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My problem with Hillary in 2016

istock_000017338712xsmallThis is a bit of a followup post from yesterday. The NYTimes article on how difficult women over 50 have it in the job market these days really hit home with many people. There are over 1000 comments on that article now.

This one from A. Davey  in Portland sums up why I have been utterly unmoved by Hillary’s campaign this year:

A. Davey

Portland 19 hours ago

There but for the grace of God goes Janet Yellen.

You would think that the plight of women over 50 would be a natural issue for Hillary.

Apparently not. She’s the champion of the Ted Talkers, the winners in our so-called meritocracy, the brilliant young executives who spread their pearls of wisdom from cushy corporate jobs that come with employment contracts and golden parachutes. They’re the ones telling displaced older workers to become self employed. That’s rich.


The week after I was laid off in 2011 from my job, I went to a seminar series by the American Chemical Society where the crusty old dudes that ran the local chapter tried to sell us on throwing whatever severance money we had into a start up company that was 80% likely to fail. If there was even a smidgeon of hope that the new drug entities we found were likely to succeed, we could look forward to vulture capitalists showing up on our doorsteps, offering to pay our debts in return for giving them 99% of any profit we made on the patent they wanted to license.

Swear to god, you can’t make this stuff up. Start ups for divorced parents are not an option. That’s a shame for the start ups who have to train younger people to reinvent the wheel and for the rest of us with valuable research experience and no labs.

IT is different than pharma or just about any other industry where you can just start a company. You can literally do it out your garage and all you need is a good idea. In pharma, good ideas need to be tested, repeatedly. But it seems like Hillary is only interested in looking out for these independent guys. Yes, they are almost all guys. Who else could afford to live on the edge, jumping from start up to start up, thriving on the adrenalin that comes with whether or not you’ll get funding or go public? People with responsibilities can’t do that. Young guys with an average age of 28 can.

I can’t figure out why Hillary would choose to abandon her natural constituency. They’re not all laid off and poor. If I manage to hang on to my job this year, I’ll pitch in my share. Oh, sure, you have to appeal to younger voters but women over 50 are a HUGE group of people and they vote. In fact, I don’t think Hillary can win without at least trying to appeal to them.

But she hasn’t.

This once stalwart champion of women’s rights, treats them like they were invisible too.

So, I am definitely non-plussed this year. And more than a bit angry. I stuck my neck out repeatedly and still think she was the best candidate in 2008. But she really shouldn’t take my generation of women for granted. The danger is not that they will vote Republican, it’s that the situation for some of them is so bleak they might not show up at all.

Is that what Hillary wants? To have a shortage of voters on election day? Maybe she should rethink whoever the hell is doing her data models. If I were her, I would make a specific appeal to these women even at the risk of pissing off some gawd awful sexist Silicon Valley asshole who will flirt with Rand Paul in 2016.

The problem is not lack of profit sharing or the barriers to self employment.

It’s income instability, stupid. 

Put that sign in your war room, Hillary.

If the NYTimes wanted to drive a stake through Hillary’s campaign, they couldn’t have picked a better pain point.

24 Responses

  1. The NYT is not someone I would listen to regarding Hillary. They seem to be suffering from CDS.

    As far as the age thing you could say that NO ONE is concerned about older workers. Certainly not the GOP nor Bernie for that matter.

    • Afaict Older Workers, especially those unemployed or underemployed (Type 1 or Type2) would find that Sanders’ policies of MedicareForAll, $15 min wage (for those Type 1 Underemployed & take a “Survival Job”), free public tuition (no kid’s college cost, or for self), & increased Soc Security retirement benefit; would significantly enhance the concrete daily life quality for Older Workers.

      So I do not understand when you say “Bernie does not care about Older Workers”

      • Have you tried to live on $15/hour?
        There is a bigger problem going on here when women over 50 are expected to sacrifice their careers.
        This is a giant issue that no politician is talking about.

        • if you feel $15/hr is not a livable wage, perhaps it should be higher. IIRC in Denmark it is ~$20/hr.

          There is a general issue in the economy of people being unable of Type 1 Underemployment (e.g. the example of the PhD Biologist whose work later was the foundation of a Nobel Prize, laid off from NASA contractor, working as $8/hr car dealer taxi driver), that affects USians of all ages/demographics, of competent talented people being unfairly “evicted” from their occupation before “retirement age” of 65. If you feel this a major problem, we agree. Off hand, I don’t have a policy solution to recommend, other that it shows that current economy is so volatile, with high income instability, that is requires a Scandinavian-style strong Social Democracy/social safety net to actually even modestly meet the needs of all its citizens. If you have a policy idea in addition to Social Democracy, I’d be eager to read it.

          • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Prasher

            I misspoke, this guy Dr. Prasher was a biochemist, not a biologist.

