With an ascendent economic populism that rejects the dominance of large financial institutions, wealthy individuals, and powerful industries that have too much sway in Washington, DC, the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency has many asking whether or not the former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State has what it takes to challenge the status quo which allows Wall Street to rule supreme in the nation's seats of power.
In a front page article exploring the question in the New York Times on Tuesday, the newspaper suggests that Wall Street sees Hillary Clinton as "a solution" to the populist trend—a person who can neutralize other members of the Democratic Party, like Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown, calling for more aggressive economic reforms and who have tapped into the nation's populist sentiment.
As the Times reports:
Few political families are closer to Wall Street than the Clintons. Their family foundation has raised millions from financiers and the foundations of big banks, and recently held its annual briefing for donors in the auditorium of Goldman Sachs’s headquarters in Manhattan. Major financial firms are stocked with Clinton alumni.
And the Clintons often interact with the titans of finance on the Manhattan charity circuit and during their vacations in the Hamptons. Last month, Mr. and Mrs. Clinton sat at a table with Hamilton E. James, president of the Blackstone Group, and mingled with the billionaire David H. Koch at a benefit for the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Clinton has been looked on with suspicion by progressives following high-paid speaking engagements with Goldman Sachs and other powerful Wall Street institutions since leaving her post at the State Department. And last month, Clinton put her weight behind the powerful biotech industry by speaking at their national conference, not only endorsing their business model but offering political advice on how to overcome public opposition to the use of genetically-modified seeds and industrial-scale, chemical-based agriculture.
Also this week, comments made by Clinton suggest her political strategy, if elected, would follow her husband's well-worn tactic of "triangulation," tacking to the political right as a way to curry favor with Republican and corporate interests, but doing so in a way that ameliorates the objections of progressives and liberals. Bill Clinton was famous for doing this when he passed "welfare reform" legislation and deregulated the financial industry in the nineties, both of which, according to many experts and analysts, say paved the way for the current economic crisis the country is now suffering.