Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Hillary News & Views 2.16: Economic Agenda, Systemic Racism, and John Lewis

Today’s Hillary News & Views begins with some new policy proposals rolled out by the campaign.

Here are all of the details on Clinton’s new set of economic policy proposals: the “Break Every Barrier Agenda.”
Hillary Clinton’s “Breaking Every Barrier Agenda”: Revitalizing the Economy in Communities Left Behind
Hillary Clinton believes we need to break down all the barriers that hold Americans back and build ladders of opportunity for all our people. She and Senator Sanders agree that we have to get unaccountable money out of politics and stop Wall Street from ever threatening Main Street, but Clinton believes we can’t stop there. We need to focus on removing obstacles that keep wages down and make it harder for people to find good-paying jobs, especially young people. We also have to break down barriers of bigotry like the systemic racism that holds back communities of color. It’s outrageous that the children of majority­ black Flint, Michigan, have been drinking and bathing in poisoned water for almost two years because their governor wanted to save money. It’s outrageous that so many African American families live in pockets of extreme poverty and that so many families of color with good credit cannot get a mortgage. It’s outrageous that millions of undocumented workers live in the shadows. And we can’t allow rural communities from Coal Country to Indian Country to be further hollowed out by unemployment, abandonment, and addiction. We have to take on all these challenges—anything less just isn’t good enough.
At the core of Clinton’s agenda is a simple idea. Every child in America should be able to live up to his or her God-given potential. An African American child should have the same chance as a white child. Our cities should do as well as our suburbs. We don’t have a person to waste.
That’s why over the coming weeks Clinton will lay out components of a “Breaking Every Barrier Agenda” that she will fight for as President. This vision reflects her belief that we must confront all of our challenges together and deliver real results for every American by:
  • Revitalizing the economy in communities that have been left out and left behind.
  • Provide every child in America a world-class education.
  • Dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline.
  • Tackling disparities in health and nutrition.
  • Fighting for environmental justice.
These initiatives will build on Clinton’s broader agenda to break barriers holding Americans back by keeping immigrant families together, reforming our criminal justice system, ensuring full equality for LGBT Americans, expanding opportunity for women and girls, and more.
Today, Clinton is announcing the details of her $125 billion Economic Revitalization Initiative to create good-paying jobs, rebuild crumbling infrastructure, and connect housing to opportunity in communities that are being left out and left behind. She will pay for the new investments in this initiative through a tax on Wall Street—ensuring that the major financial institutions that contributed to the Great Recession are doing their part in bringing back the communities it hurt the most.
Despite the progress we’ve made under President Obama, too many communities have not seen the benefits of America’s recovery. From Flint to Albuquerque, Baltimore to El Paso, Cleveland to Chicago, there are still opportunity deserts—parts of cities, towns, and rural communities that have been cut off from jobs, investment and, all too often, hope. Clinton believes it’s time for that to change. She has been fighting for these communities her entire life, and getting results—but she’s just getting started.
As President, she will build on the progress President Obama has made and fight to empower communities with the tools they need to break the barriers holding them back by:
  • Supporting millions of new jobs and providing pathways of opportunity through a $50 billion investment in youth employment, reentry support for those formerly incarcerated, and small business. Roughly one in ten Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 is unemployed, more than twice the national average. And these numbers hide devastating racial disparities: the unemployment rate for African American teenagers is almost twice that of white teenagers, while the unemployment rate for Latino teenagers is roughly a quarter higher. Meanwhile, millions of Americans reenter society every year from our jails and prisons without the support necessary to find jobs and make a successful transition home. Clinton will invest $50 billion to create jobs in communities that are being left out and left behind. She will:
    • Invest $20 billion to support millions of youth jobs—providing direct federal funding for local programs that will put our kids to work.
    • Invest $5 billion in reentry programs for formerly incarcerated people—so that those who have made mistakes in the past have a fair shot at getting back on their feet.
    • Invest $25 billion to support entrepreneurship and small business growth in underserved communities—because small business is the engine of job growth for hardworking Americans all across the country, and that engine shouldn’t be limited by zip code.
  • Rebuilding our communities and creating good-paying jobs through a $50 billion Infrastructure for Opportunity Fund. In too many places, our neglected public transportation systems trap working families in deserts of opportunity. That means that millions of low-income Americans are burdened both by the lack of jobs in their communities and by the impediments they face in commuting to jobs elsewhere. And, as the water crisis in Flint makes so painfully clear, neglecting our infrastructure can result in tragedy for the very communities that are already being left out and left behind. Today, Clinton is announcing that she will dedicate $50 billion of her $275 billion infrastructure agenda to an Infrastructure for Opportunity Fund. Using these funds and others, Clinton will make significant new investments in public transit systems that connect the unemployed and underemployed to the jobs they need. She will rebuild crumbling water systems to safeguard the public health and save billions of gallons of drinking water. And she will work to ensure that these investments are creating jobs and opportunity for local residents and small businesses.
  • Lifting more families into sustainable homeownership and connecting housing to opportunity, through a $25 billion housing investment program. In too many communities, children walk to school down streets lined with decaying buildings or go to sleep at night under crumbling ceilings. Blight drives down home prices across the board and makes it harder to attract investment and new businesses. In others communities, skyrocketing rent weighs heavily on working families and displaces people who have lived there for generations. Across the country, many families with good credit find the door to sustainable homeownership closed. Clinton will tackle all of these challenges and empower communities with the resources they need to:
    • Support families as they save for sustainable homeownership. Clinton will support initiatives to match up to $10,000 in savings for a down payment for those who earn less than area median income. She will also reduce barriers to lending in underserved communities, support housing counseling programs, and police abuse and discrimination in the mortgage market.
    • Build more affordable rental housing near good jobs and good schools. Clinton will increase support for affordable rental housing in the areas that need it most and encourage communities to implement land use strategies that make it easier to build affordable rental housing near good jobs.
    • Overcome pockets of distress. Clinton will provide the resources necessary to overcome blight, giving communities a chance to rebuild and renew with new businesses, new homeowners, and new hope. And she will connect housing support in high-poverty neighborhoods to economic opportunity.
These proposals are motivated by Clinton’s understanding that reversing the legacy of racism and underinvestment in underserved communities will require directing more federal resources to those who need them most. That same understanding has motivated Congressman James Clyburn’s “10-20-30” concept—in which 10 percent of funds are directed at communities where at least 20 percent of the population has been living below the poverty line for 30 years or more. That’s why Clinton is committed to pursuing policies modeled on this approach.
