Today’s Hillary News & Views begins with coverage of Clinton’s speech in Harlem yesterday, along with some coverage of her meeting with Civil Rights leaders that same day.
Clinton's speech touched on many topics about race. She discussed mass incarceration. She unveiled her plan to undo the school-to-prison pipeline. She called on the country to help her end segregation in schools.
But there was a particularly powerful moment in which Clinton called on all Americans, white included, and particularly Democrats to help eliminate systemic racism. She said:
“We Democrats have a special obligation. If we're serious about our commitment to the poor, to those who need some help, including African Americans, if we continue to ask black people to vote for us, we cannot minimize the realities of the lives they lead or take their concerns for granted.
“You know, you can't just show up at election time and say the right things and think that's enough. We can't start building relationships a few weeks before a vote. We have to demonstrate a sustained commitment to building opportunity, creating prosperity, and righting wrongs — not just every two or four years, not just when the cameras are on and people are watching, but every single day.
“So here's what I ask of you: Hold me accountable. Hold every candidate accountable. What we say matters, but what we do matters more. And you deserve leaders who will do whatever it takes to tear down all the barriers holding you back and then replace them with those ladders of opportunity that every American deserves to have.
“I'm also asking all Americans to join in that effort. As Cornell Brooks, the new head of the NAACP, said in our meeting this morning, none of this is a "they" problem; it's a "we" problem. And all of us have to admit that. And you know what? It is not an urban problem. It's an American problem.
“Ending systemic racism requires contributions from all of us, especially those of us who haven't experienced it ourselves.”The Daily Beast reports:
Clinton, speaking to an incredibly supportive audience in her home state, suggested that Republican opposition to President Obama’s plan to appoint a Supreme Court justice to take the late Antonin Scalia’s seat is predicated on the inherent racism that has made Obama the enemy for the past seven years of his administration.
“Justice Scalia’s passing means the court hangs in the balance,” Clinton said. “Now the Republicans say they’ll reject anyone President Obama nominates, no matter how qualified. Some are even saying he doesn’t have the right to nominate anyone! As if somehow he’s not the real president.
“That’s in keeping with what we’ve heard all along, isn’t it? Many Republicans talk in coded, racial language about takers and losers. They demonize President Obama and encourage the ugliest impulses of the paranoid fringe. This kind of hatred and bigotry has no place in our politics or our country.”
New York Times reports:
Her remarks, delivered in Harlem, were centered around what Mrs. Clinton called a “Breaking Down Barriers” agenda that would disproportionately help in “places where people of color and the poor have been left out and left behind.” And she particularly named “places like Harlem and rural South Carolina.”
“Just imagine with me, imagine if white kids were 500 percent more likely to die from asthma than black kids,” she said. “Imagine if a white baby in South Carolina were twice as likely to die before her first birthday than an African-American baby.”
“These are not only problems of economic inequality,” Mrs. Clinton continued.
“These are problems of racial inequity, and we need to say that loudly and clearly.”
But Mrs. Clinton did not get bogged down in policy plans, and her speech, held in the Langston Hughes Auditorium at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture on Malcolm X Boulevard, went beyond the anti-racism agenda to include a litany of problems that affect black communities, from voting rights to an overhaul of the criminal justice system, as well as criticism of President Obama.
She called on white Americans to be more empathetic to the problems that plague black communities, including the water crisis in Flint, Mich. And she implored Republicans to respect Mr. Obama’s right to nominate a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.The Huffington Post reports:
Later on Tuesday, Clinton, a former U.S. senator from New York, gave a speech in the historically black New York City neighborhood of Harlem on breaking down the barriers that black families face. She was joined onstage before her remarks by New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Eric Holder, the first black U.S. attorney general.
"There are still very real barriers holding back African-Americans from fully participating in our economy and our society," Clinton said, citing disparities between blacks and whites in earnings, health and criminal sentencing.
She said that if elected, she would spend $2 billion to encourage public school districts with a high number of troubled students to hire social workers and other experts to help young people before they get entangled in the criminal justice system.USA Today reports:
She began her speech in Harlem by highlighting the water crisis in Flint, Mich., where children and babies have been poisoned by lead-laced water because "their governor wanted to save a little money," Clinton said.
