WASHINGTON, May 7, 2015 – Hillary Clinton is trying hard to frame herself as the “populist candidate,” ready, willing and more than able to serve as the voice of the real America. Truth be told, Hillary really does have a lot in common with the average American. The average American millionaire, that is.
Wall Street likes Hillary. Banks like Hillary. The 1 percent positively adore Hillary. Hillary is a millionaire, too, and so is Bill. So what’s not to love?
Let’s dust off the Wayback machine and take a short trip back to 2014. That’s the year when the former Madame Secretary famously lamented that she and Bill were dead broke and in debt when they left 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January 2001. Ironically, Hillary’s complaint is probably not really untrue based on Bill’s then mounting legal bills, not to mention the cost of maintaining a stash of expensive cigars.
However, after plunking down $855,000 that somehow materialized from nowhere, the dead-broke and in-debt Clintons were able to secure a $1.995 million real estate loan from Citibank in Y2K to buy a populist-friendly Embassy Row home in Washington, D.C.
Previously, in 1999, this emotionally strained but still Dynamic Duo somehow managed to purchase a populist mansion in tony Chappaqua, N.Y., for $1.7 million. That shrewd investment enabled Hillary to carpetbag her way to a New York U.S. Senate seat, not to mention the bonus of all that extra, air-conditioned mansion space suitable for storing those private email servers.
In other words, the preposterous claim that those hardworking, populist Clintons were dead broke or even under any financial stress at all after their generous and selfless service to their country is not only generally discounted today even by many Democrats. It’s also laughably false.
But wait! Maybe this all makes sense. After all, Hillary comes from a humble background. She is a descendant of real-life immigrants, just like your average Joe or José Sixpack. We know this because she told us so.
In fact, according to Hillary, her personal family heritage exactly parallels the struggles of today’s poverty-stricken
illegal aliens undocumented immigrants who are simply trying to get a decent job in the United States.
“I think if we were to just go around this room, there are a lot of immigrant stories,” Clinton said, according to a video of the event. “All my grandparents, you know, came over here, and you know my grandfather went to work in a lace mill in Scranton, Pa., and worked there until he retired at 65. He started there when he was a teenager and just kept going. So I sit here and I think well you’re talking about the second, third generation. That’s me, that’s you.”
Which is not quite true. Clinton’s paternal grandfather, Hugh Rodham Sr., was born in England, but her three other grandparents were born in the United States. (Politifact) But no matter. Hillary’s grasp of the actual facts is, no doubt, “sincere.”
Back on the hustings, while stumping for failed Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley, Clinton echoed President Obama’s “you did not do that,” meme, once again clearly demonstrating that her warm and empathetic heart is one with the American people.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs,” Clinton said. “You know that old theory, trickle-down economics? That has been tried, that has failed. It has failed rather spectacularly.”
But this brings up a paradox. You might think that this kind of anti-Wall Street sentiment would have sent tycoons, moguls, robber barons and millionaires scurrying away from her current campaign as fast as they could. But au contraire, mon ami. Those big bank babies want President Clinton redux.
“While the finance industry (reportedly) hates [Sen. Elizabeth] Warren, the big bankers love Clinton, and by and large they badly want her to be president.”
Many of the rich and powerful in the financial industry—among them Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein; Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman and his powerful vice chairman, Tom Nides; and the heads of JP MorganChase and Bank of America—consider Clinton a pragmatic problem-solver not prone to populist rhetoric. To them, she’s someone who easily gets the idea that we all somehow benefit if Wall Street and American business thrive.
Just to be clear, this is the same populist Wall Street that supported Mitt Romney. The Center for Responsive Politics shows that Goldman Sachs overwhelmingly supported Romney in 2012.
So why are those millionaires so hot for Hillary? Could it be that they’re kindred spirits? Is it best-of-breed identity politics? The allure of brash, big nouveau money supporting brash big nouveau money? All of the above?
Prior to the 2008 presidential shellacking Hillary endured, she and Bill liquidated their populist-sized stock portfolio where each of the Clintons held an investment of more than $100,000. Or significantly more, according to Stockpickr.com
CNBC ‘s Millionaire Survey (conducted by the allegedly nonpartisan Spectrem Poll) shows that of the 750 millionaires polled, 53 percent would vote for the former secretary of state − the “candidate of the little people” − over Republican Jeb Bush.
Widening the field to include other declared candidates, Clinton once again is first-in-class, entrancing America’s wealthiest but still populist oligarchs by grabbing 36 percent of their votes. In second place with 20 percent of the vote is Jeb Bush, followed by Sen. Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren, D-Mass., and Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., who come in at 8 percent and 7 percent respectively.
Drilling results down further, the report shows that younger populist tycoons also prefer the former First Lady as do females, with 58 percent of that demographic. Bush’s decidedly non-populist supporting barons include 49 percent of male millionaires and 42 percent of female millionaires.
But these apparently decisive approval numbers don’t necessarily mean Clinton’s return to the White House is a slam-dunk. Those high-dollar moguls also preferred Mitt Romney in 2012, with 61 percent of them saying the former Massachusetts governor “aligned” with their views, according to the Spectrem poll.
BTW, another interesting datapoint in CNBC’s Millionare Survery is that along with 65 percent of the American people 91 percent of those millionaires think the current federal minimum wage should be increased. Mercifully, no one asked America’s oligarchs how many existing employees they’d need to fire to come up with the money to pay all those dramatically increased minimum-wage salaries.
Whether you’re well off, fancy yourself a real populist or somehow reside in both camps like Hillary and her wealthy supporters, you can take the millionaires quiz right here. But be careful. It says that I would vote for Hillary. And I won’t. Will you?
Business Editor Terry Ponick also contributed to this story