Monday, February 1, 2016

Hillary News & Views 2.1: Iowa Campaigning, Reflections from Krugman, Gillibrand, and Hillary

Today's Hillary News & Views begins with coverage of the last full day of campaigning in Iowa before tonight’s caucuses.

CNN reports:
There is no sense of worry in Hillary Clinton or her campaign aides a day before Iowans decide who to caucus for on Monday night.
"We've had an amazing grassroots organizing effort," Clinton told CNN on Saturday.
"I'm so proud of all the people who have put it together and the, literally, tens of thousands of volunteers that they've enlisted."
Mike Gronstal, the Iowa Senate Majority Leader and top elected Democrat official in the state, also endorsed Clinton on Sunday at a rally in his hometown of Council Bluffs.
"They all have all the right issues on their side, but there is one of them through thick and thin who has been able to actually get things accomplished. She is the most prepared presidential candidate in the history of the world," Gronstal said of Clinton.
"If you will go caucus for me Monday night, if you will go stand up for me here, if you will be there for me, I promise you this, I will stand for you," Clinton told voters on Saturday night in Cedar Rapids. "I will fight for you through this campaign and in the White House."
What amounts to a Clinton attack now, in the closing days of Iowa?
"I know that there are lot of young people who are very attracted by the senator's proposal for free college," Clinton said Saturday. "Here is the difference. I want everybody who can't afford it to be able to have tuition with out borrowing anything. I do not believe giving free college to Donald Trump's young child is in the best interest of all hard working Americans who need help."
Politico reports:
"I've been endorsed by The Brady Campaign and yesterday in a very emotional event in Ames, Iowa, endorsed by Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, because they believe I'm the leader that they want to stand up to the gun lobby," she said on ABC's "This Week."
"The same with the Human Rights Campaign: They concluded I was the leader to protect and advance the cause of the rights of the LGBT community."
Clinton said Sunday she will not make promises to voters that she does not believe can make it through congress or be viable with the American people.
"Obviously I have big goals. I want to get to universal coverage; I want to get the economy working for everybody, not just those at the top" she said. "Get incomes rising, get women equal pay, raise the minimum wage, have a renaissance in manufacturing, move toward clean, renewable energy — I have big goals. And I tell you how I'm going to get there and how I'm going to pay for them."
"I'm not going to sit here and over-promise and under-deliver. I'm going to tell you what I know we can achieve, and that's going to take the political system we have right now, and then I intend to bring in more people, as always have," she continued.
Politico also notes that Clinton has maintained a steady pace on the campaign trail, even as the caucus nears:
With just hours to go before the caucuses Monday night, Hillary Clinton still appears to be pacing herself.
During her final three full days of campaigning in unusually balmy 40 degree Iowa weather, the former secretary of state is set to appear at a total of nine “Get out the Caucus” events across the state -- keeping the steady, measured rhythm she has maintained for weeks now on the road instead of ramping it up. 
“They started building this organization as far back as April,” said Democratic strategist Brad Anderson, who worked as President Obama’s 2012 Iowa state director and is in touch with the Clinton campaign. “They feel pretty confident they have a strong organization in place to turn their folks out. I don’t think they’re in panic mode – my sense is they feel good about where they’re at.”
The differences between the two campaign schedules are also a reflection of style and circumstance. Clinton’s events are longer in duration – she typically spends about 20 minutes working the rope line after a rally, while Sanders is known to bolt from an event after a bare minimum of interaction with his supporters. Clinton is also saddled with a long security check-in progress, while supporters can enter and exit Sanders’ events with no Secret Service swipes.
And she often meets with people before an event, behind stage. On Thursday, for instance, Clinton spent an hour with advocates from Every Child Matters before a rally at Berg Middle School outside Des Moines. On Saturday, she stopped by Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines to speak briefly at African-American festival called “I’ll Make Me a World in Iowa.”
"Our schedule reflects our imperatives," said spokesman Nick Merrill. "From the start, we've put a premium on campaign days that allow her to get out, listen to people, share her message, and have as many one on one conversations with voters as possible. It's a strategy that has allowed her to learn a lot about what's on Iowans' minds, and in these final days thank them, with the hope of earning their support.”

 While Clinton rallied for votes this weekend, her campaign manager went canvassing for them.

Bloomberg Politics reports:
Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager could’ve spent Saturday afternoon holed up in headquarters, shuttling around the state with the candidate or schmoozing politicos in the lobby of the Marriott. Instead, he was making his way through a solidly middle class Urbandale neighborhood, checking in with committed supporters.