"It was not a coincidence that this was allowed to happen in a largely black," poor community, she said. “There are many Flints across our country," she added, "places where people have been left out and left behind.” She cited schools that are more segregated now than they were in 1968 and the fact that blacks are three times as likely to be denied a mortgage.
In both her speech and an earlier meeting with African-American civil rights leaders, Clinton said she's worked on issues facing the black community for most of her adult life. It's an argument her surrogates have been trying to make to fortify support in the black community as Sanders begins to pick up endorsements from some black entertainers and activists.
“It’s absolutely critical to me that we look at the full array of issues that do stand in the way, whether it’s student debt or a judiciary that is not as diverse as it needs to be," Clinton said after meeting with Cornell Brooks, head of the NAACP, and Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, among others.BlogHer writer Feminista Jones reports and endorses:
Clinton appeared on stage with former Attorney General, Eric Holder, Governor Andrew Cuomo and his wife Sandra, NYC mayor, Bill deBlasio and his wife Chirlaine McCray, and was introduced by congressman Charles Rangel. Her strong speech touched on key issues affecting the African American community and it was clear by the audience response that her thoughtfulness resonated with them.
Some of her key remarks:
"This is not just an education issue, it is a civil rights issue." Clinton spoke about the school-to-prison pipeline that disproportionately affects the African American community. Her plan includes investing more resources into getting ore guidance counselors and social workers into the schools "so instead of labeling them as problem children, they can help them". There are approximately 500 students per guidance counselor in schools across America.
"I will ban the box in the federal government." Clinton spoke on employment struggles for ex-offenders who face discrimination when they have to indicate their past convictions on job applications. Philadelphia mayor, Michael Nutter, recently made it the law to ban the box in his city, a monumental act that will help thousands of families lift themselves out of poverty. Read more about the "Ban The Box" campaign here.
"Let's end the epidemic of African Americans dying at the hands or in custody of law enforcement." Clinton spoke directly to the current movement to end police brutality and the disproportionate killing of African Americans by American police forces across the country.
"We're seeing an over-reliance on suspensions and expulsions." Clinton addressed the unreasonably high presence of law enforcement officers in schools across the country and spoke about how strongly affected she was seeing the horrific video of school officer, Ben Fields, throwing an African American female teen across a room while she was still in her chair. In my hometown, NYC, African American female students are 10 times more likely to be suspended than White female students, and are suspended and expelled at a higher rate than any male student demographic. The national figure is that they are 6 times more likely, and that is abhorrent. We must address the insidious racism and sexism affecting Black female students inside of America's classrooms.
"White Americans need to do a better job of listening to African Americans when they talk about seen and unseen experiences." Clinton acknowledged the problems that arise when African Americans speak about their painful experiences with racism and are dismissed by White people who feel personally offended or accused of being racist.
As a Black mom raising a Black son in a tumultuous time in this country, as far as race relations go, I want to know that the candidate I'm voting for acknowledges our struggles and at least outlines a plan to improve the condition of many of our communities. While no candidate is perfect, and we owe it to ourselves to educate ourselves thoroughly about their past actions and current views, we can at least support someone whose politics most align with ours. For all intents and purposes, Hillary Clinton is the most viable candidate for me and I am finally comfortable saying that I will absolutely vote for her to be the next president of the United States.ABC News reports:
Hillary Clinton is set to propose a $2 billion plan to reform public schools in low income areas and end the so-called “school-to-prison pipeline," according to an aide.
Clinton is expected to announce the proposal during a speech on race this afternoon at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. She will call for an end to zero-tolerance discipline policies in schools, which she says disproportionately affects African American children and has helped lead to the country’s mass incarceration problem.
Clinton’s plan is part of her new "Breaking Down Barriers” agenda, which includes an investment of $20 billion to create youth jobs, $5 billion in reentry programs for formerly incarcerated people and $25 billion to help entrepreneurship and small business growth in low-income communities.CBS News reports:
Civil rights leaders on Tuesday praised Hillary Clinton for her knowledge and familiarity with issues affecting black communities across the U.S.
