Today's Hillary News & Views begins with the latest on the labor endorsement front.
AFSCME, the largest trade union of public employees in the United States, endorsed Hillary Clinton for president Friday, according a release from the group provided to CNN.
"The next president will make decisions that could make or break the ability of working people across America to sustain their families. That's why we spent the last six months engaged in the most member-focused, in-depth, and transparent endorsement process AFSCME has ever undertaken," said AFSCME President Lee Saunders.
Polling, according to Saunders, showed that nearly two thirds of AFSCME members would vote for Clinton in the Democratic primary.
The AFSCME endorsement is big for Clinton, who is coming off arguably the best three weeks of her campaign. With the endorsement, the 1.6 million members of the union will provide help on the ground in key states and will be able to back her campaign financially, too.
The national endorsement does not mean that AFSCME state chapters are compelled to endorse Clinton, but the national endorsement is the only backing that comes with organization and money, according to union spokespeople.
The union is a major player in Iowa, too, representing 40,000 public employees.Politico reports:
Hillary Clinton’s endorsement Friday by the country’s largest public employee union marks a turning point in her nomination battle as she shores up support from a labor movement that flirted in recent months with Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.
The endorsement, by the 1.3 million-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, enables Clinton to claim support from groups representing the majority of the nation’s 14.6 million union members.
Clinton’s endorsements from AFSCME, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association alone represent nearly 6 million workers. Add in the seven other national unions supporting her and the total rises to about 7.5 million.
Those other unions are: the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America; the Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association; the Union of Painters & Allied Trades; the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers; the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers; and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing, Pipefitting and Sprinkler Fitting Industry.
Clinton's speech at the Democratic Jefferson Jackson Dinner celebrated the party and kept the negativity aimed squarely at the Republicans.
Des Moines Register reports:
Hillary Clinton spent much of her Jefferson Jackson dinner speech ripping Republicans, but didn’t criticize her Democratic opponents.
“When we Democrats debate, you see something. You see us tackling the hard issues, looking for solutions to our biggest challenges,” she said, listing climate change, jobs and the cost of college.
By contrast, she said, Republicans are touting ugly and outdated ideas and arguments.
BEST MOMENT: Clinton urged Democrats to defend progress made under President Barack Obama, such as the Affordable Care Act, from attacks by Republicans.
“I sometimes wonder, when you sign up to be a Republican candidate for president, they put you in some kind of time machine. And they take you back 50, 70, 100 years. Because they keep saying the same out-of-date, out-of-touch things. We will never let the Republicans cut or privatize Social Security or end Medicare.”Boston Globe reports:
Eight years ago, Barack Obama came to the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in the key early caucus state of Iowa and delivered a barn-burning speech that jump-started his presidential campaign and paved his way to victory in the state caucuses less than two months later.
Saturday night, Democrats came together again, but it’s doubtful that any of the rousing speeches delivered by candidates Martin O’Malley, Hillary Clinton, or Bernie Sanders will have the same dramatic effect. Instead, this year’s dinner offered clear confirmation of Clinton’s advantage in the primary fight and how hard it will be for her opponents to make up ground against her.
Clinton didn’t seem much interested in Sanders or O’Malley. Though she went hard on the issue of gun control, which is the one place where Sanders’ progressive record is not so progressive, she largely ignored her Democratic rivals and reserved most of her attacks for Republicans.
This was a general election speech from a candidate who, after months of bad press, looked more confident and buoyed by a strong debate performance last week, a stronger appearance before Congress, and Biden’s announcement.The New York Times reports:
She began her campaign with small-town round tables, not big-city rallies. She pleads for Iowans to caucus for her at the end of her events. And long after the Democratic Jefferson-Jackson dinner ended here late Saturday, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill Clinton were still shaking people’s hands, as if to send a signal that they had learned a painful lesson about not taking Iowa for granted.
Her sense of assuredness was on display at the party dinner Saturday, the same gathering where eight years ago, Mr. Obama gave the best speech of the night and soon after vaulted ahead of her and the rest of the field.
Mrs. Clinton, after directly engaging Mr. Sanders at the debate this month, only obliquely referred to him. At what is the highest-profile event on the Iowa political calendar before the caucuses, she reprised her stump speech targeting Republicans. Hers was the address, her advisers said afterward, of a candidate they believe has hit her stride.Bloomberg Politics lengthily explains why Clinton is the "most likely next president."
A virulent strain of Clinton Derangement Syndrome, which scientists and Republicans thought had been wiped out at the end of the last century, is now inflicting millions of conservative Americans. Some Republicans so detest Hillary Clinton they are badly underestimating how likely she is, at this point in the campaign, to be America’s 45th president. Their denial is just as strong now as it was a month ago, before Clinton began a run of political victories that have enhanced her prospects, all while the roller derby/demolition derby that is the Republican nomination contest has continued to harm the GOP’s chances of winning back the White House.
Hillary has massive support from labor unions. The party’s most important constituency group in terms of ground troops and campaign resources is now moving decisively towards Clinton, also giving her more working-class cred and undermining one of Sanders’ strongest rhetorical plays—that she is out of touch with the economic grassroots. And long-invested unions will provide her important foot soldiers in the general election battlegrounds, as they have since time began for Democratic presidential nominees.
Hillary’s pollster knows how to find issues that test 80-20 or 70-30, and the candidate knows how to translate them on the stump. While Republican presidential candidates thrash around competing to see who can be the most anti-immigrant, pro-tax cuts for the wealthy, anti-abortion and gay marriage, and pro-climate change-denying, Clinton’s pollster and strategist Joel Benenson is busy finding topics she can talk about in a general election that garner overwhelming support from the public across the political spectrum and will put the GOP nominee on the defensive. Nothing makes a Clinton running for president more confident and effective than having mainstream boldface issues to use as a cudgel.As the New York Times notes, "Hillary Clinton Wins Again":
I keep being surprised by the astonishing degree to which Clinton’s opponents continue to underestimate her.
She is far from flawless, but she is no slouch or dummy. She is sharp and tough and resilient. She is a rock, and she is not to be trifled with.
The Clintons as a couple, and individually, are battle-hardened. They are not new to this. They are survivors. Even when they lose, they survive. No upstart congressman or woman can do more damage than has already been done and dealt with.
Why can’t these people see that? Oh well…