“Hey! My name’s Robby. I’m here with Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” he says once it's clear that the person answering the door is the person on the list of confirmed supporters that he picked up from a nearby field office, just as any volunteer would. “I was just coming by to remind you about the caucus on Monday.”
Though two Bloomberg journalists spent about 45 minutes watching Mook visit 15 houses on a gray but warm-for-January afternoon, it wasn’t just a photo-op. He would’ve been doing this without reporters watching him and planned to do it again on Sunday and Monday, schedule permitting.
With the race so tight, both campaigns are determined to get their low-hanging fruit – committed supporters – to caucus sites. The Sanders campaign said its volunteers knocked on close to 77,000 doors on Friday and Saturday, while the Clinton campaign knocked on more than 125,000 doors over the weekend. 
“Part of this is just simply having a human interaction where we remind them," Mook says while walking along a winding residential street that changed names three times in the span of a few dozen houses. “But a really important part of this is actively making a plan with them. So if I get someone in person, I want to make sure that they’ve made sure they’ve thought about where they’re gonna leave from to go to the caucus, how they’re getting there and if they’re bringing anyone with them. We know that if they have a plan in place, they’re more likely to show up.”

For him, it's the culmination of nine months of work. Voting records, visits and phone calls have helped the campaign identify supporters. "So much work went into making this list over the summer and fall," he says.
Before it's clear who's potentially a supporter, "those are tougher doors to knock." Now, "they’re happy to see you," he says. "In fact, if anything, they’re a little bit frustrated because we’ve talked to them so many times."
“Another one?” one woman asks after Mook appears at her doorstep, but she still listens as he double-checks to make sure she has a plan to get to her caucus site.
"As a campaign manager, that is a really good problem to have. I want to hear that they’ve heard from us a bunch," Mook says.

In the last couple of days, Paul Krugman has written some of the sharpest analysis of the primary race.

Here are his pre-Iowa thoughts:
I’m sure I’m not the only one to notice: even among progressives, the two-decade-plus smear campaign against the Clintons has had its effect. I keep being told about terrible things the Clintons did that never actually happened, but were carefully fomented right-wing legends — except I’m hearing them from people on the left. The sense that where there’s smoke there must be fire — when the reality was nothing but Richard Mellon Scaife with a smoke machine — is very much out there, still.
Unfortunately, that underlying Foxification of perceptions marries all too well with the tendency of some — only some — Sanders supporters to assume that any skepticism about their hero’s proposals or prospects must reflect personal corruption. Something like that was probably inevitable in a campaign whose premise is that everything is rigged by the oligarchy, but it interacts with the vague perception, the product of all those years of right-wing smearing, that there’s a lot of Clinton dirt.
On the other hand, that history is, I think, one factor behind a phenomenon we saw in 2008 and will see again this year: there’s a lot more passionate support for Clinton than either Sanders supporters or the news media imagine. There are a lot of Democrats who see her as someone who has been subjected to character assassination, to vicious attacks, on a scale few women and no men in politics have ever encountered — yet she’s still standing, still capable of remarkable grace under fire. If you didn’t see something heroic about her performance in the Benghazi hearing, you’re missing something essential.
And Clinton’s dogged realism, while it doesn’t inspire the same kind of uplift as Sanders’s promise of change, can be inspiring in its own way.
There’s no enthusiasm gap — it’s just different forms of enthusiasm.
And one of his best columns in recent memory, “Plutocrats and Prejudice”:
Like many people, I’ve described the competition between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders as an argument between competing theories of change, which it is. But underlying that argument is a deeper dispute about what’s wrong with America, what brought us to the state we’re in.
To oversimplify a bit — but only, I think, a bit — the Sanders view is that money is the root of all evil. Or more specifically, the corrupting influence of big money, of the 1 percent and the corporate elite, is the overarching source of the political ugliness we see all around us.
The Clinton view, on the other hand, seems to be that money is the root of some evil, maybe a lot of evil, but it isn’t the whole story. Instead, racism, sexism and other forms of prejudice are powerful forces in their own right. This may not seem like a very big difference — both candidates oppose prejudice, both want to reduce economic inequality. But it matters for political strategy.
If the ugliness in American politics is all, or almost all, about the influence of big money, then working-class voters who support the right are victims of false consciousness. And it might — might — be possible for a candidate preaching economic populism to break through this false consciousness, thereby achieving a revolutionary restructuring of the political landscape, by making a sufficiently strong case that he’s on their side. Some activists go further and call on Democrats to stop talking about social issues other than income inequality, although Mr. Sanders hasn’t gone there.
On the other hand, if the divisions in American politics aren’t just about money, if they reflect deep-seated prejudices that progressives simply can’t appease, such visions of radical change are naïve. And I believe that they are.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand writes for Medium about how Hillary inspired her to get “Off the Sidelines,” and encourages voters to do the same:
A big part of my Off The Sidelines campaign is to encourage women to run for office themselves, so we can have more women in positions of power at every level of government. For Off The Sidelines, this means supporting progressive women candidates running for office around the country, from State Senate to the U.S. Senate — and, of course, for President.