            Prasher is the most vivid example of Type 1 Underemployment I have heard of. If it can happen to Prasher, it could happen to nearly anyone (or at least anyone who is not a “Made Man” of the Oligarchy, guaranteed of a lifetime optional do-nothing lucrative sinecure job regardless, like ex-US Federal politrickians who served as Corp Wh0re Puppets in office, ala Bush43, BClinton42, & 0bama) I would guesstimate that Prasher is at least a 1 in 10Kperson intellect & talent, if not more rare/unique.

      • Have you seen a specific on Bernie’s increased Social Security? I thought I saw something a year ago or so suggesting $75 or so average increase. Which is a puny plan if true. At the lower levels, It should be doubled at least.

      • Everything that Bernie proposes comes off as magical unicorn BS. First of all he’s proposing that Medicare for all take 10 years to implement. So I fail to see how that is an immediate solution. And the no college tuition? Well, that’s nice but what about the people that have kids who are not college material? Are they not good enough to be included? Older workers have years of experience and Bernie says fast food workers should make $15 an hour and so should people with years of experience?

  2. The Nor Bernie thing. I have to agree. Everone is holding something back. This year feels funny to me. I which I felt more optimistic. Right now, I’m terrified

  3. Upton Sinclair quipped that the two major parties are just two wings of the same bird of prey. Hill and Bern seem to want to prove him right.

  4. Great blog and a must. I like the timing to bring it on for Hillary´s attention.

  5. I loved Hillary in 2008. But I don’t have any good feeling about the Hillary of 2016. She came out in favor of the death penalty, for one thing. This affection for the Ted Talkers is hard to take.

  6. i think the issue right now is Bernie Sanders and his hold on millennials which has allowed him to basically take in as much money in donations in the last quarter as Hillary has.

    The baby boomer generation strongly supports Hillary Clinton but they are also part of the sandwich generation, trying to pay for their kid’s education, keep their own home, and take care of their parents as well. The baby boomers really don’t have as much free money as many would like to believe and sadly, have fallen behind in terms of computer intellect as well.

    I know a baby boomer gentleman who ran a couple of stores and was a staunch Hillary Clinton fan back in 2008, to this day he still doesn’t own a computer even though he ran a business for a decade.

    The baby boomers certainly do not go mano a mano on Hillary’s behalf on many internet news sites whenever any Hillary Clinton news comes up and the sure to show up Clinton haters begin spew their vile language in the comments section.

    Remember when the shoe thrower threw a shoe at Hillary Clinton. Do you remember the throng of Hillary Clinton supporters who beat the crap out of the shoe thrower? Probably not because there were none. Do you really think that type of apathy and peacefulness would be present at a Trump rally if someone threw a shoe at Trump, or even at Bernie Sanders?

    Look at how many shares and likes Trump gets on his facebook page postings versus Sanders and versus Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton probably has the most supporters, but they are milk toast supporters who want to stand behind Hillary and push her forward, basically using Hillary Clinton as the Battering Ram.

    Now you hint that these same people who would not fight for Hillary, may abandon her if HIllary doesn’t play patty cakes with them.

  7. Chimera, what does death penalty have to do with Ted Talkers?

  8. I agree with this post, and agree that profit sharing will become a gimmick. I think the solution is in proper job security, and realizing that the nature of employment has changed. Rather than profit sharing, perhaps there should be more of the public sharing the profits that comes from research done by scientists everywhere. Public has an interest and does tremendous investment in people and research. The money collected can be used for increasing research grant, job security, benefits, etc. The idea that scientists work for peanuts and the companies make all the profits is revolting.

  9. On another note, Hillary has a difficult selling job, because she continuously offers specific solutions to specific problems. She doesn’t promise people a magic solution with barn raising speeches to go with it. Perhaps She should point out that people also made fun of her husband for not having great/ transformative ideas, but he was/is the best president of the last 30-40 years.

    • This morning on the NPR news I heard a report that Clinton very specifically said if she were President she would seek a No Fly Zone over Syria, in part to exert “leverage” over Putin.

      That is, as you say, very specific. It is also very bad. It is deliberately calling for a whole new war in Syria and expressing willingness to risk some measure of war action with Russia. I can not vote for such evil nastiness under any scenario.

  10. Will women over 50 go for tRump or another GOP loonygoon? I think not, so I wouldn’t expect a special reach-out. For the same reason, I don’t expect a campaign targeted at old, fat white men, who, at least according to most “experts” are going GOPer no matter what Democrat graces the ticket. (I am a member of the latter group and I have, will, and probably always will, support Clinton, regardless of Naderlites drifting across the political desert.)

    • I’m envisioning a Jon Corzine scenario. Chris Christie won not because there was a vast turnout of Republicans but because Corzine was lackluster and obamaesque. No passion and very little to show for his term. So, Democrats just said “meh” and didn’t bother.

