We Are Stronger Together, But Let’s Get to Work!

You’ve probably heard variations on a well-known slogan this year. Two I’ve heard are “Make America White Again” and “Make America Great for White People Again”.

It’s unlikely, however, that you’ve heard variations on Hillary Clinton’s slogan or even know what her slogan is. She never wears a silly hat that has it plastered on the front.


Yes, that’s it: “Stronger Together”.

I agree with the sentiment, of course, since we are stronger as a nation when we work together. But “Stronger Together” hasn’t caught on, certainly not as much as “Make America As Great As It Was For White Men In 1955”.

In fact, there were at least two articles this week that said Hillary needs a better slogan, something that would express an overarching theme, something you could put on a t-shirt or a stupid hat. The Guardian actually called their editorial “Hillary Needs a Slogan to Sum Up What She Stands For”:

Mrs. Clinton seems to have a hundred carefully costed policies but not one eye-catching slogan. She radiates a sensible incrementalism. She campaigns in prose, leaving poetry to her predecessor. This is a mistake. She needs to focus on what is driving discontent in America: an economic system that no longer defuses high levels of inequality with opportunities for all….Mrs. Clinton needs to find a resonant theme to sum up her policies: a Marshall Plan for the middle classes would not be a bad idea. Monday is her chance to show she is motivated by the common good. Mrs. Clinton should seize it.

I’m not sure many Americans could identify the Marshall Plan today, but you get their drift. A columnist for Bloomberg View contributed “Clinton Needs a Better Slogan” the very same day:

The Democratic nominee does have 40 bullet-point programs on everything from child care to mental health to the Middle East. But she has no memorable rallying cry to capture her candidacy and rationale to be president.

To test that, simply ask a bunch of Clinton supporters to summarize in a sentence or two what her candidacy is about. You usually get multiple paragraphs in response.

This is more a political than a substantive issue. Slogans are no substitute for governing policies….Still, a catchphrase can be a powerful and moving expression of a candidate’s authentic ambitions.

Yes, a simple catchphrase could finally help undecided voters make up their minds between two candidates as different as Hillary and Voldemort.

So I got to thinking. What might be better than “Stronger Together”?

First, it occurred to me that Hillary has said her primary goal as President will be to get the economy working for all of us, partly by improving the labor market in a number of ways.

Second, Hillary is known as a hard worker. Even Republican politicians agree that she has a remarkably strong work ethic. Indeed, people often suggest she works too hard and needs to lighten up (all those position papers, for example).

So I came up with this:


I like “Let’s Get To Work” for several reasons.

It summarizes Hillary’s primary goal as President, an improved economy for all of us, not just those at the economic top.

It reminds people that she’s a hard worker who has lots of ideas and the energy and temperament to get things done, even to get things done with the Republicans in Congress, as she did when she was First Lady and a Senator.

It brings to mind the backlog of work to be done in Washington, all the projects and initiatives that have gone nowhere because of Republican opposition (increased infrastructure spending, a higher minimum wage, immigration reform, criminal justice reform, etc. etc.).

For older voters, it might even evoke memories of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal or, more recently, the growing economy we enjoyed during Bill Clinton’s administration. And there could hardly be a more welcome promise to the unemployed and underemployed than “Let’s Get To Work”.

I believe it’s positive, inclusive and relatively specific. Plus, it sounds less like a reaction to her opponent’s campaign of bigotry and exclusion than “Stronger Together”.

Since we’re living in the era of electronic sharing, I submitted my proposed slogan to Hillary and her campaign and also sent it soaring into the Twitter-verse. I’ve also shared it with a few live human beings of my acquaintance.

Of course, I know it’s late to fully adopt a new slogan, and so far all I’ve got back from the Clinton campaign is a form letter thanking me and encouraging me to volunteer.

But hope springs eternal! Perhaps, when Hillary offers her closing remarks on Monday night before an audience of 100 million or so people (minus me), she’ll wind up her two or three minutes with a ringing call to action: 

Let’s get to work!

Hey, maybe she’ll even cite a guy from New Jersey as the source of this new, exciting summation of her candidacy. Stranger things have happened!

And if you doubt me, consider this editorial in The New York Times from tomorrow’s paper: “Hillary Clinton for President: Our endorsement is rooted in respect for her intellect, experience and courage”. The whole thing is worth reading, but here’s the last paragraph:

Through war and recession, Americans born since 9/11 have had to grow up fast, and they deserve a grown-up president. A lifetime’s commitment to solving problems in the real world qualifies Hillary Clinton for this job, and the country should put her to work.

