Politico, one of the establishment’s favorite bulletin-boards, just posted an op-ed describing Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as the ‘superstar tag team’ saviors of the Beltway Establishment from Donald Trump’s American voters.
Written by lefty author Bill Scher, and titled “Can Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama Save the Establishment?” the article accepts Trump’s campaign-trail claim that he’s the outsider willing to upset the wealthy and powerful establishment.
As Clinton shifts her focus to the general election, last week’s one-two teleprompter punch from Clinton and Obama suggests a fall strategy that runs somewhat counter to the populist tenor of the primaries. It looks like we’re going to see a superstar tag team duo aiming to consolidate all of strains of the unsettled establishment—and the disaffected Republicans and moderate swing voters who identify with their views—without alienating the Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren populist wing of the Democratic Party.
While Clinton still has work to do to woo Bernie voters, she has a huge opportunity created by the disruptive Trump, who has left many national security hawks, free marketers and pro-immigrant, pro-diversity conservatives feeling politically homeless. In turn, she and Obama have begun crafting arguments more associated with establishment politics than populism.
Make no mistake: this is nothing less than a political high-wire act being attempted by a meticulous but not always agile candidate. Many Sanders voters say they don’t trust her when she claims to be a “progressive,” and any new rightward lean will only confirm their suspicions. But she’ll have one heck of a wingman to carry the establishment banner through the populist headwinds: President Barack Obama, who, according toGallup, boasts a near unanimous 84 percent job approval rating among liberals and a healthy 56 percent with moderates. He’s now testing the boundaries of those numbers, trying to leverage his reservoir of goodwill on the left to deliver a sharp rebuttal to Trump’s broadsides against his trade policies. Clearly, he is seeking to expand the political playing field, give Clinton more ideological room to maneuver and give the “Establishment” a good name.
It’s early yet, but if Clinton successfully walks the tightrope we could experience a dramatic ideological reorganization. A Clinton coalition that mixes populist with establishmentarian, capturing both disgusted center-right Republicans and wary independent Sandernistas, could be the biggest tent American politics has seen since Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency while he was bombing Cambodia.
Read it all here.