Specifically, Clinton will:
  • Invest $20 billion to support millions of new youth jobs and provide pathways of opportunity for young Americans. Roughly one in ten Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 is unemployed, more than twice the national average. And these numbers hide devastating racial disparities: the unemployment rate for African American teenagers is almost twice that of white teenagers, while the unemployment rate for Latino teenagers is roughly a quarter higher. Youth unemployment can permanently hurt young people who face a “scarring effect” of lower wages and greater odds of unemployment for decades. And these scars also hurt the broader economy over the long-term. That’s why Clinton will launch a $20 billion initiative to create millions of new career opportunities for young Americans—including jobs, apprenticeships, and internships. Clinton will:
    • Create millions of youth jobs in hard-hit communities and communities of color through bold investments and new partnerships. Clinton will create a new competitive grant program that would provide funds from the federal government when local employers, community leaders, local colleges, and top government officials have put forward strategies and resources for youth employment. These funds would be sufficient to support millions of jobs, apprenticeships, and internships for young people across America.Grant applicants would have to conduct a feasibility analysis before receiving funds to demonstrate a local employment demand being served, and they would have to demonstrate program success by publishing performance metrics—such as the number of jobs retained or internship hours met—to continue receiving funding. This initiative will incentivize local governments to assess local job demand, to forge relationships with private employers, and to invest in the success of their programs by offering the training, mentoring, and professional support to young adults to help them succeed on the job.
    • Invest in “opportunity youth” by expanding programs that work. America has an estimated 2.3 million low-income 16-24 year olds who have never completed high school and are also out of work. These young people need our support. Clinton will scale up proven solutions like the Department of Labor’s YouthBuild program to engage these young individuals in education, training, and community service opportunities; help break the cycle of poverty and reduce recidivism; and put them on a path towards productive employment.
    • Expanding job training and apprenticeships. Clinton believes that every American—at every stage of life—should be able to learn new skills in order to seize new job opportunities. She will work to provide more robust, coherent, and accessible training programs and resources; give training providers the support they need to scale up and respond to the needs of the local workforce and employers; make the government at every level a more effective partner in bringing together workers, labor, employers and training providers to prepare workers for good jobs; and encourage employers to invest in their workers for the long-term. Clinton has proposed a new $1,500 tax credit for employers that create apprenticeships. To create additional incentives for youth hiring, she would increase the credit for employers that bring on young adults.
    • Expand the pathways from skills development to work. Clinton believes that an advanced education is critical for all young people, and that a four- or two-year degree is still right for many. Her New College Compact will ensure that, for students who do go to college, costs won’t be a barrier and debt won’t hold them back. But she also recognizes that there are new pathways to opportunity—like six-year high school-college programs; the P-Tech model for school and industry partnerships; the Career Academies model; and “linked learning” models that allow high school and community college students to get academic credit for jobs, apprenticeships and other skill-enhancing work opportunities. Clinton will support these new and innovative pathways, and she will work to build public-private partnerships between employers, colleges, community colleges, online skills programs, and secondary schools throughout the country.
  • Support formerly incarcerated individuals in entering the workforce. More than 600,000 people annually return to their communities from prison, and millions more come home following time in jail for low-level offenses. Too many of these people lack the necessary tools to succeed following release. In particular, they are often closed out of jobs for which they are qualified. Not only is this an economic issue and a fairness issue, it is a family issue too. More than half of people who are currently incarcerated are parents of minors, and half of children with parents in prison are under age ten. This mass incarceration epidemic has an explicit racial bias, as one in three black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime. Clinton believes that we must reform our criminal justice system and end the era of mass incarceration. At the same time, she also believes we must support Americans returning home from prison and jail by helping them re-enter the workforce.
    • Invest $5 billion in job programs with a proven record of success. Formerly incarcerated individuals need support both before and after release to help them quickly navigate the challenges of workplace adjustment. To ensure they have a fighting chance at getting hired and succeeding in their first post-release job, Clinton will invest $5 billion in job programs with a proven record of success. For example, she will increase funding for career and technical training within correctional facilities to expand initiatives like the Linking to Employment Activities Pre-Release program, which provides employment services to inmates during and after release. She will also expand evidence-based reentry employment initiatives funded by the Second Chance Act such as the Fortune Society and the Center for Employment Opportunities. These programs help teach formerly incarcerated individuals how to network, excel in interviews, and answer difficult conviction questions. And when they are prepared, they help them find and secure a stable job.
    • Take executive action to “ban the box.” Many employers are reluctant to hire applicants with a criminal history, even if those applicants are capable and qualified to work. In a study of male individuals in New York City, for example, a criminal record reduced the likelihood of a callback by almost 50 percent. However, research has found that employment prospects improve when applicants actually interact with a hiring manager—offering them a chance to display their qualifications before being asked about their criminal records. As President, Clinton will take executive action to “ban the box” for federal employers and contractors, so that applicants have an opportunity to demonstrate their qualifications before being asked about their criminal records. And she will require that any consideration of criminal history be job-related and that those rejected on the basis of criminal history receive both timely notice and the right to appeal.
  • Invest $25 billion to support small business and increase private investment. Small businesses create two-thirds of new American jobs, fuel innovation, and offer a crucial ladder to prosperity for hardworking entrepreneurs all across the country. But the opportunity to thrive as a small business owner is not equally open to all Americans. For example, African Americans, Latinos, and women tend to begin their businesses with about half the capital of white men—with this difference in capital actually widening as their businesses mature. Clinton wants to be the small business President for all She will fight to ensure that local small businesses can spark job creation in America’s low-income and undeserved communities. Clinton will:
    • Provide incubators, mentoring, and training to 50,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners in underserved communities. It’s far too hard for entrepreneurs in underserved communities—particularly minority and women entrepreneurs—to access the financing, training, and support networks they need to start and grow their businesses. Clinton will work to expand training programs for entrepreneurship, business skills, and certificate programs through partnerships with local business leaders, community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic Serving Institutions. She will support more business incubators in underserved areas and call on leaders in Silicon Valley and elsewhere to support new entrepreneurial talent throughout our nation. She will encourage banks, businesses, and foundations to match capital and financing to those who have successfully gone through training and incubation programs. And she will work to support the development of entrepreneurial skills among young people—even kids in high school—so they can increase both their financial and entrepreneurial literacy. These programs will help those with good ideas today become the entrepreneurs and business leaders of tomorrow.
    • Expand and make permanent the New Markets Tax Credit. The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) has helped to attract more than $60 billion in private investment in communities with high rates of poverty and unemployment since it was implemented during the Clinton Administration. In Sumter, South Carolina, for example, the NMTC is supporting a new manufacturing plant that will bring 1,600 new jobs. Clinton is committed to making the NMTC permanent, doubling the amount of credits available to low-income communities, and adding new credits for communities hardest hit by decline. These enhancements to the NMTC will encourage greater investment into communities that need it most.