"I thought that Secretary Clinton demonstrated an ease and familiarity with many of the issues we discussed this morning," Marc Morial, the head of the National Urban League, said.
Topics brought up during the meeting with Clinton covered policing, criminal justice reform, prisoner re-entry, historical black colleges, judiciary appointments, voting rights and the economy, Morial said.
"I think Secretary Clinton was very candid and very open," said Rev. Al Sharpton, who met one-on-one with Clinton rival Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, last week.
Sharpton stressed again Tuesday that the groups are concerned that issues affecting black communities will leave the White House with the Obamas next January. He also emphasized that support of black voters must be earned.
"We are not a monolithic people," he said. "None of us deliver a black vote individually."
During the meeting, Clinton said that her campaign platform is fighting to break down barriers for Americans.
"What I'm trying to do in my presidential campaign, and what I would do as president is to lead a concerted effort to break every barrier that stands in the way of people living up to their god given potential," she said. "That has been my north star ever since I went to work for the Children's Defense Fund right out of law school, and it's absolutely critical to me that we look at the full array of issues that do stand in the way."Planned Parenthood is going on the air for Clinton in Nevada.
Planned Parenthood is mounting an advertising campaign in Nevada Wednesday on behalf of Hillary Clinton, as the former secretary of state vies for support ahead of Saturday's caucuses. The group will air three spots featuring three women talking for 15 seconds each about why they support Clinton.
"There's only one candidate in this race who has been an outspoken champion for women's health and rights for decades -- and who has a real plan to not just protect the progress we've made, but to keep expanding women's access to basic health care," said Deirdre Schifeling, executive director of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, in a statement to CNN.
The ads, which were provided first to CNN, feature a white woman who was a former Planned Parenthood patient, an African-American woman who is a Planned Parenthood community health educator in Nevada and a second-generation Mexican-American woman.
"Remember, there's a lot at stake in this election. Hillary Clinton is a champion for women's health care. That's why Planned Parenthood Action Fund has endorsed her," says Reyna, a Mexican-American single mother, in one of the ads.The Washington Post analyzes the significance of Clinton’s CBC PAC endorsement:
With the results of Benjamin’s study in mind, the CBC PAC endorsement announcement becomes all the more meaningful for Clinton. The CBC PAC’s official endorsement statement was filled with policy, giving Clinton nods for her record on issues from racial profiling to voting rights to minority business interests. Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-N.Y.) presented her as a long-trusted partner for CBC members’ goals. And, perhaps most important, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) used the CBC PAC announcement as an opportunity to challenge the legitimacy of Sanders’s claim to a similarly long-standing record.The above two endorsements have a connection to Clinton’s take on the Supreme Court, which is broader in scope than her primary opponent’s, who announced yesterday that his only litmus test is Citizens United.
In other words, the CBC PAC gave Clinton exactly the right kind of nod. One that carefully connected her to a policy record, while raising doubts that Sanders’s endorsers could really do the same.
For Clinton, the opening on the court has provided a chance to aggressively talk about abortion rights, immigration reform and voting rights — issues that rile up her base and closely align her with the sitting president.
For Sanders, however, it's primarily a question of partisan obstructionism — and his standard go-to issue: campaign finance reform and 2010's Citizens United v. FEC decision.
It's a difference in approaches that underscores the candidates' divergent political imperatives and constituencies.
The front-runner had grown agitated before going on stage when an aide told her that, on a Republican debate stage across the country, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump were urging the Senate to hold off on considering any Obama pick until a new president takes over.
“As a presidential candidate, a former law professor, a recovering lawyer, and, frankly, a citizen, to hear comments like those of Leader Mitch McConnell this evening is very disappointing. It is totally out of step with our history and our constitutional principles,” she added.
Speaking in a largely Latino neighborhood in East Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sunday, for example, Clinton said the election “got even more important yesterday because of the death of Supreme Court Justice Scalia."