You can thank me after the election.

Taking a Break from Politics: How to Drive in the Left Lane

The good people at VOX have done America another service by explaining why it’s a bad idea to drive slowly in the left lane and make faster driver go around you (which I’m going to quote in full because of the importance of the topic):

You can basically split highway drivers into two groups: those who get really upset about people driving in the left lane, and those who do it all the time and have no idea what the problem is.

Every state has some kind of law restricting the use of the left lane on multi-lane roads and highways. That doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to use the left lane at all — it just means you should generally use it only to pass cars in the right lane.

Why is that the case? Even if you’re driving fast, there’s almost always someone going faster than you. So if you get back over to the right immediately after passing, that car will be able to pass you, which lets everybody to get to their destination more quickly. Otherwise, traffic builds up, raising safety risks.

The autobahn is a living testament to what our road could look like if everyone followed this rule. The German highway system boasts lower accident and fatality rates even though it has higher (and sometimes nonexistent) speed limits. It isn’t just a matter of courtesy to the people driving behind you — it’s a real question of safety.

I’ll add that it’s also a real question of reducing other drivers’ blood pressure and incidents of road rage. This isn’t to defend drivers who go way too fast or who weave in and out of traffic in order to pick up a few seconds here and there. But getting out of the left lane when you’re holding up traffic is a rule of the road we should all obey.

Plus, unless you’re extraordinarily oblivious to the world around you, following this rule will make your highway driving much more pleasurable. If you don’t believe me, here’s testimony from a real-life person (I can vouch for her trustworthiness):

This “don’t go in the far left lane unless your passing” thing has changed. My. Life.

On my morning commute, I’d usually drive in the far left lane. I’d be going pretty fast but there’d always be someone going faster, so they’d zip around me like is shown in the video.

So I started driving in the second to left lane and only getting in the left lane to pass slow people ahead of me.

What a difference! I feel like I’m better inhabiting the flow of traffic… like I’m one with the road or something.

In conclusion, here’s the brief, excellent and entertaining VOX video that’s totally changing people’s lives all across America:

But seriously, shouldn’t the Democratic platform have included a plank on how to drive in the left lane? Hillary would have picked up tons of votes from the professional truck drivers of America, as well as other concerned citizens. I’ve searched through the document (55 pages!) and there’s not one mention of traffic safety or being kind to other drivers!!!

Obama Reminds Us This Isn’t a Reality Show

President Obama spoke at a Clinton campaign rally in Philadelphia on Sept. 13. Anyone who might stay home in November or vote for someone else should watch the video. Actually, anyone who enjoys a great speech by a perceptive, honorable man should watch it.

Here he speaks about Clinton and our democracy, starting at 33:45 in the video:

“And, yes, she’s got her share of critics. And she’s been caricatured by the right and sometimes by the left. And she’s been accused of everything you can imagine, and has been subjected to more scrutiny and what I believe is more unfair criticism than anybody out here. And she doesn’t complain about it. And you know what, that’s what happens when you’re under the microscope for 40 years. But what sets Hillary apart is that through it all, she just keeps on going, and she doesn’t stop caring, and she doesn’t stop trying, and she never stops fighting for us — even if we haven’t always appreciated it.”

“And look, I understand we’re a young country, we are a restless country. We always like the new, shiny thing. I benefited from that when I was a candidate. And we take for granted sometimes what is steady and true. And Hillary Clinton is steady, and she is true. And the young people who are here, who — all you’ve been seeing is just the nonsense that’s been on TV. You maybe don’t remember all the work that she has had to do, and all the things she has had to overcome, and all the good that has happened because of her efforts.”

“But you need to remember. You need to understand this. If you’re serious about our democracy, then you’ve got to be with her. She’s in the arena, and you can’t leave her in there by herself. You’ve got to get in there with her. You can’t stay home because, you know, she’s been around for a long time. Well, you know what, this is not reality TV. Democracy is not a spectator sport.”

The full video:

Hillary Isn’t Bill, Economically Speaking

Even more than usual, coverage of this year’s election has been light on issues and heavy on nonsense. It would be great if there were more articles like this one by Mike Konczal for VOX: “The ‘New Liberal Economics’ Is the Key to Understanding Hillary Clinton’s Policies”.