    • Expand federal funding for small businesses through the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) are delivering between 65 and 90 percent of loan volume to historically underserved groups, like low-income and minority borrowers. Clinton will double Treasury’s CDFI Fund to invest in small business growth and expand funding for CDFI partnerships with responsible online and alternative lenders. This would enable the federal government to reach more small business owners and entrepreneurs who traditionally struggle with raising capital from traditional financial institutions.
    • Expand federal funding for small businesses through the State Small Business Credit Initiative. The Small Business Jobs Act in 2010 created the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), providing $1.5 billion to new and existing state programs that support private-sector lending to, and investment in, small businesses and manufacturers. To be eligible for funds, a state must demonstrate a reasonable expectation it would be able to leverage each dollar from the federal government to generate $10 in new small business lending or investing. Clinton will double funding for the SSBCI and expand it to include training and counseling programs that focus on minority- and women-owned small businesses.
    • Enforce the Community Reinvestment Act to ensure that large banks serve small businesses in hard-hit and underserved communities. Clinton will work to enforce the Community Reinvestment Act to ensure that large and regional banks are serving small business customers, including small businesses in low-income and minority communities.
Building on the above proposals, Clinton will put forward a comprehensive small business agenda during this campaign. Her agenda will include bold measures to provide tax relief and simplification, cut red tape, increase access to capital, open up new markets, and ensure equal opportunity for women and minority small business owners.
Clinton has put forward a comprehensive, $275 billion infrastructure plan, including a $25 billion infrastructure bank, to make much-need improvements across America. And today she is announcing that $50 billion of this total will be allocated to an Infrastructure for Opportunity Fund dedicated solely to creating economic opportunity in underserved communities. Using these funds and others, Clinton will:
  • Connect more Americans to opportunity through investments in public transit. Lack of public transportation can make it impossible for many low-income communities to access employment, health care, education, and other necessities—creating a huge barrier as these Americans attempt to build better lives. Clinton will prioritize and increase investments in public transit and ensure that these investments are connecting the unemployed and underemployed to the jobs they need.
  • Make infrastructure investments that protect the environment, enhance public safety, and improve quality of life. Clinton will make substantial investments in rebuilding crumbling drinking water and wastewater systems—saving billions of gallons of drinking water, cutting energy costs, and safeguarding public health. And she will support bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in our cities—reducing carbon emissions, improving public health and safety, and further providing Americans with affordable transportation options.
  • Connect more Americans to opportunity in the digital economy. Clinton believes that high-speed Internet access is not a luxury; it is a necessity for equal opportunity and social mobility in a 21st century economy. That’s why she will finish the job of connecting America’s households to the Internet, so that by 2020 every household in America will have access to affordable broadband. And that’s why she will push forward on the Obama Administration’s ConnectEd agenda, ensuring that urban and rural public schools have the high-speed broadband they need to allow their young people to participate in personalized learning and reach of the Internet from their desks.
  • Support “Modernize Every School” Bonds. In November, Clinton announced her plan to reauthorize the Obama Administration’s hugely successful Build America Bonds program, which broadened the market for municipal borrowing by attracting new sources of capital that do not receive benefits associated with traditional tax-exempt debt. She also put forward an innovative “super-BABs” proposals that would provide even greater federal government support than would otherwise be available for deserving projects. Today, Clinton is announcing that, as part of her “super-BABs” initiative, she would create “Modernize Every School Bonds” that will double the BABs subsidy for efforts to fix and modernize Title I schools—from increasing energy efficiency and tackling asbestos to upgrading science labs and high-speed broadband.
  • Put more infrastructure money in the hands of local governments. Federal infrastructure investment provides a crucial source of support and growth for America’s cities and local communities. But federal infrastructure funding is overwhelmingly funneled through state governments—sometimes producing unnecessary delays, administrative costs, and red tape. Clinton believes that we need to find ways to give local governments more direct access to the federal funding on which they rely. She will increase funding for competitive programs like the Department of Transportation’s TIGER and TIFIA programs and ensure that such funding is available to communities of all sizes. And she will launch a pilot program to explore new ways of getting formula funding, including formula highway funds, directly into the hands of local governments, while linking these distributions to performance measures and transparency standards. Applications for participation in the pilot would be open to join proposals from state and local leaders.
  • Cut red tape. Clinton understands that it’s simply not enough to invest more in our infrastructure: we need to be more efficient in the way we make these investments. Clinton will work to streamline our bloated federal permitting system to increase transparency and remove barriers to investment in the communities that need it most. These reforms would do more than save taxpayers money—they would encourage private capital currently sitting on the sidelines to invest in a better future for communities being left out and left behind.
Too many communities today remain pockets of distress, in which concentrations of abandoned buildings and poverty cut entire neighborhoods off from jobs, from commerce, and from hope. Clinton will empower underserved communities with the resources and flexibility they need to connect housing to economic opportunity. She will:
  • Revitalize communities being dragged down by physical decay. In many communities, the first step in revitalization is removing the physical decay that holds back prospects of renewal. The Obama Administration has tackled such blight through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the Hardest Hit Fund, which have helped cities like Detroit and Cleveland begin to address these challenges. But Congress has not made nearly enough resources available through these programs to approach the scale of the challenges we face. Clinton’s anti-blight initiative will strengthen and expand on these efforts:
    • Give local governments the resources and flexibility they need to make a major impact. Clinton will give local communities the resources and flexibility they need to make scalable, multi-block investments to turn around decaying areas—because while tearing down blight itself brings real social and economic benefits, our goal should be to rebuild and rehabilitate in its place. This is not only the right thing to do: it’s also smart economic policy, as these investments return multiples in the form of higher property values, job creation, and economic prosperity.
    • Provide funding to address both commercial and residential blight. Too often, communities have been unable to use federal resources to address commercial blight, leaving them unable to address pockets of distress that serve to discourage investments in Main Street. Clinton’s plans will allow communities to expand their efforts to help revitalize commercial districts as well as residential neighborhoods.
    • Ensure that job creation stays in the community. Clinton will support strategies to overcome blight that ensure that local workers and opportunity youth are employed in the project attacking blight—and that labor is not all brought in from the outside.
