Clinton is clearly attuned to what the late C. Wright Mills labeled “the power elite.” She will be particularly attentive to the needs of Silicon Valley and Wall Street, especially when it comes to approving the recent rush of mergers between media companies and among tech firms. Last month, mergers and acquisitions hit a record high.
It is illuminating that Donald Trump came out immediately against the proposed AT&T/Time Warner merger, while Clinton, the self-proclaimed progressive, has not. Since antitrust protection was invented by earlier progressives, this indifference to corporate concentration could cause a rift with her increasingly militant left flank once the Trump threat is dispatched.
One strategy to appease progressives, and their followers, might be to expand the welfare state. This would involve ever greater subsidization — following the pattern of Obamacare — for the “precariat”: millennials and service workers unable to find full-time employment, much less buy a house. Some tech oligarchs already support such things as taxpayer-supported “affordable housing” and a government-sponsored minimum income, labeling the latter “the social vaccine of the 21st century.”
The payoff for the oligarchs of such an approach would be to keep them safe from Bernie Sanders-style redistribution. Politically, an expanded welfare state could also help Hillary — and the Democrats — by adding more voters dependent on federal largesse. These would include not just those on the dole, but public employees, millennials seeking subsidized housing and free education, and professional advocates for women and minorities, who can expect ever more funding and legal support from the executive branch.