He begins: 

The Great Recession and its aftermath shattered the policy consensus on economics. What would come next? It’s taken a while, but we’re witnessing the emergence of an important new vision.

He dubs this new vision the “new liberal economics” and says it’s based on these three principles:

— Inequality is not a regrettable but inevitable byproduct of an efficient economy, nor a temporary, self-correcting trend. It’s driven by policy choices, and new choices can make a difference.

— The economy will not simply bounce back from any weaknesses, as was assumed under Alan Greenspan’s Great Moderation. Rather, there are deep structural problems that include a global savings glut and unwillingness by US companies to make investments.

— “Nudging” the private market is not always the best way to deliver core goods and economic security. Deploying government services directly can be more effective.

After discussing these three principles in detail, Konczal argues that Hillary Clinton has formulated an “agenda in light of the Great Recession and the policy revolution [that] energetically incorporates these ideas”. He specifically mentions her proposals to:

  • Regulate financial activities “more broadly”;
  • Increase taxes on top earners;
  • Strengthen antitrust enforcement;
  • Put limits on drug prices;
  • Appoint members of the Federal Reserve board who will treat full employment as one of its primary goals;
  • Reduce corporate America’s fixation on quarterly earnings instead of long-term investment;
  • Initiate a long-needed $275 billion infrastructure plan;
  • Expand Social Security for poorer retires while resisting any cuts to the program;
  • Make all public colleges free for most American families;
  • Add a Medicare-like public option to the health care exchanges;
  • Support paid family and medical leave for all new parents.

Clinton’s many proposals remind me of the book her husband and Al Gore published back in 1992. It was called Putting People First and covered in detail many of the policies Clinton and Gore pursued in office. That was an exciting time to be a Democrat, because we finally had a Democratic President after 12 years of Reagan and the first Bush. We also had a Democratic Congress that worked with the new administration, an important benefit Clinton and Kaine probably won’t have.

But it’s still exciting to think about what a Clinton/Kaine administration might accomplish. Hillary Clinton is a very bright person who understands that America is different than it was in 1992. There’s more inequality, too many people in jail and welfare reform needs reforming. That’s why her agenda is more progressive than her husband’s was. The Republicans will resist, but President Hillary Clinton will do whatever she can to bring us and drag them into the 21st century.

The Clinton campaign’s many, many Issues pages begin here.

Paul Krugman Is Very Often So Damn Sensible

Okay, this isn’t specifically about Hillary Clinton’s goodness, but sometimes Paul Krugman says something so important, everybody in America ought to hear him speak.

His new blog post is in the context of Trump’s neo-birther performance yesterday, described so well in the brilliant words of journalist Greg Sargent:

Donald Trump once again urinates on the cable [networks], and once again they hold out cups to catch the precious fluids.

Prof. Krugman:

But the print media appear to have finally found their voice (which may shape cable coverage over time). The Times and the AP, in particular, have put out hard-hitting stories that present the essence in the lede, not in paragraph 25.

What’s so good about these stories? The fact that they are simple straightforward reporting.

First, confronted with obvious lies, they don’t pretend that the candidate said something less blatant, or … views differ on shape of planet — they simply say that what Trump said is untrue, and that his repetition of these falsehoods makes it clear that he was deliberately lying.

Second, the stories for today’s paper are notable for the absence of what I call second-order political reporting: they’re about what Trump said and did, not speculations about how it will play with voters.

Doing these things doesn’t sound very hard — but we’ve seen very little of this kind of thing until now.

Please read the whole thing here. It’s a blog entry, so it’s short (and very sweet).

Torn and Then Resolved

As someone said to me recently, it’s obvious that Trump is an asshole and a thug. It should be obvious to everyone.

With 53 days until the election, therefore, I’m torn between:

(1) Keeping in mind that millions of Americans are comfortable with the idea that a person as horrific as Trump should or will be President and continuing to take note of that fact;


(2) Keeping in mind that millions of Americans are comfortable with the idea that a person as horrific as Trump should or will be President and simply accepting that fact.

Option (1) sounds more painful for me personally and for anyone who reads this blog. And unlike Trump, I’ve got a conscience, so causing less pain may be the better choice. But if I pick option (2), I’ll probably be ashamed of myself. Unlike Trump, I’ve got a conscience.