  • Connect housing support in high-poverty neighborhoods to economic opportunity. Today, by tying support for subsidized housing to high-poverty neighborhoods cut off from commerce, we too often force poor families to live in the very conditions that make escaping poverty most difficult. Rather than helping these families break the cycle of poverty, we’re reinforcing it. Clinton will instead link our housing assistance programs to policies that connect their recipients to economic opportunity. This means both connecting housing support to efforts to improve the health of communities, and strengthening programs that give families a choice in where they live:
    • Connecting housing assistance to community development. Clinton will build on the Choice Neighborhoods and Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative programs, both of which provide communities with support for housing as part of a multifaceted strategy to address the complex challenges of poverty. She will make resources available for economic development, health care, environmental improvement, and more.
    • Giving recipients of assistance more choice. Clinton will work to expand the choices that recipients of housing vouchers have in deciding where to live. Today those with vouchers must often choose among the very pockets of poverty the vouchers are intended to allow them to leave. Clinton believe we should expand their range of options to include neighborhoods with more jobs and better schools.
  • Remove barriers to sustainable homeownership. Homeownership is about more than just owning a home. It is about putting roots down in a community with better schools, safer streets and good jobs. And it is about building wealth, as homeowners build equity in their home one mortgage payment at a time. But this opportunity is increasingly out of reach for too many families, particularly families of color. Today in America, 42 percent of black households and 47 percent of Latino households own a home, while the homeownership rate among white households stands at 72 percent.We must make sure that everyone has a fair shot at homeownership. And Clinton believes strongly that we must not do this by lowering the standards of the market to reach families not prepared to become sustainable homeowners. Instead, we should lift more families up to enter a housing market that remains strong and inclusive. To put more families in a position for sustainable homeownership, Clinton will empower local communities to take four critical steps:
    • Help responsible homeowners save for a down payment. Hard-working families of modest means often find that saving the money needed for a down payment on their first home presents an insurmountable barrier to homeownership. So Clinton’s plan will provide funding for initiatives in underserved communities to match up to $10,000 in savings for responsible homeowners who earn less than area median income to put towards a down payment on a first home. This will both incentivize savings and put the opportunity of homeownership within the reach of more families living in communities that will be well-served by more homeowners.
    • Support counseling programs for the significant financial commitment of homeownership. Clinton will increase funding and broaden credit terms for housing counseling programs shown to help borrowers become sustainable homeowners.
    • Update underwriting tools to reflect today’s job market. To better equip government agencies to assess credit risk in today’s increasingly dynamic economy and broaden the pool of credit-worthy borrowers eligible for a loan, Clinton will push them to use the new generation of credit testing tools.
    • Clarify the rules of the road to expand access. Lending in many communities, particularly communities of color, has been held back by uncertainty over the rules of the road. Clinton will give every government agency that supports mortgage lending 90 days to present a plan to clarify their lending requirements. With this clarity, good lenders will finally have the confidence to make loans to all sustainable borrowers, and bad ones will think twice before violating the rules.
    • Defend the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Clinton believes we must never again allow borrowers to be taken advantage of in the rush for corporate profits. Even before the crisis, Clinton pledged to create a “Financial Product Safety Commission,” like the Dodd-Frank Act’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), to crack down on abusive and predatory lenders and to protect consumers. As President, Clinton will defend the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and make sure that it has the independence and resources needed to provide families across the country with the strong advocate they deserve.
    • Enforce fair housing and fair lending laws. Clinton will make sure that the Department of Justice enforces fair lending and fair housing laws and will work closely with regulators to make sure that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the nation’s lenders meet their responsibility to provide lending in communities that have been historically underserved.
  • Check the skyrocketing rise of rental costs in areas of opportunity. Nearly half of all renters between age 25 and 34 pay 30 percent or more of their monthly income on rent, and one-fourth pay over half of their income on rent. High rents not only weigh heavily on the pocketbooks of these families but often displace entire communities in the face of local growth. There is simply not enough affordable rental housing in many parts of the country to keep up with new demand, driving prices in these areas to a level that is unaffordable for large segments of the population. To tackle this problem, Clinton will increase the supply of affordable rental housing by increasing incentives for new affordable rental housing development and easing the local barriers to building affordable housing in areas of economic opportunity:
    • Reducing the cost. Clinton will defend the current supply of Low Income Housing Tax Credits and provide additional credits in communities where the demand for these credits far exceeds the supply. The additional credits will be allocated through a competitive process to those cities and states that are in the best position to use them effectively.
    • Easing local barriers. Clinton will encourage communities to implement land use strategies that make it easier to build affordable rental housing near good jobs by increasing funding available to those that do through both her infrastructure bank and competitive grant programs, like the Department of Transportation’s TIGER initiative.
Clinton answered some specific questions regarding criminal justice reform for The Huffington Post.
1. In your view, should the primary goal of incarceration be rehabilitation or punishment?
I believe there should be consequences for committing crimes, and I also believe that we are a nation of second chances and should strive to live up to that ideal. That means taking a rehabilitative approach to justice, particularly for children, including employing alternatives to incarceration where appropriate. It also means, for example, reforming mandatory minimum sentences so we are not sending people to prison longer than is necessary or useful. And for those who are given a second chance (and for the health and safety of the communities to which those individuals will return), we should ensure that those who suffer addiction or mental health problems receive proper treatment and that individuals have access to effective programs in prison to prepare them for success when they return home. Too often, the reentry pathway is littered with barriers, rather than paved with a fair opportunity for success.
2. The United States makes up less than five percent of the world's population, yet incarcerates nearly a quarter of the global prison population. In your view, are too many, too few, or about the right number of people incarcerated in the U.S.? What is the proper role of the federal government, in your view, in reducing incarceration levels?
We need to end the era of mass incarceration in America. Too many people are going to prison for too long, and families are being torn apart. Billions of taxpayer dollars are being spent to keep nonviolent offenders in prison. Our criminal justice system is out of balance and, as President, I will work to implement meaningful criminal justice reform.
We need to address excessive federal mandatory minimum sentences that keep nonviolent drug offenders in prison for longer than is necessary and the racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system. I will work to cut mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses in half, apply the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 retroactively, eliminate the sentencing disparity for crack and powder cocaine, and reform the "strike" system to focus on violent crime.
We also must prioritize treatment and rehabilitation -- rather than incarceration -- for low-level, nonviolent drug offenders. Over half of state prison and local jail inmates suffer from a mental health problem, and up to 65 percent of the correctional population meets the medical criteria for a substance use disorder. I will ensure adequate training for law enforcement for crisis intervention and referral to treatment. I will also direct the attorney general to issue guidance to federal prosecutors on prioritizing rehabilitation and treatment over incarceration for people who commit low-level, nonviolent crimes and also suffer addiction or mental health problems.
