Common Sense Political Economics

"If you laid all of the (PhD) economists end to end, to tell you which way to go, they would look like the spokes of a wheel."

Harry Truman

Monthly Archives: March 2016

Hi folks,

I just got back from a 3 month vacation in Mexico. I do that every winter and although I could have written some posts from there, I decided once there, to have a real vacation and do nothing except watch the palm trees grow.

For my first post of this season, I would like for you to read an email sent to me by a good friend, Mr. Phil Young, a retired banker living in the S.F. bay area. I thought it was well said and would be of interest to all.

Is Hillary really the strongest candidate to oppose Trump in the general election?

“Conventional thinking” by the political establishment & punditry has persistently underestimated

the potential for Trump to become the GOP nominee. Is it possible that similar “group think” could be

underestimating his potential to win the presidency and overestimating HRC (Hillary Rodham

Clinton) as the best candidate to defeat him in the general election?

Now let’s for a moment consider the following 2 possible general elections scenarios: 1: Trump vs. Clinton. or

2: Trump vs. Sanders. Recent polls show HRC leading Trump by a mere 2.8%, a statistical tie

within the margin of error and actually losing to Cruz or Rubio. On the flip side,

the same polls show Bernie beating Trump by a more significant 6% points.

There are a number of factors that could weaken HRC in a contest with Trump.

Hillary’s vulnerabilities include her higher unfavorable ratings, meaning that

her upside is limited compared to Bernie who has higher

favorables & lower unfavorables. HRC is dragging a lot of baggage including the following:

1. Her close ties to Wall St. highlighted by her $650,000+ Goldman Sachs fees.

Requests for her speech transcripts will not go away.

2. Her on-going classified vs. unclassified email server controversy will be a favorite GOP target.

3. Her reliance on Super Pac funding compared to Bernie & Trump who accepts

no money from SuperPacs.

4. The Clinton (Bill & Hillary) affinity for now out of favor trade pacts (NAFTA, CAFTA, TPP, etc.,

a potential vulnerability with working class voters.

5. Hillary made the huge miscalculation of voting for the Iraq, the worst foreign policy error

in decades that has led to the current ISIS mess.

6. She has wrapped herself so closely to Obama’s policy that it could be a challenge for her

to differentiate herself from him in the general election.

7. HRC has an on-going trust issue with many voters who find her untrustworthy in polls,

unlike Sanders who scores high on “authenticity”

8. The Clinton legacy is a metaphor for establishment politics and the past ….not progressive change.

2016 is shaping up as a general election campaign about real  “CHANGE” vs. the “Status Quo”.

Trump is running a xenophobic populist campaign vs. the status quo.

HRC could be the perfect Trump target.

He already eviscerated the Bush family legacy and will have a field day doing the same to the

Clintons. Trump will attack her on the Iraq war vote blunder.

He will attack her on the international trade pact issues. He will attack her

for being in bed with Wall St. & Goldman Sachs. He will attack her about her SuperPac &

being beholden to lobbyist money. In an election about “Change” vs the “Status Quo”,

it will be easy for Trump to label her the epitome of an “Establishment” candidate.

In the initial 3 Democratic campaign states, HRC significantly underperformed expectations vs. the

inspirational, progressive Sanders drawing more votes than any candidate in the the history

of NH primary by winning in every category of voters, male or female, under age 65.

The Clinton rationalization is that he came from a neighboring state does not jive with the fact

that popular VT Gov. Dean drew only (59.649) or 20.6% of the NH and lost to Kerry in NH,

the primary where HRC beat Obama in 2008. The stronger appeal

of Bernie in NH could be explained by the current hunger among voters under 45 for an

“outside the box” populist candidate in a state that allows Independent & Republicans

to vote in the Democratic primary.

Ironically, the consummate insider, Sen. Harry Reid, is being given a large share of the credit

for putting his “thumb on the scales” to ensure Hillary’s narrow victory over Sanders

in the messy NV caucus.

Reid’s NV political machine is reported to have pulled out the casino & culinary voters

as a “firewall” against a Sanders populist upset. Nevertheless, Bernie did well with Latinos

and the younger voters 45 and under. HRC drew heavily from the African American &

older voters as she will in the South.

In a general election, Sanders could attract the minority voters and a broad cross section of

white working class voters who sometimes support the GOP. Bernie draws huge crowds

of young people & new voters that Democrats will need to win in the general election.

Sanders could attack Trump from a position of strength

since he opposed the Iraq War, trade deals, Citizens United, the Wall St./ Goldman Sachs

connections, etc.

Hillary’s message is not inspiring much enthusiasm, nor drawing new voters nor is it appealing to

independents. In the general election, many of the new young Sanders supporters will be

unlikely to come out for HRC.



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