Day 83 – My journey to find reasons to vote for Hillary rather than just against Trump.
 
Hillary seems to thread the needle with corporations.
 
This is a tricky one. Hillary’s relationships with Wall Street, Walmart and business in general are complex and potentially problematic. I have complained that the Clintons both tread too close to the line for my tastes, and to many – both left and right – her relationships with corporate America is one of those walks.
 
But (to carry a metaphor too far), she seems to toe the line. Hillary served on the Walmart board for six years while Bill was governor of Arkansas. She was the first woman on their board. By all accounts, she pushed hard for more women in management and pressed the corporation to follow a more environmentally friendly path than they had. However, she has had her feet held to the fire for her reluctance?, inability?, to push for a more union-friendly practice at Walmart.
 
Her relationship with Wall Street is even murkier. She has taken hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars, in speaking fees, yet promises to rein them in and ensure we don’t have another financial meltdown. It’s a cozy relationship.
 
And then there’s the Clinton Foundation and the accusations of “pay to play.”
 
For those who have been paying attention to this space, you may recall my many references to Hillary’s call for corporate partnerships to create jobs for: veterans, coalminers, women, physically and mentally handicapped, ex-cons, and, well, just about everyone.
 
There’s also been a lot of talk this election cycle about shipping jobs overseas, what we pay our workers versus foreign competition and how to right the balance of trade.
 
To achieve any of this, one needs corporate connections. So, how does one create and implement these programs without some understanding of the corporations, what they need, how they work, and who can make it happen? You can’t.
 
While there is always the whiff of inappropriateness – so far – there is no concrete evidence that Hillary has compromised herself in favor of corporate connections. She made pharmaceutical companies change their testing and recommendations on children and has worked to keep pricing in line. Her past and present stand on banking and financial industry regulation is surprisingly progressive and restrictive.
 
Do I wish Hillary had been more forceful about unions on Walmart’s board? Sure. However, she was the first and, at the time, only, woman on the board. She was young. She needed the money. So she picked her battles. And I’m happy about her efforts on behalf of women and the environment.
 
Would an organization like the Clinton Foundation be better equipped to continue to do the good work it does if there weren’t the appearance of “pay to play?” Yup. However, even according to the WSJ (not historically a supporter of the Clintons), there is no evidence that she stepped over that line.
 
Do I wish some in the financial industry paid a higher price (oh heck, any price) for their role in the financial crisis? Hell, yes. But so does Hillary – even more than Obama. Did you know that? I didn’t.
 
This is too nuanced an issue to be easy fodder for an ad or a debate, but – from what I can see – she is working to harness the power of corporations while holding them to account on other issues. All of these issues demand vigilance, but when you really look into reality versus perception, the reality is that, more often than not, she has, yes, compromised, but, in the end, landed on the right side of the line. Let’s keep it that way, while applauding the work she has done.