While I decide what to do, here are two recent developments worth considering [Preview: I’m dumping (1) and (2) and going for option (3)!]:

The journalist Kurt Eichenwald wrote a long article for Newsweek about the Trump Organization. He points out that Trump hasn’t done any real estate development in years. Instead, he trades on his celebrity by licensing his name all over the world. The Trump Organization isn’t a real estate development company at all. Trump does own property, but much of the property with Trump’s name on it belongs to someone else.

The Trump Organization prospers by allowing actual real estate developers and other business people to put Trump’s name on their products, often in countries we don’t get along with. In addition, the details of these continuing transactions aren’t part of the public record, since the Trump Organization is privately held.

Through his company, Trump has important financial connections to businessmen, often politically connected and often shady, even criminal, in countries all over the world, including Russia, China, India, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Dubai. In Newsweek‘s words:

If Trump moves into the White House and his family continues to receive any benefit from the company, during or even after his presidency, almost every foreign policy decision he makes will raise serious conflicts of interest and ethical quagmires.

Every time President Trump makes a decision affecting any country in which his company does business, the questions will be: How does that decision affect his business interests? Did Trump receive a payoff in order to make that decision? Are America’s foreign policy and national security for sale on the international market?

In theory, Trump could sever all ties to the Trump Organization and never again derive any income from it. But he doesn’t intend to do that. He’s said his family will run the business while he’s publicizing his name from his perch in the White House. He may even operate a reality TV show from the Oval Office (he’s actually talked about this). Then, when he leaves office, his name will be bigger than ever. Eichenwald concludes:

If the company sold its brand in Russia while Trump was in the White House, the world could be faced with the astonishing sight of hotels and office complexes going up in downtown Moscow with the name of the American president emblazoned in gold atop the buildings….

Never before has an American candidate for president had so many financial ties with American allies and enemies, and never before has a business posed such a threat to the United States. If Donald Trump wins this election and his company is not immediately shut down or forever severed from the Trump family, the foreign policy of the United States of America could well be for sale.

In other news, the entertainer Jimmy Fallon had Trump on his late-night talk show yesterday. Fallon mussed Trump’s hair and the news media went wild. Helping to make a monster seem like a human being will get Fallon a mention in the history books if Trump loses and get him a night in the Lincoln Bedroom if Trump wins. Fallon should be ashamed of himself, but he’s a child who has a TV program. He wants to be popular. Let’s hope he never lives this down, but more importantly, that he never gets anywhere near the Lincoln Bedroom. 

But seriously, Trump can’t win, can he? Even though millions of Americans are comfortable with the idea that a person as terrible as Trump should or will be our next President? I still believe there are enough decent, un-brainwashed Americans to elect Hillary Clinton. She’s got a superior organization, popular politicians campaigning for her, more money, the debates are still coming up and not a single newspaper has endorsed Trump, not even one in New Hampshire that’s endorsed every Republican for the past 100 years. Believe it or not, there are even millions of voters who are still undecided.


I wrote almost all of that last night and then went to bed. On waking this morning, another option occurred to me that’s much better than (1) or (2):

(3) Keep in mind that millions of Americans are comfortable with the idea that a person as terrible as Trump should or will be President, but focus on Hillary Clinton’s admirable words, deeds and ideas instead, of which there are many.

For example, The Guardian‘s daily running coverage of the campaign quotes her speaking this morning before a black women’s group in Washington:

The good news is, my pneumonia finally got some Republicans interested in women’s health! … My instinct was, to push through it. That’s what women do every day… I think it is fair to say that black women have an even tougher road.

While your stories may not appear in the history books, you are changemakers, the pathbreakers and the ground shakers….

It goes to show that black women deserve more than a seat at the table. It’s past time that you had a chance to run the meeting….

I’m going to close my campaign the way I began my career all those years ago at the Children’s Defense Fund… I will be focused on opportunities for kids and families. The American people deserve something to vote for, not just against. 

African American women turned out to vote more than any other group of Americans in 2012. This year once again you have your hands on the wheel of history and you can write the next chapter of the American story. To rise up, but most importantly, to show up at the polls this November. With our power and strength. I know. I believe this or I would not be standing here before you… that together we can build a future, where yes, love trumps hate.

According to The Guardian, she was continuously applauded.

Lifting people up instead of tearing them down. What a concept for the politicians of America! And also for this humble blog.