The run for the White House is starting to fill up with contestants. The Republican field so far includes a Tea Party Texan, the former Governor of Florida (and newly-minted Latino), and a vitriolic anti-Wall Street eye doctor from Kentucky.
On the flip side, while it has no official candidates as of yet, the Democratic primary has felt like a fait accompli with Mrs. Hillary Clinton (D-Brooklyn Heights) casting a shadow over all other speculation.
But according to the media, that will all end this weekend.
The prolonged prologue to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s second run for the White House will reach its suspenseless conclusion on Sunday: The former secretary of state, senator and first lady is to announce that she will indeed seek the Democratic nomination for president.
She's in! Now there's a Democrat in the field ready to take up arms for the people, argue for the role of an empowered government, and defend the fattened barons of Wall Street.
Progressives groups are deeply suspicious of her on a number of issues, most notably on financial regulation and Wall Street. “The big unchecked box when it comes to Hillary Clinton is where she stands on issues related to corporate power and economic populism,” Green told me recently. “Is she willing to really challenge powerful interests when that is needed to help the whole country?”
Apparently it's an open secret in the American media that, no, Mrs. Clinton is not willing to challenge powerful special interests. In fact, she is way too close to Wall Street, ask anyone.
Lincoln Chafee on Friday continued to slam potential 2016 rival Hillary Clinton, saying she has been “a little too close to Wall Street.”
The former Rhode Island governor and senator reiterated that there will likely be many similarities in domestic policy between himself and Clinton, but said that they might differ on some economic issues.
Strong stuff from a guy rumored to be readying a run against Clinton, and someone who's taken campaign money from sources like the National Venture Capital Association and the National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors.
But still, let's look harder at Clinton's money ties (after all, there's more of it) and see where that primrose path leads us.
Clinton has long cultivated close ties to Wall Street. In the 2008 presidential election, she received more than $7 million in donations from the “Securities and Investment” industry, according to the Center for Responsible Politics. That included nearly $450,000 from JPMorgan Chase and around $400,000 each from Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Only EMILY’s List and DLA Piper, a law firm, gave more to Clinton. Other banks like Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch also gave her sizeable donations.
The money didn’t stop flowing over the past few years either. Since Clinton left the State Department, she has earned millions of dollars in speaking fees at events across the country, including ones sponsored by Wall Street. In October 2013, for instance, Clinton gave two speeches at Goldman Sachs, which, if Goldman paid her customary speaking fee, netted her a cool $400,000.
Goldman and Citi and JP Morgan, oh my!
It seems like Hillary's Sunday announcement really is the win Wall Street's been waiting for after having to deal with all these genuine anti-finance candidates announcing in the past two weeks.
But Hillary's amorphous "closeness" comes with some downside.
The fact that Goldman gave Hillary money to speak is apparently going to be a huge chink in the armor for her candidacy. It will be a fun topic for populist rage machines like Ted Cruz to stab at, as long as he - and the reporters covering him - can forget that Goldman paid his health insurance for a few years there.
Anyway, Sunday is a big political win for Wall Street, it's a done deal that she's in the pockets of the big banks and this is how the next year and a half is going to play out.
None of this is certain, of course. Clinton's campaign is just beginning, and she could shock the U.S. political world by swinging to the left.