I watched the Elizabeth Warren-Hillary Clinton event from Cincinnati, Ohio yesterday. MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell...not a favorite of mine...said of the female duo's performances.... "it did seem like magic on that stage."
Mitchell's take was a bit much...but I did observe a rather significant change in Hillary's stump message. Elizabeth Warren...Trump Slayer....was her usual lively self. The Massachusetts Senator seems to relish going after the guy she refers to as "a thin-skinned money grubber"....and yesterday's female-duo event will no doubt be repeated elsewhere in pivotal swing states as the campaign continues.
Even though what Villagers were most interested in yesterday was whether Warren would be Hillary's VP choice, that prospect is very unlikely. Why? Massachusetts has a Republican governor, Charlie Baker. Should Clinton pick Warren, Baker would replace her in the U.S. Senate with a Republican. To take control of the U.S. Senate next January, Democrats will need every Democrat they can find....so a Warren VP is highly unlikely. The same rule applies to the very honorable Sherrod Brown. GOP Governor Kasich would replace Brown with a Republican until the next scheduled election and as with Warren, Democrats can't spare even one U.S. Senate seat.
Julian Castro and Tim Kaine, in my opinion, are still the leading prospects for Clinton's VP job.....but one never knows about these things...and regardless, running mate selections really don't play a major role in the choices voters make when picking their next president.
Now, having said all that....what is the most pressing issue facing Hillary one month before the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia? Unifying the Clinton and Sanders voters. I saw yesterday's Cincinnati event as the kickoff in that effort. Liz Warren is popular with Sanders voters. She speaks the same language as Bernie when it comes to big banksters and our rigged economy. What better way to start wooing Bernie voters than to have a big-bankster-basher play a few riffs before introducing Hillary?
But it was what Hillary focused on in her speech which indicated to me that her campaign has made a serious move towards winning over Sanders voters. There are "too many politicians and corporations" who do not agree that our nation's economy should work for everybody, Hillary began. What citizens all across the country see is their "wages stagnating" while "executives give themselves big bonuses."
"Why do the richest Americans and corporations get away with manipulating the tax code so that they pay lower rates than you do? That's a good question. It doesn't make any sense. It doesn't make moral sense, economic sense, historic sense. And you know what else doesn't make any sense? When leaders in Congress give more tax breaks to hedge fund millionaires instead of making investments in manufacturing, clean energy and education that will actually create more good jobs."
That's vintage Bern.
"It doesn't make sense when corporations stash their profits overseas, or send them to influential shareholders, instead of making long term investments in raising wages, training and research. Or when governors and legislatures use every trick in the book to weaken unions and make it harder for workers to organize themselves for better wages and benefits."
"You've heard of right to work laws. Well, they're wrong for workers and they're wrong for America. None of this is right."
"This is not a time for half-measures. To build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top, we've got to go big and we've got to go bold."
Infrastructure spending, making college tuition "debt-free", "debt-relief" for existing college tuition loans, corporate "profit-sharing" with employees not just executives, and making sure than Wall Street and executives pay their fair share of taxes. Eliminate the "carried interest" rule for hedge fund managers.
"I will not raise taxes on the middle class but we are going to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy", Hillary declared.
"Here's our message to every corporate board room. Do the right thing by your employees and your country..and we will stand by you. But cheat your employees, exploit your customers, pollute our environment or rip off taxpayers, and we will hold you accountable."
"When corporations pay fines for breaking the rules those fines should cut into executive bonuses. And if laws are violated, INDIVIDUALS, not just corporations, should be held accountable."
All of those proposals were standard issue Sanders' proposals. That is why I regard yesterday's Clinton speech as her first major attempt to woo Bernie voters to her candidacy. Sanders has said that Hillary must convince his supporters to vote for her, it's her responsibility. Yesterday's speech was Hillary doing just that.
Yes, Bernie will go all the way to the Convention....but I predict, with Hillary-Warren hitting the stump together, and with Clinton moving further towards the Bern on economic populism.....Clinton will be making room for Sanders to give her a rousing endorsement on the floor of the Philadelphia Convention. And THAT is how the Democrats will unite to soundly defeat the GOP candidate in November.