“In the Supreme Court, because of his passing, there will most likely be a tie, four-to-four, on important issues that affect so many people in our country. And the most important is the decision about President Obama’s actions" under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans programs, she told the crowd. “In the case of the decision regarding DACA and DAPA, if there is no new justice appointed, then as with other cases before the court, the decision that was decided will stay in place. And that was a bad decision, I disagreed with it, I don’t think it was the right legal interpretation, I believe President Obama had the authority to do what he did."
In a tweet-storm on the topic of the Supreme Court late Monday night, Clinton also specifically singled out a voting rights case and an abortion rights case, on top of the immigration one.
And, if the targeted messaging wasn’t clear enough, Clinton echoed it earlier that day, at an event billed as a “Women’s Health Meeting."
The Houston Chronicle endorses:“We’re going to continue to push,” she told the Reno, Nevada, crowd, “because some of the decisions in the court awaiting final review have to do with the very restrictive regulations put on Planned Parenthood and access to safe and legal abortion in Texas, having to do with workers’ rights, having to do with voting rights, having to do with very fundamental concerns."
“Clinton, 68, was elected twice as senator from New York and served for five years as secretary of state under President Barack Obama. Throughout these roles, and even in her unofficial role as first lady, Clinton has proven herself a steely leader and well-informed policy wonk. If elected, we believe she will continue the balanced priorities of an Obama administration that’s overseen steady economic growth, a 5 percent unemployment rate and 17 million people with health insurance who didn’t have it before. […] Like on so many issues, Clinton espouses a well-studied energy policy while Sanders aims for the unattainable and undesirable.”President Obama stops just short of endorsement, but may eventually do so.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday commented on the contentious Democratic primary race between Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, acknowledging that Clinton aligns more with his policies.
“I suspect that on certain issues, she agrees with me more than Bernie does,” Obama told reporters at a press conference in Rancho Mirage, California. “On the other hand, there may be a couple issues where Bernie agrees with me more. I don’t know. I haven’t studied their positions that closely.”
Obama said he knows Clinton better than he does Sanders “because she served in my administration, and she was an outstanding secretary of state.”
Meanwhile, the Obama effect is noted by The Washington Post:Obama said he’d like to see the primary process play out more but signaled that he may throw his support behind a candidate. “Ultimately I will probably have an opinion on it based on [having] been both a candidate of hope and change and a president who’s got some nicks and cuts and bruises from getting stuff done over the last seven years,” he said. “But for now I think it’s important for Democratic voters to express themselves and for the candidates to be run through the paces.”
Hillary Clinton has strongly embraced President Obama’s record. Campaigning as the one true defender of the president’s legacy, she mentioned him a whopping 21 times in last week’s Democratic debate, while chastising her opponent, Bernie Sanders, for criticizing the Obama administration.
It is not surprising, then, that there is a strong relationship between black support for Hillary Clinton in this year’s Democratic primary and opinions about President Obama.
Black Democrats who rate Obama “very favorably” (almost 80 percent) are about 25 points more likely to say they will vote for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, compared to blacks who only rate Obama “somewhat favorably.”
That is a dramatic turnaround, of course, from the last time she ran for the Democratic nomination. While there is little change in Clinton support from 2008 to 2016 among African Americans who rate Obama somewhat favorably, blacks who have a very favorable opinion of the president are 65 percentage points more likely to vote for her now than they were eight years ago.
To be sure, there are lots of other factors involved in African Americans’ overwhelming support for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primary (see especially Corrine McConnaughy’s informative Monkey Cage post on this subject).
But it appears that her close connection to President Obama is one reason why Bernie Sanders has not made major inroads with black voters in South Carolina despite his strong showings in the Iowa and New Hampshire.Bakari Sellers writes for U.S. News & World Report:
At the end of the month, South Carolina will host its own Democratic primary. Compared to those first two states, ours is highly diverse. Battle ground, trial phase – call it what you will – South Carolina, once home to the civil rights movement and Barack Obama's surge, can help vet the candidate best aligned with the black community.
Bernie Sanders is not that candidate – not next to Hillary Clinton. From his bouts with the president, to the laws he contested, to the company he keeps, Sanders raises alarm bells for Obama supporters, especially those from the African-American community.