So this year, I couldn’t be more proud that Off The Sidelines is supporting my friend and mentor Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.

In 1995, as a young corporate lawyer in New York City, I watched as Hillary gave that famous speech in Beijing, literally raising her voice on behalf of women and girls around the world. Hillary’s speech made me ask myself, “What am I doing to make the world a better place?” I wondered, why wasn’t I at that conference in Beijing? I knew that if I truly wanted to make a difference, I had to be involved in politics. I decided to join a women’s democratic group, and at my first event, Hillary was our speaker. 

She said, “decisions are being made every day in Washington that impact you, and if you don’t like those decisions and the outcomes, and you’re not involved in making change, then you have no one to blame but yourself.”
Even though I was in the far back of the room, I felt as though she was speaking directly to me.

So now, it’s my turn.
It’s my turn to raise my voice, to support the woman I believe is most qualified and most prepared to be President in 2016. I am so excited to support Hillary, not simply because she is a woman with the qualities, values, and experience we need to lead our nation, but because I know she will fight for all of us. I know Hillary will fight for the issues most important to me and to so many women and families all around the country, including
So, to Democrats around the country, from Iowa to New Hampshire and beyond, I urge you to raise your own voices this year by voting for the person who shares your values and who will fight tirelessly for you and your family.
I know, for me, that candidate is Hillary Clinton.
Tom Vilsack has some thoughts about enthusiasm.

