Democrats and Progressives need to accept the likelihood that their nominee will be facing Trump in November. And they need to seriously consider what that actually means. [Edited. Cringe-inducing cut-and-paste typo corrected**.]
— Clinton [at a CNN-sponsored town hall last night in South Carolina] promised to go hard after Wall Street. The former Secretary of State faced criticism in a different department: her failure to release transcripts of paid speeches given to Goldman Sachs. “Sure, I’ll do it if everybody else does,” the former Secretary demurred, circling back to a familiar refrain after being pressed by moderator Chris Cuomo. “But this is about whether I have the best plan to go after Wall Street,” she said. “Why is there one standard for me and not for everybody else?” [All boldface in original.]
— James Hohmann, the Washington Post’s PowerPost blog, today
Okay, you probably have figured out the answer to Clinton’s question all by yourselves: She, unlike, say, Marco Rubio, who wants Dodd-Frank repealed and replaced with no financial-industry regulation at all, and who wants also to eliminate the capital gains tax—completely eliminate it—is a Democrat who has proposed a detailed plan to regulate some aspects of the financial services industry but believes that nothing beyond the provisions in Dodd-Frank is necessary regarding actual banks.
The only two other presidential candidates who will propose or may propose further regulations on the actual banking industry, or at least the six largest ones, are, respectively, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Neither has ever been paid to give speeches to financial-industry players who invite top executives of corporate or organization clients to attend the speeches and then mingle with the speaker.
Which brings me to this: Last night I posted this initially short post titled “Paul Krugman Hits It Home”. The home run was the final paragraph of blog post by Krugman yesterday, which I quoted in full as the opening to the post. That paragraph says:
And let me say that the great thing about a progressive agenda is that it doesn’t require big growth promises to make it work, because the elements of that agenda are good things in their own right. Conservatives need to promise miracles to justify policies whose direct effect is to comfort the comfortable (cutting taxes on the rich) and afflict the afflicted (slashing social insurance); progressives only need to defend themselves against the charge that doing good will somehow kill economic growth. It won’t, and that should be enough.
I added only two lines, totaling nine words.
Several comments to the post indicated that some readers misinterpreted it as supporting Krugman in the ugly controversy that has pitted him and some other high-profile economists against University of Massachusetts economist Gerald Friedman, high-profile economist James Galbraith, and some other economists. In a comment of my own, I disabused them of this. Then I updated my post to add that comment of mine and elaborate on it, and wrote, “This is it for me on this topic. I’m done with it.”*
But I wasn’t quite. I updated my post again, with this:
Ooops. I do want to add one thing, while I have your attention (and—who knows?—maybe even Krugman’s): Krugman’s sometimes virulent anti-Sanders writings clearly are triggered by his palpable fear of electoral disaster in November if Sanders is the Dem nominee. But as I pointed out here and here—and as William D. Cohan made clear in an article on Politico Magazine late last week and as Luke Brinker of Mic illustrated on Monday (my two posts link respectively to these articles)—it is Clinton, not Sanders, who may very well be the weaker candidate against the likely Republican nominee: Donald Trump.**
I absolutely think that Democrats really need to start accepting that the Republican nominee likely will be Trump, not Rubio (who is an awful hybrid of Grover Norquist and Rick Santorum: “All the answers are in the Bible”, presumably including the answer to the question of whether we should end the capital gains tax and the estate tax).
Rubio, or for that matter Cruz, could be beaten by a monkey. Trump, not so much.
The Hohmann quote I opened with actually comes fairly far down in the blog.* The title of the post is “The Daily 202: Trump’s romp in Nevada shows why conventional wisdom about his ceiling may be wrong”. The part about Trump is very long, and begins:
THE BIG IDEA:
— The returns from last night’s Nevada caucuses cast doubt on three assumptions that are widely held and often repeated by Republican elites in Washington, who are perhaps too eager to assure one another that Donald Trump still cannot actually win the nomination. [Boldface his.]
I certainly share Krugman’s and so many other Dems’ and progressives’ abiding terror that the Republican nominee could actually win the general election. But I think Democrats who think Trump won’t be the nominee are as delusional as Republicans who think that. And I think Democrats and progressives who think Clinton would easily beat Trump need to start looking hard at what it is in addition to his xenophobia that is attracting so many people in so many different demographics. And what that means vis-à-vis Clinton. And what it would mean for a Sanders general election campaign.
These strike me as mirror opposites.
UPDATE: This from Greg Sargent this morning:
On ABC News this morning, Rubio was asked whether he will now go harder at Trump. Rubio’s answer:
“I know there’s this craving in the media for people to attack each other….I’ve pointed out the things that Donald is for that I don’t agree with. But we’ll have a debate tomorrow night, and if there are policy differences, we’re gonna talk about those. If he says something I don’t agree with — like he did in the last debate, about George Bush being responsible for 9/11 — I’m gonna correct him on it.”
Yep. As I said, a monkey could beat Rubio in the general election. So maybe the Republicans should urge a monkey to run as a third-party candidate. Someone who works for the Koch brothers’ super PAC, maybe?
Sargent follows that with his own comment:
Friendly reminder: After Rubio “corrected” Trump’s views about George W. Bush and 9/11 during the last debate, Trump went on to beat Rubio in Bush-friendly South Carolina by 10 points.
Another friendly reminder: Jeb! got—what was it?—seven percent of the vote in South Carolina?
You do that, Sen. Rubio. You just keep correcting Trump on that.
*Paragraph and sentence edited because they really needed it. 2/24 at 8:09 pm.
**Post edited further because it really needed it. (e.g., that sentence originally said “… it is Sanders, not Clinton, who may very well be the weaker candidate against the likely Republican nominee: Donald Trump.”) Ooops. The post was drafted in a hurry, cuz I didn’t have much time yesterday. 2/25 at 5:12 p.m.