-Moderates that have historically been proven to be untrustworthy and a major disappointment.

    We have been burnt already with Obama, who has been a major disappointment, and not the progressive catalyst he was touted as in 2008. Rather he was proven to be a naive over-compensating WIMP, that has been compromised by Wall Street and cowed by the NSA. Will Hillary be any different?

    The question needing an answer is >>> Is it better to allow the TeaPublicans to control the agenda and allow the country to continue on its path to destruction so we can then rebuilt it from it foundations… like Ripping the Plaster off in one quick, though painful action… OR… should we allow Hillary and other Pseudo-Liberal pals to continue the death by 1,000 small cuts, that Obama has supported until now! Which future will we have, and which will cause less damage and be quicker and easier to overcome???

  7. Although I wholeheartedly agree with all 5 points, think politically for a second. Mrs. Clinton will be excoriated no matter what she says/does/wears/associates with so expect THE MOST bland, milquetoast and (SHUDDER!) centrist campaign you have ever seen in your life. The only rallying cry will be the “Year of the Woman”, not principled policy issues. This is why I SO WANT a challenger for her in the primary. He or she would FORCE Hillary to tack left, which is where the country is anyway. (I’m so sick of the meme: “Center-right” crap Scarborough and similar fools spout!)

  8. You are absolutely right on both counts. It is the medicine the country needs, but these issues would be millstones in the election. Few voters want to swallow the “bitter pills”.

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