Dear Secretary Clinton:
With all due respect, please consider a little advice from a 68 year-old white man who grew up in a working-class Illinois town not far from your hometown. While I support Bernie Sanders, I’ve committed to vote for you if you win the nomination. And since I’m not naive, it is pretty clear to me that you have the inside track on winning that nomination. With that said, I want to offer some suggestions that will hopefully help you win by a large margin in November, regardless of who your opponent is. So here we go.
You don’t have a messaging problem – you have a position problem. Frankly, your positions on so many important issues are too vague and nonspecific. Here are some examples and suggestions for improvement:
• Your position on fracking is ridiculous. Just say you’re opposed to it. It pollutes our air, threatens our water supply, and causes earthquakes. Our planet can’t take any more abuse.
• Your support for a healthcare public option is so weak, it’s laughable. Instead of suggesting that you would support individual state efforts (which are doomed to fail), state unequivocally that you will push for a federal public option during your first term.
• Stop pretending that you will be tougher on the big Wall Street banks than Sen. Sanders. Nobody believes you when you say that. Yes, I’m sure you have some good ideas that may differ from Sen. Sanders positions. That’s fine. But nobody is buying your current argument. I would strongly suggest that you state in no uncertain terms that you will reinstate Glass-Stegall in your first term.
• Your attack on Sen. Sanders “opposition” to the auto bailout was so lame that it actually made you look desperate. The voters aren’t stupid. We know better than to think that Bernie would take such a position. The fact that he opposed the idea of wrapping the auto bailout into the giant bank bailout bill rather than attaching it to the stimulus makes a lot of sense to a lot of people.
• State that you agree with Sen. Sanders’ goal of making college at state-supported schools tuition-free as well as his method of paying for it, a financial transaction tax. Drop the line about not paying for rich kids to attend college for free. Most people don’t care. They figure rich kids go to Ivy League schools anyway.
• Put more distance between yourself and President Obama. Yes, most of us think that he did a good job of bringing our country out of the financial mess of 2008. But many of us also believe that he also has some major stains on his resume as President. No banksters went to jail under his watch. His trade deal is atrocious and needs to be soundly defeated. His foreign policy positions are too hawkish for many. I could go on and on, but I’m sure your advisers know the list of grievances by heart.
In closing, there is no doubt that you have secured the backing of African-Americans and most Latinos. But you have a long way to go to secure the backing of older, white, working class voters like me. In fact, you will probably have to fight just to get them to listen to your ideas if Mr. Trump is the Republican nominee. But I do believe that you will ultimately secure the nomination and I really want you to win in November. I’m just not sure that your Washington inside-the-beltway advisors are telling you what you really need to hear.