The New York Times reports:
“I think there is a different kind of passion that fuels the Clinton campaign,” Mr. Vilsack said. “It’s not the rah-rah, big rally, yelling screaming type of passion. It is the passion of perseverance.”
He said Iowa women, in particular, recognize that sense of perseverance in working for a better future for their families, and he predicted that their support would help Mrs. Clinton emerge from the caucuses victorious.
“They are not going to be doing high-fives and all that kind of stuff,” he said, “but they are going to be there on caucus night.”
The Atlantic reports that Clinton’s women donors might permanently change politics:
“I’m very proud that for the first time, a majority of my donors are women, 60 percent.” Hillary Clinton has repeated versions of this statement during numerous public appearances, including at a Democratic debate last November. It’s not just a talking point; the number is a remarkable figure—and an unprecedented one—with implications beyond the success of Clinton’s own campaign. Across both the Democratic and Republican parties today, more than 70 percent of political donors continue to be men. The gender breakdown of Clinton’s donors indicates that women can be harnessed as a powerful force in a part of the political process where they’ve historically been underrepresented. In fact, their contributions have the potential to radically change the composition of candidates running for office—and ultimately that of elected officials.
According to Reeher and Jessica O’Connell, the executive director of Emily’s List, there are two key drivers behind the rise in women donors, especially for Clinton. First, for many, supporting Clinton represents a chance to make a social statement and elect the nation’s first woman president. Second, but equally as important, women voters see backing Clinton as a way to make women’s issues—including equal pay, paid family leave, and access to health care—priorities. “Issues that impact women are front and center,” says O’Connell, “which is why we’re seeing more women step up to ensure more women’s voices are at the table.”
Clinton’s history of speaking out on women’s issues, on a national scale, can be traced back for decades, a legacy that has made her, “emblematic of being a woman in politics” with “an identity that’s about breaking gender barriers,” says Reeher. “When Hillary went to Beijing as first lady and said women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights, that was such a breakthrough on the world stage,” notes Glenna Matthews, the co-author of Running as a Woman: Gender and Power in American Politics. Additionally, she says, “[W]omen have learned that women’s issues are the most salient to women politicians. At crunch time, if something has to give, it’s been women’s issues.” Matthews cites empirical research that backs up this belief and demonstrates that women in Congress are much more likely to reliably support and sponsor legislation related to women’s issues compared with their male counterparts.
In closing out the final HNV before voting begins, I was going to write something reflective.
But then Clinton did it instead, and hers is way better, so here you go:
Back in April, I began my journey as a presidential candidate with a visit to Iowa.
Today—nearly 10 months and 160,000 miles of travel later—our campaign has come full circle: America’s first voters are about to begin electing our next president. From the very beginning, I wanted this campaign to be a little different. So instead of kicking things off with a big speech, we headed out to talk directly with people—in coffee shops, at churches, in backyards, at community colleges, and yes, at a Chipotle in Maumee, Ohio.
What I heard in those early days—and every day since—has stuck with me. People have shared their hopes and their worries. But even as they talked about the challenges their families, businesses, schools, and communities are facing, there was a sense of positive possibility.
Those conversations have informed me and helped shape this campaign. They’ve made me a better candidate. And I believe that, thanks to everyone I’ve met, I will be a better president—someone who truly understands what we need to do to give our kids and grandkids a better future.
When I started running for president, I didn’t know that some of the issues I’ve been talking about would end up front and center in my campaign. I knew I’d present my vision for where our economy should be in the 21st century. I knew we’d talk about national security, about how we can build on and improve the Affordable Care Act, and about my proposals to support small businesses, raise wages, and create good-paying jobs.
Then there were the issues that simply came up again and again—like substance abuse, the rising cost of prescription drugs, and the struggle to care for loved ones who are aging or have disabilities.
And of course, some topics have come into even sharper focus over the past few months: the threat of global terror, the need to take action on gun violence, attacks on reproductive health and rights, the epidemic of violence facing the transgender community, the need to take on systemic racism and stand up to bullies, the crisis in Flint. Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve learned more about the concerns that keep families up at night—and what we need to do to solve them.
On my very first trip to New Hampshire, the subject of addiction came up—and it kept coming up, wherever I went. I met a grandmother who is raising her grandchild, because her own daughter is struggling with substance abuse and can’t be the parent she should be. I’ve listened to moms and dads who have lost their children to addiction, and I’ve heard from doctors and counselors who are doing everything they can to save lives. As one woman told me at a discussion in Keene, “We’re not bad people trying to get good; we’re sick people that deserve to get well.” Those words have stuck with me.
I’ve heard from people who work full time as caregivers but struggle to afford care for their own children and parents. A woman named Lulu told me that she has spent 42 years doing this backbreaking work, and people constantly ask why she doesn’t just quit. She says she wouldn’t dream of it—she cares too much for her clients, some of whom live alone and have no other help or companionship.
And on one heartbreaking day in Chicago, I sat down with a group of mothers who belong to a club that no parent ever wants to join: All have suffered the loss of a child to gun violence, some at the hands of police, others at the hands of gangs, random shootings, or other senseless violence that stalks too many of our young men and women. As they handed me pictures of their beloved children, they talked about turning their grief into national action that could spare other families the pain they’ve endured. After I left, I learned that as we spoke, a 9-year-old boy was shot and killed just miles away.
I met a woman in Iowa named Bethany, a single mother of three. She is determined to create a better life for her family, and so she’s juggling a job, raising her kids, and finishing a degree at the local community college. She doesn’t expect anything to come easy, but she did ask me what we could do so that things wouldn’t be so hard.
The answer is, there’s a lot we can do—if we work together. I’ve said many times that I’m running for president to deal with the big problems, but also the problems that often go overlooked in politics. That’s why, in addition to a broad economic plan to raise incomes for middle-class Americans, I’ve introduced specific proposals for creating debt-free public college tuition, preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease, supporting families affected by autism, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and curbing the substance abuse epidemic.
The past 10 months have been inspiring and eye opening, to say the least. We have had rallies with thousands of voters and quiet moments of reflection. I’ve laid out my plans on the debate stage and answered more than 500 questions at town halls.
I’ve been proud to get to know the organizers who are building this campaign across the country. And I’m honored by the countless Americans who are lending their creativity and unique talents in support of our campaign.
The conversations I’ve had with people from Manchester, New Hampshire, to Los Angeles, California—and countless communities in between—have left me more convinced of what we have to do to address our challenges as a country.
But first things first. We have a lot of work to do to get our message out to voters across this nation—starting in Iowa.
I got into this race because I want to improve the lives of all Americans—and I’m going to continue to work my heart out. I hope you’ll join me.
Onward to Iowa.

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