  11. Hillary is the only candidate out there, on either side, who shows any sign of actually being able to do any of the nice things she talks about. I love what Sanders says. I loved MCGovern too. And it was heaps of fun voting for him. It accomplished exactly squat. What politicians say is totally, 100% unimportant. Look at what they’ve done to see what they could do.

    And with Hillary, look at how much she’s managed to do while a Himalayan range of shit gets dumped on her. And she just keeps going. Her strength is amazing.

    So she hasn’t mentioned specific and workable proposals supporting research scientists in industry. Another candidate has? If so, I haven’t seen it. So she’s all wet on Middle Eastern no-fly zones. Is there a mainstream US politician who isn’t? Of course she’s got all sorts of problems. She’s a politician.

    Compared to the other politicians around her, they come up approximately to her knees. (Except Trump, who’s an ankle-deep dogpile.) She’s a giant in intellect, specifics, competence, and effectiveness in the current US political scene. As far as I can tell, the only reason there’s so much oblivion about it is because she’s female.

    Given what’s out there on the Repub side (One of those weirdos will be the candidate. Strange but true.) it’s important to remember how much better she is than anyone we’ve had for decades. Getting “meh” about how much worse she is than what we want will just get us saddled with a disaster.

    • I’m not disagreeing with you. But women over 50 are in deep, DEEP trouble and we’re going to retire in serious poverty for absolutely no reason except for bias and discrimination. And she hasn’t said one word about that.
      We are a gigantic demographic. We are tail end Babyboomers or Gen X’ers. And Nada.
      I wouldn’t write them off. Some of them went Tea Party in 2008, which is really stupid. Before the financial crisis, there was a very good possibility that Obama would lose to McCain.
      I’m just getting really tired of getting written off as if I will just fall in line eventually with no real benefit to my cohort, like we must continue to make sacrifices for the good of much younger people or gay people or african americans or . After all the years when we were told to put everyone else first, after all the years of writing petitions, showing up at protests, voting Democratic, we end up with the shitty end of the stick because we did not stick up for ourselves.
      And that seems to be Ok for Hillary.
      It’s bullshit.

    • How can I help feeling Meh when I know that she knows better than what she is revealing?

      She is running a passionless campaign that is ignoring the day to day pain of regular people…… And she knows better. She is the smartest person in the room. So what is her excuse?

      And if she can’t be bothered to make promises in the primary campaign, what will be left by the General? What will she do in her first 100 days?

      And…. I honestly don’t believe the Democratic Primaries matter at all. The same people who controlled 2008 are in control now. And that was a gigantic waste of time and money. The DNC will give the nomination to who whoever they want.

      Why should I get emotionally invested at all?

      • She’s concentrating on child care and working from home and you know, I’m all on board with that. But it would have been more important to me 20 years ago.

        The bigger problem is that income instability has become the norm. At some point, you will be laid off and if you’re over 50, you may never get a job again. But people over 50 do not just magically pull it together and muddle through it. There’s more than a decade of hardship between losing a job and qualifying for Social Security at much reduced benefits.

        In fact, I’m almost paranoid enough to believe that this was the strategy to reduce SS benefits. Push all the over 50s out of the job market and they will get much less when they retire. Problem solved.

        Yeah, that’s not working for me. After all, many of us suffered for years with the child care dilemma and little time off for our kids. But just when our lives should have become easier, our careers are over.

        There’s something wrong with this picture and Hillary is not addressing it.
        I don’t like it.

        • Yeah. I don’t disagree either. She *ought* to be addressing loud and clear the impoverishment of women over 50. As well as the way the Fortune500 are hollowing out the skills of the whole country and substituting gigs on nowhere.com.

          I don’t have a TV so I may be missing things that are front and center for others. From her record and from what I read she seems much more likely to get something done for older people and for research than anybody else out there. Even if she doesn’t talk about it enough. I could be wrong on that because I don’t follow the campaigns closely enough. ??

          As for her being passionless and safe, I probably don’t have to remind anyone here what happens to any woman in public life who’s, um, “unladylike.” If she fights for the unfortunate, and I’d be willing to bet fighting for the female unfortunate would be the worst of all, then she’s scary castrating emotional untrustworthy etc. etc. etc. If she sounds like she could have stepped off the highly balanced and reasonable Op-Ed pages of the NYTimes, then she’s boring, cold, whatever, whatever, whatever. Sady Doyle wrote a very good post on the whole damned-both-ways BS that’s no news to anyone here.

          I know the whole “he’s just campaigning” argument rang very hollow when it was applied to Obama. Given his background, it couldn’t ring any other way. In her case, with her record, and given the ridiculous sexist needle she has to thread, “she’s just campaigning” actually sounds rather plausible to me.

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