By Bianca Perez | ( TeleSur
Independent Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont has stuck to his ideals throughout his campaign and has been criticized by politicians and media outlets for his message of a “Political Revolution.” Sanders has spread his ideas of racial inequality, criminal justice reform, universal healthcare and free tuition among others, as the bases of his campaign and has gained momentum among women’s groups, the youth movement and minorities with his message. Recently, a shift has been seen in his opponent, Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
The Senator pointed out during a press conference in Boston that he himself has noticed a change in Clinton’s message. “I have to say that I am delighted that Secretary Clinton, month after month after month, seems to be adopting more and more of the positions that we have advocated. That’s good” said Sanders. He added that he saw a TV ad and thought it was his ad but it turned out to be Clinton’s picture in the end. Is Clinton adopting Sanders’ language and more importantly his views?
Jeff Cohen, co-founder of the online activism organization RootsAction.org, told teleSUR that the answer is, simply put, yes. “There’s no doubt that Hillary Clinton has been borrowing issues and rhetoric from Bernie Sanders, it’s not in debate. The whole Hillary Clinton campaign, and I followed democratic campaigns since 1968, the whole Hillary Clinton campaign is different than it would’ve been if Bernie Sanders had not been in the race and everyone knows it. Hillary Clinton has never been a foe of Wall Street but if you drop down from Mars and you watch the debates, if you at least heard her rhetoric, you’d think she’s been taking on Wall Street for years.”
Many like Cohen have criticized Clinton’s tendency to change her mind during this campaign. One of the issues which she changed her mind on was the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement that includes twelve countries and that has been highly controversial in the nation. Clinton was a supporter of the deal when she was in office as Secretary of State but at the first Democratic debate of the campaign cycle said that she does not support the TPP as it stands.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is not the first issue that Hillary Clinton has changed her stance on. Over the years the candidate has altered her views on varying issues such as the Keystone XL pipeline, the economic blockade on Cuba and the Iran nuclear deal. Greg Guma, author of The People’s Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution, told teleSUR that Clinton is just saying what she needs to get votes. “She’s a pragmatic opportunistic politician, she’s saying what she needs to say on some issues and one of the real questions is, if she’s opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership today we can’t tell where she’ll be in six months or a year, with Bernie you know,” Guma said.
So why then does Clinton find that using ‘populist’ language helps her voter base? The population is tired of the current situation in the United States and candidates who advocate for low income communities, for minorities and who promise real change are what the people seek. Many recent polls have shown that the state of the economy is the number one concern for citizens in the United States, highlighting the importance of touching upon these topics at presidential debates and rallies.
The bottom line is that the Clinton campaign has found that the use of language similar to that of Sanders has helped her appeal to a broader voter base, and according to Cohen they would not be using the strategy otherwise. However, the senator only trails her by 195 pledged delegates: could her switch of stance on issues hurt her in the long run?