In addition, I believe we should end the privatization of our prisons. We should not contract out this core responsibility of the federal government to private corporations. It creates private 2 industry incentives that may contribute -- or have the appearance of contributing -- to over-incarceration.
3. How do your religious views inform your approach to criminal justice?
I am a person of faith. I am a Christian and a lifelong Methodist. My study of the Bible and my many conversations with people of faith have led me to believe that the most important commandment is to love the Lord with all your might, and to love your neighbor as yourself. My faith has informed my commitment to social justice and public service, as well as my belief that to the extent possible, our criminal justice system should take a rehabilitative approach to justice, particularly for children.
I support alternatives to incarceration for low-level, nonviolent offenders, and I believe we should invest in specialized drug courts and youth programs that work to the betterment of individuals and communities. I believe we should make a real commitment to reentry programs, so that individuals released from prison can have a new chance to succeed. And throughout my career, I have worked to remove barriers and create pathways to employment, housing, and health care for disadvantaged communities.
4. Are there any specific experiences that you or anyone close to you have had that inform your views on criminal justice?
The inequities that persist in our criminal justice system undermine the shared vision of what America can be and should be. I learned this firsthand as a young attorney just out of law school, working for the Children's Defense Fund. One of my earliest assignments was to go to South Carolina to investigate the problem of youths being incarcerated in adult jails. And as director of the University of Arkansas School of Law's legal aid clinic, advocating for prison inmates and low-income families, I saw how families can be torn apart by excessive incarceration and the toll it takes on children growing up in homes shattered by poverty and prison. Through my work, I came to see how our legal system can be stacked against those who have the least power and are the most vulnerable. These early experiences moved me to devote my career to advocating for children and families that are too often left behind and communities too long neglected.
5. Do you support policies that require felons to check a box on job applications, or prohibit them from voting or from living in or visiting certain areas?
This year, the number of people released from state or federal prison will reach approximately 600,000. For those given a second chance, and for the health and safety of the communities to which those individuals return, the reentry pathway must not be littered with barriers, but rather paved with a fair opportunity for success. That is why, as President, I will take executive action to "ban the box" for federal employers and contractors, so that applicants have an opportunity to demonstrate their qualifications before being asked about their criminal records. As a Senator, I introduced legislation that would restore voting rights to individuals who have served their sentences, and as President, I would continue to support such legislation.
6. Do you support a ban on solitary confinement? (For all adults? People under age 18 in adult or juvenile facilities? People with mental health issues?)
President Obama recently announced a series of executive actions to end the use of solitary confinement for youth and low-level offenders in the federal prison system and to significantly reduce the use of the practice for adults. In an extensive report, the Department of Justice found that solitary confinement is overused and has the potential for devastating psychological consequences, especially for youth and individuals suffering from mental illness. I applaud President Obama for his action and for sharing the story of Kalief Browder, a young man who took his own life after spending nearly two years in solitary confinement. As President, I will ensure President Obama's efforts are fully implemented. I will end the practice of placing youth in solitary confinement in the federal system, expand the Bureau of Prisons' ability to divert inmates with serious mental illness to mental health treatment programs, and support the reduction of solitary confinement as a punitive measure.
7. Do you support placing youth under 18 in adult prison facilities?
As a young attorney just out of law school, I worked for the Children's Defense Fund and one of my earliest assignments was investigating the problem of youths being incarcerated in adult jails in South Carolina. Many of the 14- and 15-year-olds I interviewed were in jail for minor transgressions. Some were in jail for serious offenses. But none should have been sharing cells with adults. Through my work, I came to see how our legal system can be -- and all too often is -- stacked against those who have the least power and who are the most vulnerable. I support keeping youth out of adult prisons, and as President, I will work with states to ensure they meet their requirements under the Prison Rape Elimination Act and the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.
8. In your view, what are the primary reasons why the United States has seen historically low levels of violent crime in recent years?
Researchers have found that there are many causes behind the decline of violent crime over recent decades, including social, economic, and environmental factors. And we also know that jurisdictions have experienced a decline in crime, even as they adopted community-policing approaches or reduced their prison populations. We should continue to invest in community-driven strategies that build on the foundations of success, including education, job training, and childcare, while at the same time focusing on reducing violent crime in places that are not experiencing steady decline and tackling the scourge of gun violence that plagues our communities.
9. Do you believe in the so-called "Ferguson effect"? If so, how do you define it?
I agree with President Obama that we haven't seen hard evidence of a so-called "Ferguson effect." And I think we are ill-equipped to have the discussion because as a nation, we aren't collecting the full data we need on crime and policing. We can do better in this regard, and it's why I support collection and reporting of robust national data on policing to inform policing strategies and provide greater transparency and accountability. We need to work to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they protect and serve. Our country's law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to keep communities safe, and we need to support them and create conditions for their success. We also need to ensure accountability and transparency in law enforcement, to ensure that every member of the community benefits from fair and equal public safety. I believe that everyone in every community benefits when there is respect for the law, and when everyone in every community is respected by the law.
10. Do you believe that police departments generally hold their officers accountable for misconduct? Do you support civilian oversight?
Our country's law enforcement officers risk their lives every day to protect our communities. They deserve our respect, our support, and the best available training and technology to do their jobs safely and effectively. At the same time, the tragic deaths of Walter Scott, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, and other lives taken too soon reveal unmistakable truths about ongoing challenges we face in our criminal justice system.
I believe that effective policing and constitutional policing go hand-in-hand -- we can and must do both. I support community-police collaboration in producing public safety and civilian oversight mechanisms. As President, I will also work to promote effective, accountable, constitutional policing by, for example, making new investments to support state-of-the-art law enforcement training programs on issues such as implicit bias, use of force, de-escalation, alternatives to incarceration, and officer safety and wellness; supporting legislation to ban racial profiling by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials; creating national guidelines for use of force; providing federal matching funds to make body cameras available to every police department in America; and working to collect and report robust national data on policing to inform policing strategies and provide greater transparency and accountability.
11. The federal government gives local law enforcement millions of dollars in grants each year. Do you believe that law enforcement agencies should be required to meet certain standards in order to receive federal funds?
I believe that any law enforcement agency that receives federal funding must ensure effective and constitutional policing, and that the federal government has a role to play in helping to achieve those goals. That is why I support, for example, making new investments in state-of the-art law enforcement training programs at every level; creating national guidelines for use of force; and working to collect and report national data on policing to inform policing strategies and provide greater transparency and accountability, including robust state and local data on issues such as crime, officer-involved shootings, and deaths in custody. Federal funding should help facilitate these kinds of reform efforts and ensure their success. 