Back in 2012, while still a proud independent, Sanders took a page from the Republican playbook and called for a primary challenge to Obama's presidency. His aim: to contrast "a progressive agenda as opposed to what Obama is doing," as if to say affordable health care and safe cities are not "progressive" enough goals. The Democrats I know would disagree
That anti-Obama jab followed an earlier resistance to the Affordable Care Act, now considered President Obama's greatest legacy. Back in 2009, coming from the far-left wing, Sanders held out on voting "yes," hoping instead for an impossible ideal. Over 200,000 South Carolinians now have quality, affordable health insurance through Obamacare. If Sanders fulfills his campaign promise and starts those talks from a blank slate, he risks undoing years of progress.
The Vermont senator once voted for a provision that ultimately allowed the Charleston shooter to buy a gun despite a clerical error – the now-infamous "Charleston loophole." More recently, he voted in favor of legislation meant to shield gun makers from victim lawsuits. When last month President Obama refused to back "any candidate, even in my own party, who does not support common-sense gun reform," he may well have been writing to Sanders.
In what perhaps struck the candidate as an act of solidarity, Sanders also chose Cornel West as liaison to South Carolina's black voters. As The Washington Post put it, West serves as Sanders' "controversial traveling companion" as he "has been highly critical of President Obama." That's an understatement. Cornel West hates Obama. He once called the president "a brown-faced Clinton," "a Rockefeller Republican in blackface" and a "counterfeit" of a progressive.
Bernie Sanders means well, and his calls for income equality rightly resonate with Democratic voters. But certain issues – gun violence and health care among them – and certain viewpoints – Cornel West's not among them – appeal specifically to most African-Americans. My vote goes to someone who supports President Obama and intends to wholly and ambitiously build on his legacy. That someone is not Bernie Sanders.Joe Wilson writes for The Huffington Post:
During the U.S. occupation of Iraq, Hillary emerged as one of the administration's toughest critics. She traveled frequently to Iraq to observe the facts on the ground for herself and to speak directly to military commanders and U.S. officials. And she used her position as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee to harshly question the disastrous Bush policy. She never flinched in her criticism. Not to acknowledge the full story of Hillary's record is to distort it.
Valerie's and my support for Hillary is owed as much to her character as to the issues. When I challenged the Bush administration on the truth of its case for war in a New York Times opinion piece in 2003, its reaction was to betray Valerie's identity as a covert CIA officer. The subsequent vicious attack on us by Republican partisans, designed to shift the focus from their crime was withering and unrelenting. Hillary repeatedly reached out to us with counsel and empathy as we navigated the shark infested waters. Speaking from her own personal experience, she reminded us of the importance of the good fight, however difficult it might be. Those who were attacking us, like those who had attacked her over the years, wanted to destroy people doing the right thing in order to discourage others from venturing into the public square. If they can't win on the facts, they invent smears to attack the characters of their critics. With Hillary's moral support, we stood up to the bullies. We could not give them that victory. She was right and we were vindicated.
Barack Obama, who has been a consequential president, has learned from his own experience in the White House just how hard meaningful change is to achieve. But in the face of venomous attacks and partisan sabotage that he did not expect when he began, he has managed to make real progress. It has taken a lot more work than repeating a mantra about "revolution." And that's one of the most important lessons of the Obama presidency. Defending and extending that change depends on electing a president committed to it. Hillary understands how to make progress, too. Time and again she has been tested. She has risen to every challenge, personal and political, from service on the key Senate Armed Services committee during war to leadership of the preeminent Cabinet Department at a time of deep suspicion around the world of our country. And she has grown in her leadership. Now she seeks to lead our country, the biggest challenge.
We stand with Hillary because of her stand on issues we care about, and because of her character and courage in standing for Valerie and me during the concerted campaign of lies and smears waged against us by the likes of Karl Rove -- who boasted that Valerie was "fair game." Hillary didn't have to help and openly associate herself with us. But she understood that we were right to stand up to the abuse of power, mudslinging and the twisting of American values, as she has persistently stood up so many times in her life. She supported us, and she trusted us. Now we support her, and we trust her.