Hillary Clinton isn’t running officially — but you know she is, amirite? — and she’s already drawing fire.
But not from the usual suspects.
The coming liberal backlash against Clinton has two broad sources, neither of which is generational. The first is financial regulation. Too big to fail is the great sleeper issue of American politics. Its power has never been exploited because of a quirk of timing. The 2008 election came so closely on the heels of the financial crisis that neither campaign, already committed to preexisting strategies, had the wherewithal to organize a populist response. The 2012 campaign occurred after President Obama had already carried out his policy response (Dodd-Frank) and Mitt Romney was essentially the candidate of Wall Street, for whom the less voters thought about high finance, the better.
Dodd-Frank has decreased the systemic risk posed by the financial industry. But it hasn’t eradicated it, and it certainly hasn’t satisfied the widespread, justifiable desire to minimize the economic and political power wielded by finance. There are proposals floating around Congress to break up the big banks that enjoy the simultaneous benefit of appealing to the Democratic left and appealing to the populist center. If Clinton doesn’t grasp on to such a plan, one of her opponents will, and she’ll have no response.
It’s going to be interesting to see how well organized and vocal the liberals can be in an effort to derail the Clinton campaign, assuming there is one. I’m all for a competitive process — coronations of a front runner this early is a GOP schtick — but who do they have in mind to run against her? That’s not a rhetorical question: I really want to know.