12. Do you support federal funding for police body cameras? Should all police officers be required to wear body cameras?
I believe that every police department in the country should have access to body cameras to increase transparency and accountability on both sides of the lens. That is why as President, I will provide federal matching funds to make body cameras available to every police officer in America, and ensure appropriate standards and safeguards to ensure effectiveness and protection of civil liberties.
13. In your view, will body cameras have more of an impact on the behavior of police officers or the public?
I believe that body cameras benefit both police officers and the public and, while not a panacea, can play a role in rebuilding trust between police officers and the public by increasing transparency and accountability. Cities across the country have successfully implemented body camera programs, and many more have plans to do so because body cameras work. Empirical studies have found that body cameras decrease citizen complaints against officers, use of force by police, and assaults on officers. Evidence also suggests that body-worn cameras can expedite the resolution of complaints and improve the evidentiary basis of arrests and prosecutions.
14. Do you support the creation of a federal database that tracks all police-involved shootings?
National data collection and reporting can help inform innovative policing strategies and foster greater transparency and accountability in law enforcement. However, there are currently gaps in the collection and analysis of policing data. For example, no federal agency tracks police-involved shootings. As President, I will increase the collection and reporting of national data on policing, including police-involved shootings and in-custody deaths, and will ensure that law enforcement agencies have appropriate funding and technical assistance to support these efforts.
15. Do you agree with the limits that the Obama administration has placed on the distribution of surplus military equipment to law enforcement agencies? Should there be additional limits placed on the use of military equipment by law enforcement?
Federal funds for state and local law enforcement should be used to bolster best practices, not to buy weapons of war that don't belong on our streets. President Obama has taken important steps in this area to limit the transfer of military equipment and promote oversight and accountability in the use of controlled equipment. I support these efforts and, as President, will build on these steps by, for example, eliminating the one-year use requirement and requiring transparency by agencies that purchase equipment using federal funds.
16. Do you support or oppose legislation to reduce federal mandatory minimum sentences?
We now have 2.4 million people in jails and prisons in this country -- more than four times the number of those incarcerated [in] 1980. And these numbers reflect an explicit racial bias: it has been reported that nearly one in three black men could expect to go to prison in their lifetime.
I believe our criminal justice system is out of balance. Excessive federal mandatory minimum sentences keep nonviolent drug offenders in prison for longer than is necessary or useful, and have increased racial inequality in our criminal justice system. I have been encouraged to see changes that I supported as Senator to reduce the unjust federal sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine crimes finally become law, and to see the Sentencing Commission reduce recommended prison terms for some drug crimes. President Obama, former Attorney General Eric Holder, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch have led the way with important additional steps.
As President, I will fight to reform mandatory minimum sentences, including cutting mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses in half. I will apply the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 retroactively, allowing current nonviolent prisoners to seek fairer sentences. I will also eliminate the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine so that equal amounts of crack carry equal sentences to cocaine, and will apply this change retroactively. I will reform the "strike" system, and I will give judges more discretion in applying mandatory minimum sentences by expanding the judicial "safety valve" to a larger set of cases. And I would call on states to follow suit and make similar reforms to their sentencing laws.
17. Would you expand the size of the section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division that focuses on investigating patterns of constitutional abuses in local police departments?
The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division "pattern or practice" unit does important work in ensuring constitutional policing, but the unit has only 50 lawyers and the work involved in an investigation can take thousands of hours. We should give the Civil Rights Division the resources it needs to ensure effective, accountable, and constitutional policing.
That is why I have called for expanding and strengthening the U.S. Department of Justice's pattern or practice unit by increasing resources, working to secure subpoena power, and improving data collection for pattern or practice investigations. I also believe we should double funding for the U.S. Department of Justice "Collaborative Reform" program to provide technical assistance and training to agencies that undertake voluntary efforts toward transformational reform of their police departments. Across the country, there are police departments deploying creative and effective strategies that we can learn from and build on.
18. Should the federal government incentivize police departments to diversify their police forces to make them more closely reflect the communities they serve?
I believe having diverse voices and experiences at all levels of government is critically important. This includes working to increase diversity in our police departments so they're more reflective of the communities they serve. The federal government has a role to play in supporting and incentivizing police departments to diversify their personnel. And we can learn from and build on strategies in police departments that have made progress on this front, as well as the efforts of states like Connecticut, which recently enacted a law requiring law enforcement agencies to develop and implement guidelines to recruit more police officers of color.
19. FBI Director James Comey has stated that law enforcement has historically been "brutally unfair to disfavored groups," that law enforcement has been involved in the poor treatment of people of color in the not-so-distant past, and that police officers can sometimes get into the habit of taking "lazy mental shortcuts" about the individuals they encounter. Do you agree with those statements?
All over America, there are police officers inspiring trust and confidence, honorably doing their duty, and putting their lives on the line to protect our communities. And there are law enforcement agencies deploying creative and effective policing strategies to rebuild the bonds of trust between officers and the residents they serve, and demonstrating that it is possible to protect public safety without relying on unnecessary force. We should learn from those examples and build on what works.
At the same time, we must face hard truths about race and justice in America. We have to grapple as a country with broader questions about ensuring that all our citizens and communities are protected and respected. I have met with mothers who have lost their children and heard their stories. Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, and others. The loss of so many African Americans taken too soon should reaffirm our commitment to press forward for progress. As President, I am committed to working with communities and law enforcement to rebuild trust and enact meaningful reforms that can be felt on our streets.
20. How much of a role do you believe that racial discrimination and inequality plays in the criminal justice system today?
Consider this: What if almost 1 in 3 white men were expected to go to prison at some point in their lifetimes? What if guns were the leading cause of death for young white men? What if, in America, white families had a fraction of the wealth of black families? We wouldn't stand for it.
There is something profoundly wrong when African-American men are still far more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes, and sentenced to longer prison terms. When an estimated 1.5 million black men are missing from their families and communities because of incarceration and premature death. And such racial inequalities are not merely a symptom of economic inequality. Black people across America still experience racism every day, whether intentional or implicit bias. That's the reality in the African-American community -- and we shouldn't stand for it.
Since this campaign started, I've been talking about the work we must do to not only address the systemic inequities that persist in our criminal justice system, but also in education, in economic opportunity, in our environment. But we have to do more than talk -- we have to take action.
I believe we need to make a new and comprehensive commitment to equity and opportunity for communities of color, particularly the African-American community. That means making major new investments to create good-paying jobs and increase economic opportunity, ending mass incarceration, ensuring equal pay for women, ending redlining in housing, strengthening access to credit, promoting entrepreneurship and making it easier to start and grow a business, replacing the school-to-prison pipeline with a cradle-to-college pipeline, and so much more. I've been working on these issues throughout my life, and I will continue to fight for real solutions as President.
