Bill Clinton: This Election Will Be About Inclusion & Shared Prosperity

Hillary Clinton is less than a month away from the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, and with that in mind, she released her “secret weapon” upon the masses today in New Hampshire: her husband.

When Bill Clinton took the stage earlier today, it represented the former president’s “first solo appearance on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.” From the beginning of his speech, the former president made clear that “this election is about restoring broadly shared prosperity” to the American people. This wasn’t some midnight musing from Mr. Clinton, either. The notion of more equitable growth has been the organizing principle of Hillary Clinton’s campaign from the get-go.

In fact, she opened her first campaign speech with this very theme; noting how “prosperity can’t be just for CEOs and hedge fund managers.” She argued against trickle-down economics and its uneven, unproductive, and unjust economic gains. She reiterated in the same speech, “now it’s time – your time to secure the gains and move ahead…The middle class needs more growth and more fairness. Growth and fairness go together. For lasting prosperity, you can’t have one without the other.”

Today, Bill Clinton followed his wife’s lead. He, too, brought up trickle-down theory and its disastrous effects on the economy (though he failed to mention his involvement in perpetuating such an economic dogma). He drew differences between Reagan and himself, pointing out that when Reagan was president those at the top did very well, but when he was president “we grew together.”

Along with equitable growth, inclusivity was a major theme of Mr. Clinton’s first stump speech. Right after speaking about reestablishing “broadly shared prosperity,” Mr. Clinton claimed “you have to have inclusive economics, inclusive social policy, and then we gotta have politics that are inclusive enough to actually get something done.” He went on – listen to the clip here:

Inclusion is clearly a driving theme of the Hillary campaign. And we here at Civic Skunk Works have been making a case for inclusivity for some time. Whether it was Nick Hanauer and Zach Silk making an economic argument for inclusivity, or Paul Constant applauding Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Bill De Blasio’s editorial on America’s future, or lampooning Jeb Bush for saying “we should not have a multicultural society,” inclusivity has been at the forefront of many of our socio-economic arguments.

Not only does this theme have the benefit of being just and righteous, it also beautifully allows the Clinton campaign to juxtapose the Republicans’ love of exclusivity. Whether intended or not, the GOP has doubled-down on an “us versus them” vision of American prosperity: they want to ban Muslims entering the US, build a border wall, and bar Syrian refugees entry into America. When it comes to the general election, the Democratic nominee won’t even have to waste their time railing against these ridiculous policy proposals. They can simply fall back on “the Golden Rule” and argue from a position of moral strength that America is at her best when we include as many people as possible into every aspect of our society. In other words, get used to Bill and Hillary talking about “inclusion” a lot this year.

Nick Cassella

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