Speaking of Deplorables


The Hillary Clinton campaign, newly concerned about Donald Trump’s rebound in the polls, is trying once again to reach out to Millennials and others who were energized by Bernie Sanders, but who now say they won’t vote or else will vote for the Green or the Libertarian candidate.

A majority of voters who supported Sanders likely will vote for Clinton because they see her as a better choice than Trump.

But as for the holdouts—the ones who don’t like and/or trust Hillary and never will—good luck.

I spoke with one of those this morning about the election—my 20-year-old son. (He is either a Millennial or a member of “Generation Z,” depending on whose definition you use.)

He said he is not voting because, without Sanders in the race, there is no point. He admitted to not knowing much about Jill Stein (Green) or Gary Johnson (Libertarian), but said a vote for either of them would be pointless because they have no chance.

There are good reasons for progressives to support Clinton over Trump, among them her relative positions on energy and the environment, immigration, choice, etc., and the fact that she is likely to nominate more liberal judges to the Supreme Court. Also, since her Bernie scare, she has adopted variations of his stances on things like subsidizing college tuition and increasing the minimum wage.

Of course, people are free to choose whether to believe the narrative (written largely by the right) about Hillary embodying the shameless greed and dishonesty associated with out-of-control power, but if you look more closely at her record, you might just find that she is not quite the devil—just a politician, pragmatic and opportunistic to a fault, and of course, not always right.

That won’t sway my son, who has no use for the way families like the Clintons and Bushes amass political and personal fortunes as they consolidate their power.

I asked him what Hillary could do to earn his vote, and he said nothing, really, unless she could go back to age 20 and start over.

I, for one, would like to see Hillary do something she has not done—take a page from the Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren playbook and speak out loudly and clearly against the excesses of Wall Street and the banking industry, and offer specific reforms to curtail their most damaging, usurious and predatory practices.

The financial industry will not regulate itself; banks will do whatever they can get away with to make their profits. And their offenses are many. But I would focus specifically on bank practices that target society’s most vulnerable—people who are struggling economically, and also both young and elderly people who may not understand what banks are doing to lock them in a cycle of debt. Payday loans, un-asked-for lines of credit, interest rates jacked up after one or two late payments, and the reordering of trasnsactions to maximize overdraft fees, are just a few examples of how banks rip us off, especially the poorest among us.

Bernie Sanders’ youthful supporters lived through the Great Recession and know that the financial industry was largely to blame. And many of them still feel vulnerable.

Oh, and there is a word for financially penalizing people who can least afford it: immoral.

Hillary, can you say that? You’ll get my vote.

Maybe you’ll even get the vote of my son. Or a few others like him.

Copyright 2016 Stephen Leon

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