Clin­ton has a lot of prom­ises to keep

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS -

IF HILLARY Clin­ton makes it to the White House, many eyes will be on her list of do’s and don’t’s.

Through­out the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign against Don­ald Trump, Clin­ton has made some very spe­cific pledges about what she would and wouldn’t do. Those could come back at Clin­ton if she’s elected be­cause she could be gov­ern­ing in a po­lit­i­cally po­larised en­vi­ron­ment. Repub­li­cans and lib­eral Democrats would keep watch to see whether she keeps her word.

“I think Repub­li­cans are go­ing to be dog­ging her any time she flirts with some­thing that sounds like a cam­paign pledge that’s been bro­ken,” said Re­pub­li­can strate­gist Katie Packer, who isn’t back­ing Trump.

Charles Cham­ber­lain, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Democ­racy for America, said lib­er­als would look at how Clin­ton tack­les is­sues, say­ing “the key is see­ing if she ac­tu­ally fights, rather than in­sist­ing that she has to achieve that goal”.

Com­pli­cat­ing Clin­ton’s path is the re­al­ity that the best-laid plans can change. Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush, for ex­am­ple, pledged “no new taxes”, but even­tu­ally agreed to a bud­get com­pro­mise with Democrats that did in­clude some tax in­creases. He lost his re-elec­tion bid to Demo­crat Bill Clin­ton.

A look at some pledges Hillary Clin­ton made in the fi­nal pres­i­den­tial de­bate and what they could mean for her as pres­i­dent:

TAXES

“I will not raise taxes on any­one mak­ing $250,000 or less. I also will not add a penny to the debt.”

Clin­ton has fo­cused her cam­paign on work­ing – and mid­dle-class fam­i­lies, and promised to tax the wealthy to pay for more so­cial pro­grammes, but re­peat­edly said those mak­ing $250,000 or less would be ex­empt. That’s the cut-off her cam­paign has iden­ti­fied to pro­tect the mid­dle class. Clin­ton says that by tax­ing the wealthy, she won’t cre­ate any new debt, though she has not said she would cut the cur­rent debt.

This tax pledge means any new fees or costs for low­erearn­ing fam­i­lies will be scru­ti­nised. When it comes to the na­tional debt, Packer notes that “there’s a lot of dif­fer­ent ways you can do the math that make that a very hard prom­ise to keep”.

TRANS-PACIFIC PART­NER­SHIP

“I’m against it now. I’ll be against it af­ter the elec­tion. I’ll be against it when I’m pres­i­dent.”

This is a big one for Clin­ton. She came out against the trade deal last year amid mount­ing pres­sure from lib­er­als. She pre­vi­ously praised the deal as Sec­re­tary of State, call­ing it the “gold stan­dard” of trade agree­ments. In the past, she has sup­ported some trade deals and op­posed oth­ers.

So pro­gres­sives will watch Clin­ton if she wins, not just af­ter Jan­uary 20, but dur­ing the tran­si­tion as well, to see if she mounts op­po­si­tion to a vote in the lame-duck Congress.

“It’s go­ing to be crit­i­cally im­por­tant that she steps up, she stand up and says it’s not go­ing to be passed in the lame duck,” said Cham­ber­lain, adding that if Clin­ton does not take such a stand, “in many peo­ple’s eyes, that would be break­ing a prom­ise”.

MIL­I­TARY

“I will not sup­port putting Amer­i­can sol­diers into Iraq as an oc­cu­py­ing force.”

Clin­ton has made it clear that she does not want more Amer­i­can sol­diers to serve on the ground in the Mid­dle East. There are sev­eral thou­sand US troops in Iraq now serv­ing as train­ers and ad­vis­ers to the Iraqi mil­i­tary. She has made sim­i­lar state­ments about Syria, where dozens of US spe­cial op­er­a­tors are help­ing. Still, Cham­ber­lain said that on this pledge, lib­er­als see “a lot of wig­gle room there. The pro­gres­sive move­ment wants to see less mil­i­tary ac­tion pe­riod”.

Re­pub­li­can strate­gist Rick Tyler, who ad­vised Texas Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz’s pres­i­den­tial bid, said that this is the type of prom­ise that could be hard, de­pend­ing on world events.

“You could claim you were never go­ing to drop a nu­clear bomb. I hope not, but what is it there for,” Tyler said.

COL­LEGE COSTS

“I want to make col­lege debt­free, and for fam­i­lies mak­ing less than $125,000, you will not get a tu­ition bill from a pub­lic col­lege or univer­sity if the plan that I worked on with Bernie Sanders is en­acted.”

Clin­ton en­hanced her col­lege af­ford­abil­ity plan with the Ver­mont sen­a­tor, her ri­val in the pres­i­den­tial pri­maries, in an ef­fort to win over his sup­port­ers. Bring­ing down col­lege costs was a ral­ly­ing cry for his younger sup­port­ers. It’s also an is­sue in­creas­ingly dis­cussed on the left.

Packer said this might be an area that both sides want to work on. “That strikes me as a thing that tran­scends ide­ol­ogy.”

AP

Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hillary Clin­ton speaks to sup­port­ers at a rally, Satur­day in Pem­broke Pines, Florida.

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