Clinton will give a major speech on racism today.

Politico reports:
In a high-profile speech in Harlem on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton is expected to address the issue of systemic racism, and offer solutions for how to break down the barriers that hold back African American families.
The speech is part of Clinton’s effort in recent days— as she closes in on the South Carolina primary and turns her attention toward more diverse March states — to show that she views racism and discrimination as stand-alone problems in American in need of their own solutions. Her approach appears designed to highlight the contrast with her chief rival Bernie Sanders, who so far in his campaign has mainly addressed racism through the lens of economic inequality.
In her speech, which she is scheduled to deliver after a closed-door meeting with Rev. Al Sharpton, National Urban League President Marc Morial and NAACP President Cornell Brooks earlier in the day, Clinton is expected to call for “new investments in job creation to ending redlining to ensuring equal pay for women of color to ending the school-to-prison pipeline,” according to a campaign aide.
Also from Politico, a piece on the significance of Rep. John Lewis:
The Georgia congressman is in the midst of a pedal-to-the-metal attempt to shore up Clinton’s support among African-Americans in the run-up to the Feb. 27 South Carolina primary and the more diverse states that follow.
After publicly endorsing Clinton on Thursday on Capitol Hill with other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Lewis traveled here to appear by her side and hold solo events designed to bolster her campaign.
On Sunday, when the civil rights icon sat next to Clinton in the first row at Victory Missionary Baptist Church in a historic African-American neighborhood in West Las Vegas, he offered a glowing introduction.
“If there is one person ready to be president Day One, [it’s] this woman. She’s been a senator, secretary of state. Look, she is prepared, she is ready, Hillary Clinton,” he said.
“I’m here in Las Vegas to support a good friend of mine,” Lewis told the group before racing off to do a local radio interview. “I’ve known her husband, President [Bill] Clinton. You have to tell your mothers, your fathers, your teachers to participate in the caucus.”
“With Hillary Clinton as president, we can make our country better.”
In an interview Monday, Lewis acknowledged the difficulty surrounding his 2008 decision to defect to Obama after serving as one of Clinton’s leading African-American supporters. His switch, which came after Obama showed his tremendous popularity among African-Americans by winning 78 percent of their vote in South Carolina, came as other black elected officials were wavering — and placed one of America’s most influential voices in the first-term senator’s camp.
“It was a very tough decision when I switched,” Lewis said. “She understood. President [Bill] Clinton understood.”
Lewis said his advocacy for Clinton is not an attempt to make amends, but rather is a reflection that she is the person best suited to be president.
“You have people who come along from time to time who I call a ‘firecracker.’ A firecracker just shoots off. Others come along who continue to burn, and she’s one of these people who will continue to burn,” he said.
More on the Supreme Court vacancy.

The New York Times reports:
On the Democratic side, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders said Republicans calling for delay were flouting what they professed to revere.
For Mrs. Clinton and her allies, the promise of a battle over Mr. Obama’s nominee may reinforce a central argument of her candidacy: that she is the Democrat most capable of winning in November and best suited to work with a Republican-led Congress.
“If Senate Republicans abdicate their responsibility to confirm a nominee before November, it makes the issue of electability much more important for Democrats,” said Representative Steve Israel of New York, a Clinton supporter. “It elevates the importance of nominating a Democrat who has the strongest record on issues that matter to general election voters, like gun safety, women’s rights and civil rights.”
Mr. McConnell’s vow not to confirm a new justice until a new president is in office — seconded by Senator Charles E. Grassley, the Iowa Republican, who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee — provided Mrs. Clinton with another opportunity to embrace Mr. Obama, who remains widely popular among Democratic voters, particularly in South Carolina, which holds its Democratic primary on Feb. 27.
“Barack Obama is the president of the United States until Jan. 20, 2017,” Mrs. Clinton said in Denver late Saturday. “That is a fact, my friends, whether Republicans like it or not.”
CNN reports:
Hillary Clinton said Monday in Elko, Nevada, that she is confident that President Barack Obama would nominate a Supreme Court justice who has gone through a confirmation process before, making it harder for Republicans to block the nomination.
"I think the President's going to look for somebody who has a record that is gonna be hard for the Republicans to be against," said Obama's first-term secretary of state. "Somebody who is a sensible person with a good record and maybe somebody who's already been confirmed by the Senate."
"We've got some judges on the courts of appeals, they were confirmed 99 to nothing," Clinton said. "So they’re people who have already gone through the process."
She added, "There are some great other people, great jurists and lawyers and advocates. So I'm hoping that we get somebody nominated and everybody will say, 'Hey, the only reason to block this is pure partisanship, and so do your duty. This person is well prepared.' "
"Elections have consequences. The President has a responsibility to nominate a new justice and the Senate has a responsibly to vote. And all of us Democrats, we have a responsibly to make sure a Republican doesn't win in November and rip away all of the progress we have made together."
Clinton on Sunday declined to say who would be on her Supreme Court short list when asked by CNN.
"We Democrats have a chance to take back the Senate," Clinton said before noting that Democrats running in more moderate states like Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire should be able to use obstructionism in Congress as a "voting issue."
Salon reports:
Every single Democrat running for Congress will be able to point to this story about Republican-caused gridlock and promise that electing them will help ungum the works. It’ll be a simple, effective pitch that happens to have the benefit of being completely true.
But no Democrat is going to benefit more from this than Hillary Clinton. He campaign has struggled to come up with an effective counter narrative to Bernie Sanders’ economic populism, but finally seemed to have come up with a promising one during the last debate: Painting Sanders as a “single issue” candidate  and herself as someone more well-rounded. That even if more Wall Street bankers face consequences for their corrupt actions, problems like racism and sexism will persist and hold people back, and that she is better equipped to handle the big picture.
The Supreme Court fight will be exhibit No. 1 for this argument. Besides irrational Obama hatred, the Republicans will be throwing a fit because they fear that whoever Obama nominates will be pro-choice, pro-gay, and opposed to excessive police violence and elaborate schemes to deny people of color the right to vote. This will bolster Clinton’s argument that Sanders’s laser-like focus on Wall Street is missing the point. After all, the Supreme Court isn’t on Wall Street, but it has tremendous power over the lives of everyday people.
Beyond that, the fight over the next justice will amplify one of the biggest criticisms of the Sanders campaign, its the pie-in-the-sky quality. Almost all presidential candidates over-promise, but what Sanders offers voters — free college, single payer health care — would never pass through the legislature, even if, by some miracle, Democrats swept congressional elections and regained the majority. We know this, because Obama had just these advantages, and his signature health care legislation didn’t even have a public option attached.
