Reprinted from Campaign For America's Future
Secretary Hillary Clinton has accepted millions in "speaking fees" and campaign contributions from interest groups -- most notably Wall Street firms -- that she will be in a position to help or hurt as president. She promises that the money will not influence her if she takes office, but voters are understandably skeptical.
Voters have been betrayed again and again by people who have become known as "corporate Democrats." These politicians made promises to help regular working people, then turned on them after elections and enacted policies that boost the monied interests -- especially Wall Street and giant corporations -- at the expense of the rest of the country.
What can Clinton do to overcome the resulting voter skepticism? Are there concrete things she can do and commitments she can make now that can reassure voters that she will be able to represent the other 99 percent of us once in office? Are there ways she can show the public that she means what she says when she claims to be as "progressive" as her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders?
Broken Promises From Past Democratic Politicians
"Many people have come to believe politicians say what they need to say to win, and then turn on them. If Hillary Clinton wants to win the Democratic nomination and inspire people to vote for her in the general election, she must find ways to overcome this voter skepticism." That is how the post "Does Clinton Really Oppose TPP? There Is A Test For That" began.
Now here we are again. This time the issue is Wall Street influence, not the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
"Working people -- wages stagnant or falling and employers putting the squeeze on in hundreds of imaginative ways -- have figured out that they've been sold out by 'establishment' politicians who have helped 'rig the game' against them. And they are fed up.
"Millions of voters, betrayed and cynical, have simply given up on the system. They haven't gotten anything from the system in a long time. They don't vote and they don't believe the things politicians tell them.
"Candidate Clinton might not need those voters to win the nomination and maybe not even to win the election. But if she wants 'coattails' to bring in a Democratic House and Senate, be it in 2016 or 2018, she is going to have to earn their trust.
"Democratic voters are skeptical of promises. They want to see proof. They want to see action. They want to see changes. Or they will just stay home. And the terrible mess we are in will continue and worsen."
That was about TPP. These words apply equally to voter perceptions of Wall Street influence.
How Clinton Can Overcome Voter Skepticism
How can Clinton overcome this widespread voter skepticism? There are specific concrete things that Clinton can do now, and specific things she can pledge to do as president. (That's "pledge," by the way, not "promise.")
Right now, Clinton can demand that President Obama remove anyone in his administration who comes to government from Wall Street from any position where they can influence decisions, especially decisions about the government prosecuting people in the financial industry who are suspected of criminal activity.
Right now, Clinton can demand that President Obama issue an executive order requiring corporations that do business with the federal government to disclose their political spending. Right now, they should disclose contributions to candidate super PACs as well as "dark money" groups, "think tanks," even so-called "charities" that actually support candidates, ideologies and causes. All of it. Right now.