Wall Street Republicans' Dark Secret: If Not Jeb, Hillary in 2016

“If it turns out to be Jeb versus Hillary we would love that and either outcome would be fine."

Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton

The dark secret among Wall Street Republicans is they would much prefer a "familiar" big government progressive to an "unknown or untrusted" constitutional conservative. In other words, for many in Wall Street if they can't have Jeb Bush, they'd much prefer Hillary.

Politico’s Ben White and Maggie Haberman report that after conducting two dozen interviews, the off the record consensus amongst Wall Street Republicans is that if Jeb Bush is not the GOP candidate in 2016, Hillary would be far more aligned with their interests than the likes of Cruz or Paul.

Two dozen interviews about the 2016 race with unaligned GOP donors, financial executives and their Washington lobbyists turned up a consistent — and unusual — consolation candidate if Bush demurs, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie doesn’t recover politically and no other establishment favorite gets nominated: Hillary Clinton.

White and Haberman explain that most of the donors and big names on Wall Street have not officially backed any one candidate yet as many struggle to see any viable alternatives to Clinton. Other than the consensus first choice, Jeb Bush, in the minds of the Republican elite the other leading GOP candidates all have major flaws. Chris Christie is still haunted by Bridgegate and many others potential “Republican saviors,” like Marco Rubio, Gov. Scott Walker, and Gov John Kasich, are either “unknown or untrusted.”

Though most Wall Street Republicans would not mention it aloud, the Politico piece reports that according their interests, it is either Jeb or Hillary:

The darkest secret in the big money world of the Republican coastal elite is that the most palatable alternative to a nominee such as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas or Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky would be Clinton, a familiar face on Wall Street following her tenure as a New York senator with relatively moderate views on taxation and financial regulation.

“If it turns out to be Jeb versus Hillary we would love that and either outcome would be fine,” one top Republican-leaning Wall Street lawyer said over lunch in midtown Manhattan last week. “We could live with either one. Jeb versus Joe Biden would also be fine. It’s Rand Paul or Ted Cruz versus someone like Elizabeth Warren that would be everybody’s worst nightmare.”

White and Haberman argue that while most Wall Street GOP donors and fundraisers would not make such a statement on the record for fear of blowback—and none are suggesting they would openly back her—the "familiar" Democrat frontrunner "fills them with less dread than some Republican 2016 hopefuls."

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