Lib­er­als wor­ried by Clin­ton need to see big­ger pic­ture

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - VIEWS & VOICES - FROMA HAR­ROP Froma Har­rop is a colum­nist with the Cre­ators Syn­di­cate.

The hard left can be an un­for­giv­ing crowd, not al­ways mind­ful of the give-and-take re­quired to get things done.

Don­ald Trump’s fas­cist-lite rav­ings are anath­ema to them, but with mod­er­ate Repub­li­cans mi­grat­ing to Hil­lary Clin­ton, some on the left worry that a Pres­i­dent Clin­ton might feel less obliged to push a vig­or­ous lib­eral pro­gram. Or per­haps not. The po­lit­i­cal pun­ditry needs to drum up con­flict, so why not re­visit the al­leged schism be­tween Clin­ton and arch-lib­er­als? The re­sult is a largely fic­tional trend rest­ing on a cher­ryp­icked quote or two, but there you have it.

If the al­liance be­tween Clin­ton and mod­er­ate con­ser­va­tives means find­ing com­mon ground with rea­son­able Repub­li­cans, that would be a pos­i­tive devel­op­ment, would it not?

It would be a throw­back to the era when the two par­ties made war but also made leg­is­la­tion.

Some of our friends on the right are say­ing, “Don’t get your hopes up too high. This sup­port for Clin­ton is a one-time deal.”

Once we bury the can­di­dacy of the ap­palling Trump, it’s back to the races. That’s one pos­si­bil­ity. An­other is that Trump spreads his col­lapse down the bal­lot and a party (Repub­li­can or a new one) emerges from the rub­ble cre­at­ing a right-of-cen­ter coali­tion able to work with the left-of-cen­ter one.

It’s hard to imag­ine so­phis­ti­cated lib­er­als doubt­ing Clin­ton’s de­vo­tion to the cause af­ter her re­cent speech on eco­nomic pol­icy. Un­less it’s been for­got­ten. So let’s re­fresh mem­o­ries:

>> Clin­ton called for rais­ing taxes on the rich and adding new taxes on high-fre­quency traders and com­pa­nies mov­ing over­seas.

>> She would grad­u­ally raise the fed­eral min­i­mum wage from to­day’s pal­try $7.25 an hour to $12 an hour.

>> Clin­ton would also hike spend­ing on roads, air­ports and other in­fra­struc­ture — and on green en­ergy — by nearly $300 bil­lion, cre­at­ing some 7 mil­lion jobs.

>> She’d make state and com­mu­nity col­leges tuition-free for mid­dle-class fam­i­lies.

These are core pro­gres­sive pro­pos­als, some in­spired or pushed along by Bernie San­ders’ cam­paign. The Demo­cratic Party plat­form, mean­while, is be­ing called the most pro­gres­sive in his­tory.

So what would lib­er­als com­plain about?

It can’t be that she wel­comes the sup­port of of­fi­cials from the Ge­orge W. Bush and Ron­ald Rea­gan ad­min­is­tra­tions. The “We can’t shake hands with the other party” is vul­gar tea party mil­i­tarism. (The Trump team would be do­ing back­flips if prom­i­nent Democrats were de­fect­ing to its side.)

We get it. Some lib­er­als would pre­fer that the race cen­ter more on their good pro­pos­als and less on what’s so hor­ri­fy­ing about Trump.

That could ex­plain why Adam Green of the Pro­gres­sive Change Cam­paign Com­mit­tee framed Clin­ton’s de­sire to do big-tent pol­i­tics as a “dou­ble-edged sword.”

Green also noted that re­vul­sion to­ward Trump could bring more progressives into Wash­ing­ton, and that would be a good thing.

BY THE WAY, “mod­er­ate” is not a dirty word,” but “man­date” may be be­com­ing one. Some on the right are al­ready say­ing, in the words of a for­mer Ted Cruz aide, “Clin­ton is not likely to emerge with a leg­isla­tive man­date.”

Let us re­call that in the elec­tion of 2000, Ge­orge W. won by 537 votes in Florida while los­ing the pop­u­lar vote by a half-mil­lion. Nonethe­less, he claimed a man­date, push­ing through deep tax cuts for the rich, among other rad­i­cal poli­cies.

The man­date is what­ever the win­ner de­cides it is. And if you want to win the pres­i­dency in this highly di­vided coun­try of ours, two blades are bet­ter than one.

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