Commentary

Clinton Hopes Financial Plan Will Ease Pro-Wall Street Attacks

Hillary Clinton is full steam ahead on presenting herself as a champion for the progressive cause. One of the biggest problems she has faced is distancing herself from Wall Street and her big donors, who benefited greatly from the deregulation of financial markets during her husband’s presidency.

Her closest opponent in the primary race, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, embodies the American progressive voter. He has seen a steady rise in support for his campaign.

Financial regulation and tax policy are among the most contested topics of discussion in the Democratic race -- Clinton looks to stem Sander’s rise by proving her progressive credentials.

The New York Times ran a Clinton op-ed on Dec. 7, where the former Secretary of State outlined and defended her plan to “Rein In Wall Street.” She praises President Obama’s financial reforms and successful rehabilitation of the American economy, while condemning Republican thirst for deregulation.

There are many concrete points to Clinton’s plan that show she is serious about reforming Wall Street. Among them, she will ensure the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau' (CFPB) are protected from Republican attacks, discourage speculation and what she calls “hazardous behavior” by establishing risk fees on big banks.

Additionally, Clinton wants to increase the statute of limitations for prosecuting major financial crimes from five to 10 years, giving white-collar crime law enforcement more time to build strong criminal cases against financial executives.

Influential liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has shown support for the plan -- a strong endorsement from a very progressive figure in the Democratic Party.

The Clinton campaign, has for the most part, sailed smoothly as the primary race has developed, even through Congressional hearings and heated debates. She experienced a slight drop when Vice President Joe Biden looked like he might get in, but has since regained most of the support she lost in the polls.

Despite around a 25-point lead nationally over Sanders, the states where Sanders is doing most of his campaigning present a closer reality. A recent CNN/WMUR poll conducted through Dec. 7 has Sanders 10 points up in New Hampshire. Clinton is, however, far ahead in Iowa.

Clinton still dominates in endorsements, where Sanders is seriously struggling. But we’ve seen in the Republican race that endorsements may start to lose their clout. Front-runner Donald Trump has none, while the lagging Jeb Bush has the most.

We may yet have twists in the Democratic race. During the debate coming up on Dec. 19, Clinton will look to solidify her progressive bona fides.  

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