The fact that Sanders is promising a bunch of stuff he probably could never deliver hasn’t hurt him too much, because presidential campaigns are often unmoored from the nitty-gritty concerns of everyday governance and conducted largely in the realm of the symbolic and aspirational. But with headlines about the campaign competing with headlines about the congressional fight over this nomination, it will become impossible to keep discussion about how you get things done in D.C. at bay. Clinton will be able to use this as a way to illustrate that getting things done really is a lot harder than simply wanting it badly enough.
From the campaign trail, Clinton’s bark has some bite.

CNN reports:
"(Republicans) actually, with a straight face, say that the great recession was caused by too much regulation on Wall Street. They actually say that," Clinton said.
Then she launched into her story.
"One of my favorite political ads of all time was a radio ad in rural Arkansas where the announcer said, 'Wouldn't it be great if somebody running for office said something, we could have an immediate reaction to whether it was true or not. Well, we have trained this dog. Well, the dog, if it is not true, he is going to bark,'" Clinton said. "And the dog was barking on the radio and so people were barking at each other for days after that."
"I want to figure out how we can do that with Republicans. We need to get that dog and follow them around and every time they say these things like, 'Oh, the Great Recession was caused by too much regulation,' arh, arh, arh, arh," Clinton said, letting out a barking noise that caused the audience to laugh and some people to mimic her.
"I think," Clinton concluded, "we could cut right through a lot of their claims.”
Clinton has hired her press secretary: Delmarie Cobb.

Chicago Crusader reports:
Delmarie Cobb, a veteran Black journalist and seasoned public relations consultant has been appointed press secretary for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Cobb is the owner and CEO of The Publicity Works, a Chicago-based public affairs, political consulting and media relations firm. She is also the president of Deleco Communications Inc., a television production company, which produced the award-winning, nationally televised newsmagazine program, “STREET LIFE” on PBS affiliates.
Cobb began her media duties for political campaigns in 1988 as national traveling press secretary to presidential candidate JESSE JACKSON. As a supporter of New York Senator Hillary Clinton’s historic presidential bid in 2008, she was sought after for interviews by local, national and international media. In 2000, she served as Illinois State Director for presidential candidate Bill Bradley.
In 1996, she became the first Black press secretary to the DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION. Cobb was a political consultant for former Illinois Comptroller DAN HYNES and communications director on the re-election campaigns of DICK DEVINE for Cook County State’s Attorney. Her firm, The Publicity Works also served as the political consulting firm to U.S. Rep. JESSE JACKSON JR., in the 1995 special election—developing the need for the South Suburban Airport as the major plank of his campaign platform. Three years earlier, she helped to orchestrate a victory for then Alderman BOBBY RUSH against incumbent U.S. Rep. Charles Hayes. She has consulted on many other statewide and national campaigns.
Currently, Ms. Cobb writes a column to a growing number of subscribers–“Chicago Colors” is often picked up by a variety of media outlets. She started as a television news reporter working for network affiliates in various markets throughout the country. Upon returning to Chicago, she became a radio talk show host, a television producer, and a columnist—writing social and political opinion pieces.
Shoqvalue has a phenomenal collection of articles supporting Clinton’s candidacy, and added some reasons of her own:
While a Clinton administration would also have Republican obstructionism to confront, Mrs. Clinton has the temperament, skills, and experience to do as Barack Obama did: the best job anyone can in a bad situation, trying to incrementally govern our way back to control of this nation.  And as Obama learned, our presidents must not only deal with this Tea Party-led irrationality that divides us on domestic matters, but also conduct ourselves rationally on a national stage as well.   And there too, Hillary has the knowledge and patience for the myriad of global economic, security, and military issues we will face in the next 8 years.
Bernie Sanders is passionate about addressing wealth inequality which every reasonably informed person agrees is an important long term goal of most progressives and free people everywhere. But by some of his own admissions—or remarks or behaviors made clear in public forums—Sanders has a very narrow range of experiences and skills at both the executive branch of government, and in the global arena where each and every day a superpower must conduct itself like one. That requires a very different skillset, and has very different consequences than does aggressively campaigning for president based on a few core promises with a seductive popular appeal.
Our next president cannot just shout our needs and demands to the rest of the world as a populist candidate is free to do in our new, totally free-wheeling, anything-goes style of political campaigning in 21st century America.  Our president must present to the world, and our nation, equal measures of reason, respect, and resolve.  Hillary Clinton has a trusted record with all three.
Fabiola Santiago writes for The Miami Herald:
A Bernie Sanders ad appears on my Facebook feed asking: “Can we count on you to be part of our political revolution?”
No, thanks.
No New England cottage socialist for me.
Sanders and his overly passionate followers scare me the way Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and their flock do, too. Okay, maybe not as much as the ultra-conservatives fighting to become the Republican nominee frighten me when I envision their dogmatic America. But Sanders suffers from a similar ailment: Extremism. Radical talk. Too much anger followed by too many grand promises to turn our world upside down — as if just brash talk and bravado would make everything all better.
In a post-Obama world, is all that posturing really necessary?
Shouldn’t the Democratic Party be focused now on fine-tuning the change that has already occurred with smart incremental moves that make a difference in people’s lives, and are sustainable in this fractured society? Shouldn’t the Democrats be more worried about shaping electable congressional representatives with intellectual heft and bipartisan ability to get things done in Washington?
We’re a long way from needing to call for all-out revolution. Sanders sounds like the flip side of Trump. That only sends people into protective corners. Who wants an even more escalated right-wing vs. left-wing fight in Washington?
Sanders brings needed competition to what appeared like a shoo-in nomination for the better qualified and politically savvy Hillary Clinton, also a progressive but a grounded one. His loud challenge makes her candidacy stronger. Their respectful debates, substantive on issues — so far — have been a refreshing change from the entertaining but non-presidential Republican eight-ring circus.
But that’s where the Bern love ends.
It’s a long road back from a failed revolution.


  1. Great roundup, as always.

    I just gotta say...I love John Lewis so much. A real-life superhero and one of my favorite Americans, easily. When I was at the “sigh of relief” victory speech in Iowa, I caught a glimpse of him. But he wasn’t on stage...he right at the front of the crowd along with the rest of us to hear Hillary speak. That I was standing in the same crowd with him watching such a historic moment gave me goosebumps. He’s in this all the way for Hillary, without question...fired up and enthusiastic.

    Even the great Tom Harkin, who was standing on the stage, kept showing awe and disbelief that John Lewis was standing there right in front of him.

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