by John Lawrence
Bernie Made Tangible Statements That Were Easily Comprehended
Bernie, like Trump, tended to make absolute statements without regard to whether or not they could ever be implemented under current political conditions. He said "Make college free at public colleges and universities." Period. Hillary would qualify and nuance her statements about free tuition like "make it affordable" or "make it free for every family making less than X amount of dollars." Trump just made absolute statements whether or not they could be supported by the reality of political conditions or even the laws of physics. Bernie tended to do this too. With a Republican Congress there was no way Bernie would ever have been able to implement free college tuition. The lesson is Make Bold Statements; leave the fine print till later.
Bernie Gave Them Meat and Potatoes; Hillary Wanted Them to Eat Their Broccoli
Bernie was adamantly anti-Wall Street. Hillary wanted to preserve the status quo, and that meant keeping Wall Street in charge of the world's financial system. Bernie said "Tax the rich." Very simple, forthright and straightforward statement. Hillary could not bring herself to make such a statement. She had to put limits on it while all the time Trump was making absolute statements whether or not he could ever deliver the goods. He didn't care. He was all about getting himself elected and knew he couldn't be held responsible for anything he said in a court of law. He also knew that with a Republican Congress he had a far greater chance of getting his campaign promises implemented than Hillary would have had despite the fact that he pissed off a lot of Republicans. They would come around when they realized that the Big Enchilada - US tax policy - was the same for them and Trump which was and is to give huge tax breaks to the wealthy and a mess of pottage to everyone else. Red blooded Americans would be grateful to get a few crumbs from the table, and Republicans would sell it to them with all their considerable skill. They've been doing it for years.
Bernie and Trump Railed Against Free Trade; Hillary Was For It
Hillary wanted to "modify" US trade policy. Again too nuanced. She should have demonized US trade policy as Trump and Bernie did. But wait - wasn't free trade the policy her husband implemented by signing off on NAFTA? You bet. Hillary wanted to "improve" things not do away with her husband's legacy completely nor did she want to do away with Obama's policies either. She was for TTP before she was against it. Not too convincing. She was too much of a pragmatist. The time for being pragmatic is after you've won the election, not before.
Hillary Was Too Tied to the Meritocracy
She believed all those smart guys like Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Diamond were keeping the world economy functioning from their catbird seats on Wall Street. She just wanted them to keep on doing what they were doing while cleaning up their act around the edges. Besides wasn't that so nice of them to give her very generous amounts of money to do a 15 minute speech?
Bernie wanted to break up the big banks and put bankers in jail for their crimes. Trump said almost nothing about the fraudulent activities of the big banks. The only person he wanted to put in jail was Hillary. Those fires had already been stoked for him by hate talk radio for the eight years of the Obama administration. He just fanned the flames for a ready made audience. The chieftains of Wall Street were meritocrats just like Hillary. They were smart people. Remember it was Bill Clinton who signed the laws deregulating Wall Street leading directly to the 2008 financial crisis. Ohmagod, I guess Hillary was tied too directly to him!
Bernie Wanted Medicare for All; Hillary Wanted to Marginally Improve Obamacare
Too bad she retained too much loyalty to the Obama administration having been a major part of it. Obamacare had been railed against by hate talk radio for eight years. It had been eviscerated and compromised from its very outset by pharmaceutical corporation lobbyists who won the right to raise prices at will.
Obama thought he had to compromise in order to get anything passed. He gave up the public option in order to get Republicans on board. He gave in to Republicans and gave up some of the best features of what might have been a pretty good system. Instead it was fatally flawed from the very beginning, and Republicans relentlessly attacked it from Day 1.
Bernie Voted Against the Iraq War; Hillary Voted For It
Hillary has been a hawk on foreign policy perhaps because she wants to prove that, even though she's a woman, she's as tough as a man in that regard. Her record on Libya, despite Benghazi, is not good either. It was the wrong thing to do to take out Gaddafi as subsequent events have shown. Bernie is dedicated to not fighting wars which have nothing to do with our vital interests. Obama and Hillary should never have gotten involved in either Syria or Libya. Obama was on the right track when he ended the Iraq war or so he thought. Subsequent events have shown that trying to end a war in that part of the world is next to impossible. That's why we should never have taken out Saddam Hussein or started the Iraq war, but that was George W Bush's fault. He opened a can of worms and lied us into that war because he wanted to be a war time President. Obama did his best to end it, but the best laid plans of mice and men don't always work out.
Hillary Should Have Trumped Trump on Infrastructure
Now Trump wants to spend a lot of money on infrastructure, something the Democrats have wanted for years. The Republican Congress wouldn't let them. Now, ironically, Trump has a good chance to get 'er done since he has both Houses of Congress with him. However, he will do it the Republican way - make it profitable for investors including selling off infrastructure to private interests. Privatizing the interstates, for example, and turning them into toll roads.
It would have been almost impossible for Hillary, but that shouldn't have stopped her from making the unqualified statement, "I will spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure and thus create jobs." Instead she let Trump trump her ace. Bernie was more convincing because he played Trump's game and made unqualified and unnuanced statements about what he would do without regard to the chances related to dealing with a Republican Congress who probably would have filibustered every initiative Bernie made had he become President.
On Immigration Trump Had a Simple, Easily Comprehensable Policy; Hillary Didn't
"Build a Wall." No matter how complex or ill advised was the real world feasibility of this project, Trump didn't let that stop him. Hillary and the Democrats had a more nuanced policy, more if's as's and wherefore's. This hurt them. Too lawyerly. Hillary should have made it clear that she would not tolerate illegal immigration and stopped at that. Again what they did after the election might have been completely different. There wouldn't have been any legal repercussions for that. The Dems could have taken this issue away from Trump or at least nullified it in the minds of the voters, but it was a lost opportunity because of the complexity of the issue and the Dems wanting to do the right thing instead of the thing that would have gotten them elected. They need to be more Machiavellian and not quite so honest. They need to appeal to the mainstream more.
Yes, there is such a thing, but prominent Democrats would not even say the words although challenged to do so many times. You got the feeling that Hillary and President Obama were more concerned with not hurting Muslims' feelings than assuaging most Americans' fears. Donald Trump had a very simple, albeit oversimplified, and comprehensable approach to this issue. Hillary did not. Again more nuanced, more bending over backwards to be inclusive.
The Dems could not even condemn Wahhabism, that branch of Islam that teaches that it's OK to kill Christians and Jews which originates in Saudi Arabia, the US' chief ally in the Middle East. That hypocrisy is at the heart of the American disingenuous policy toward the Muslim world. Fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were Saudi citizens. The Democrats also failed to condemn Sharia law which represents a total violation of human rights including the rights of women.