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Clinton’s Education Proposal Shows Promise For Sanders’ Influence

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Clinton’s Education Proposal Shows Promise For Sanders’ Influence

Bernie Sanders Hillary Clinton Democrats

Hillary Clinton announced a new initiative Wednesday to make higher education more affordable, marking a significant shift to the left and possibly hinting at further concessions to Bernie Sanders’ young, progressive supporters.

 The past few weeks have not been kind to the notoriously stubborn Vermont senator. Reports say that he was booed by House Democrats in a meeting with them this week, and party insiders have expressed frustration that Sanders has still not endorsed Clinton — or, for that matter, formally ended his campaign.

But Clinton’s announcement, of a plan which would make in-state schools tuition-free for students with annual family incomes under $85,000, marks a clear shift in direction for Sanders’ legacy. As Clinton looks to unify the party and attract his young, liberal supporters to her side, he’s holding out to push her platform a little further to the left.

During the primary, Clinton criticized Sanders’ proposal for free tuition at all public colleges, “College for All,” arguing that its opt-in nature would be costly and create discrepancies from one state to the next. Instead, she called for more limited policies that would calculate tuition based on family income and create “debt-free” education.

Clinton’s new plan isn’t identical to Bernie’s ambitious vision, but it’s not far off, either. By raising the cap on annual family income over the next four years to $125,000, this proposal may apply to an estimated 80 percent of families. Indeed, the Los Angeles Times reported that the idea is the product of negotiations between Clinton and Sanders.

Her platform on higher education also includes a three-month moratorium that would allow young people to delay payment of their student loans, as well as year-round Pell Grants to fund low-income students taking summer classes.

Sanders praised Clinton’s free tuition plan, calling it “a revolutionary step forward” and “very, very significant” idea that combined the best of both their ideas.

It’s a far cry from the argumentative nature of their policy debates during the primary season, when Sanders slammed Clinton as a representative of “establishment politics and establishment economics.” (Meanwhile, she once countered the pro-Sanders protesters who interrupted her rallies by telling them to “read the fine print” regarding the comparative cost of their proposals.)

Sanders’ views may have more influence over education than other topics given his base’s youth, but it’s unclear how many more of his progressive policies Clinton will adopt before November. Wednesday’s proposal certainly points towards the left, though.

The stakes weren’t lost on Sanders either. Persistent as ever, he told the Wall Street Journal that despite the merits of her education proposal, “this is one issue — there are other issues.”


Photo: Democratic U.S. presidential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton wave before the start of the Univision News and Washington Post Democratic U.S. presidential candidates debate in Kendall, Florida March 9, 2016.  REUTERS/Javier Galeano



  1. Oddworld July 7, 2016

    For any Hillary supporters who have wondered why Sanders won’t quit, you got your answer. For months independent news media have been reporting that Bernie’s strategy was to move Hillary away from the center. That being said, promises and guarantees are entirely different animals. If Hillary wins as POTUS and is somehow able to keep that promise the responsibility falls on the students to produce by making the investment made by us in them meaningful. The entire college culture
    is going to have to change i.e. don’t waste the gift that has been handed to you. For some students this isn’t a problem, they already take their studies seriously but for many others college is nothing more than a byword for freedom from mom and dad.

  2. FireBaron July 7, 2016

    Two areas where inflation has grown far faster than the rest of the economy – medicine and higher education. It is getting to the point where quality medical treatment and education are only available to those best able to afford it. Yes, there will always be the “charity cases” for education (i.e. scholarship or work-study recipients), and they are made to feel as such by those who can afford to pay their own way (actually it’s their parents doing the paying), but for every Bill Clinton there will always be dozens of George W. Bushes – a legacy whose only qualifications to attend are the family name and money.

  3. itsfun July 7, 2016

    Who pays for this? The good ole working middle class?

    1. johninPCFL July 7, 2016

      Fewer wars pays for this.

      1. itsfun July 7, 2016

        We have been at war a long time now. Obama is the first President in history to be in a war all 8 years of his terms.

        1. johninPCFL July 7, 2016

          Yep. He should have fully implemented the treaty signed by GWB and pulled all of our forces from the ME. In a hundred years we’d still be arguing over who killed more Americans (terrorists or other Americans) but we wouldn’t have wasted $trillions and thousands of lives.

          1. itsfun July 7, 2016

            The ME has been in some kind of war for 2000 years and will be for another 2000 if mankind lasts that long. I hope we are not there for all 2000.

  4. Godzilla July 7, 2016

    Of course, Leftist dupes will believe Hillary the pathological liar. People never learn.

    1. CrankyToo July 7, 2016

      Yeah. You’re the smart one…

  5. harleyblueswoman July 7, 2016

    Hillary has stolen all of Bernie’s great ideas just to get elected….why mess with the fake one when you can have the real one….#StillSanders!!!!

  6. Oddworld July 7, 2016

    It’s a shame Bernie was booed by House Democrats. He deserves much better than that considering how many times he’s voted their way. I think what’s really going on here are two things. (1) Hillary is the Democrat establishment so perhaps Democrats are afraid to cross her. (2) It could be another case of firsts. The Democrats elected the first black POTUS and now they want to be the first to elect a women. Think about it, it cements the Democratic legacy considering they have been fighting against discrimination of minorities and women. You are right though, she’s pandering and it’s doubtful she’ll keep
    that promise but at least Bernie forces her to talk about it.

    1. drdroad July 7, 2016

      I think what’s ‘really’ going on here is Democrats don’t want ANYONE causing us to be served Presidentially by Donald Trump.

      1. Oddworld July 7, 2016

        I think you’re on to something. Personally speaking, I love Bernie Sanders. I’ve been following him since 2006 when he was a weekly guest on the Thom Hartman radio show. Back then he didn’t have any presidential aspirations but I believe in his value for the progressive movement. He isn’t electable for the highest office in the land though. That still didn’t stop me from voting for him in the primary’s. The problem is Bernie would be nothing more than a sitting duck as POTUS given our current political climate.

  7. Otto T. Goat July 7, 2016

    What a stupid idea.

    1. johninPCFL July 7, 2016

      Yeah. Having educated people in the US is a stupid idea. /sarc off

      1. CrankyToo July 7, 2016

        Educated citizens present an existential threat to the Greedy Old Pricks.

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