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Sanders continues to be a thorn in Clinton’s side

WASHINGTON – Hillary Rodham Clinton has made the quick pivot from fending off Sen. Bernie Sanders to stomping on presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

An underlying cause is that hitting Trump is much easier than wrestling with Sanders, his issues and the 12 million who voted for him in the primaries. Clinton’s phalanx of media pals are pretending that the Sanders campaign has shifted her campaign sharply to the left.

Really? That would be a hard adjustment. There is no similarity between Sanders’ tax and budget plans and her proposals, which essentially represent a third term for President Obama.

Sanders’ proposals look revolutionary, but only because the creeping shift toward oligarchy since 1986 make them seem that way. The armies of tax lawyers and lobbyists influencing both parties have nudged the tax burden away from the super rich onto the middle class.

And pushed the national debt toward $20 trillion, or double the amount when Obama took office.

Sanders’ proposals for the tax code and its loopholes are tectonic. He would pay for a $1 trillion menu of repairs to our roads and bridges by taxing the $100 billion a year in profits that U.S. corporations squirrel away in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress supports his estimates.

Sanders would tax Wall Street profits on stock transactions and hedge funds, which are taxed less than ordinary income, to pay for public colleges and universities becoming tuition-free. Is that such a wild idea?

No. New York’s state universities grew out of the state teachers’ colleges that were essentially tuition-free. Now, the community colleges and SUNY, bloated with overloaded administrative personnel and semi-secret foundations, and Division I teams that no student asked for, compete with private colleges to see how deeply they can gouge the public, leaving our young saddled with debt.

The political establishment here embraced these schemes for tax avoidance secretly, piece-by-piece over 30 years. Sanders would roll them back to pay for financially accessible colleges and fix our roads. His proposals are not socialistic.

Now the media establishment wants Sanders to shut up and endorse Clinton. Last Friday, Sanders said he would “probably” vote for her in November, and made it clear he is not ending his campaign. He did not endorse Clinton.

A Bloomberg poll projected a cloud over the Clinton campaign. It showed that 45 percent of Sanders’ supporters said they would not vote for Clinton, and an astonishing 22 percent of them might vote for the presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

This poll again demonstrates how distrustful much of the public is toward her. Among the questions hovering over her campaign are: If Sanders did endorse Clinton, would it make any difference to these voters? And, if she embraced Sanders’ vision for cleaning up the tax code and reforming Wall Street, would the Sanders voters believe her?

In New York State, Clinton’s credibility is not a big issue. In the closed primary on April 19, she clobbered Sanders by 290,000 votes. Some voters probably forgot her vow in her 2000 race for the Senate against Rep. Rick Lazio, R-L.I., to bring 200,000 new jobs to upstate. During her Senate term, the state lost about 30,000 jobs. That, according to state Labor Department data. Clinton years later charged off that pledge to “a little exuberance.”

Trump, opening his new resort in Turnberry, Scotland, on Friday, fielded reporters’ political questions for more than half an hour.

Clinton has not had a press conference in more than 210 days.