Right Angles column: Hopes for change, honesty bad news for Clinton
The “unexpected” popularity of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders shows Americans want a change from the “hope and change” of the Obama years. Trump has rallied conservatives who distrust big government and believe he will stop out-of-control spending and open-border policies.
Sen. Sanders has attracted liberals who trust his “moral responsibility” to use big government to lift the middle class with higher corporate taxes and expanded entitlements. Regardless of driving ideology, demands for change and honesty don’t bode well for Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House.
Barack Obama was bent on “fundamental change” for the United States. His health-care law hamstrings medical providers, strips citizens of choice and threatens the viability of small businesses. Immigration policy favors those who break the law over those who take the legal route, driving down wages and placing huge burdens on taxpayers. The national debt has increased from $10.6 trillion to $19.2 trillion during President Obama’s tenure. Citizens and businesses feel stuck.
Few Americans are hopeful about the prospects for economic growth and prosperity. Businesses are burdened by excessive taxes, regulations and the albatross of Obamacare. The ranks of the underemployed are swelling, especially since companies can no longer afford to provide health-care benefits to full-time employees. Wages and profits are down and the cost of college education is higher than ever. Conservative and liberal voters blame government.
The agenda and policies of the Obama administration have caused dismay on the political right and disillusionment on the left. Conservatives are angered by government infringement on liberty, high taxes and the disregard for sovereignty. Liberals complain government hasn’t taxed and regulated corporations and “the rich” enough to finance free college and health care to better the lives of everyone living within our borders.
On the Republican side, Trump has garnered significant support by voicing the frustrations of a huge segment of Americans. He’s not a career politician beholden to party politics. Supporters believe Trump is a man of action, skill and experience who can be taken at his word to confront the establishment and promote a culture of work over welfare. Many voters trust that Trump cares about America and that access to the American dream is limited by high taxes, excessive regulations and open-door immigration.
Sen. Sanders has inspired and energized Democrats who feel betrayed by the system. These voters are disappointed with President Obama and the general economic malaise that mires the middle class. Some view Sanders as a new FDR, pushing government policies and public programs that will put the average citizen to work for a fair wage. Supporters believe Sanders is an honest man who works for the people, tirelessly promoting government growth to ensure their well-being.
Conservatives and progressives are demanding something new from government. They also want a president who can be taken at face value. That’s bad news for Hillary Clinton. She’s perceived by both sides as an establishment crony. People across the political landscape believe she is concerned with her own power, not the people and not the nation. Scandals like Travel-gate and Whitewater lead people to label Clinton as untrustworthy, a liar and even a criminal.
The Hillary email scandal reinforces the notion that the Clintons play by their own rules. She gets away with private email accounts to conduct government business, a violation of the Federal Records Act, and there’s no trace of critical records regarding controversial events. An ambassador and three other Americans were murdered by terrorists in Benghazi, Libya, while Clinton skated away scoffing, “what difference does it make?”
Average citizens of all political stripes are tired of the politicians like Obama and Clinton whose true motives appear to be personal power and prestige. Voters are looking beyond their disappointment and disgust with President Obama and his political allies. Leftists want more government; those on the right want less government.
While their visions are incompatible, conservatives and liberals alike are demanding something new from their next choice for president. We all want a leader who might actually tell the truth for a change … and who might instill hope for the future. Hillary Clinton better hope all that changes.
James D. Kellogg is an engineering consultant and the author of “Radical Action: A Colt Kelley Thriller.” Look for the novel on amazon.com and visit JamesDKellogg.com or email email@example.com.