Populist or Crony?

This past Sunday, Hillary Clinton officially launched her presidential campaign with a video claiming that she wants to be America’s “champion.” She has spent the week since then in Iowa, where she has been talking to liberal and Democratic groups. She has been making headlines with her so-called “populist” positions and policy statements – this is an aspect of Hillary Clinton that we have not seen before, but she seems to be staking out a firm position as an opponent of Wall Street.

At a roundtable which took place at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Clinton was quoted as saying, “I think it’s fair to say that if you look across the country, the deck is stacked in favor of those already at the top. There’s something wrong when CEOs make 300 times more than the American worker. There’s something wrong when American workers keep getting more productive, but that productivity is not matched in their paychecks. There’s something wrong when hedge fund managers pay less in taxes than nurses or the truckers I saw on I-80.” These are certainly statements that I, and most Americans, would agree with.

She has also declared that one of her top four priorities for her presidency would be to “fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all – even if that means a constitutional amendment.” This seems like a noble goal, and one nearly all Americans would support. But does she really mean what she’s saying, or is this just all politics? After all, as Republican spokesman Michael Short pointed out, “It’s pretty rich for Hillary Clinton to lament big money in politics at the same time her campaign chairman and SuperPAC allies are busy courting secretive liberal billionaires in San Francisco.”

Hillary Clinton has never been a populist. She is a wealthy former attorney with friends in high places who has received plenty of support from the wealthiest Americans, as well as from wealthy donors in other countries. In fact, perhaps the surest sign that all of this talk about wealth inequality is a façade is that Wall Street isn’t buying it. In an editorial published on Thursday of this week called 4 reasons Wall Street should back Hillary Clinton, Fortune magazine declared that, “Bankers may prefer a Republican in the White House, but Clinton would be the best choice to protect America’s economic interests.”

Fortune goes on to list the reasons that Clinton is Wall Street’s best bet from the possible Republican and Democratic nominees, focusing on her foreign policy experience (and therefore ability to form trade deals with India and China) and her “business-friendly” credentials. Fortune states that “the Clintons are well known for being pro-business and Hillary Clinton would likely work with businesses to find solutions to this complex problem instead of against it.” Interestingly, they also point out that “Republicans are getting kind of populist” and are therefore not as reliable a friend of Wall Street as Clinton would be.

While it is very interesting that Clinton is taking this pro-America, anti-Wall Street stance on her campaign, it is telling that Wall Street is treating her speeches as mere political posturing. Hillary Clinton is no more a populist champion than any of the other Wall Street cronies who have occupied the White House in the past few decades. If we want a president who will actually stand up for American interests against the thieving elites of Wall Street, we will need to look elsewhere. That’s why I’ve thrown my hat in the ring. If you would like a White House that stands up for American values and for creating a strong and prosperous nation, I urge you to reject the Demo-Republican puppets that Wall Street is offering us. In 2016, cast your write-in vote for Art Drew for President of the United States.