Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hillary News & Views 2.25: SC Campaigning, #BLM Protest, Endorsements, Two McEwan Pieces

Today’s Hillary News & Views begins with Clinton on the campaign trail in South Carolina.

Washington Post reports:
Republicans are mounting a “deeply disrespectful” effort to deny President Obama his right to nominate the candidate of his choice for the Supreme Court, Hillary Clinton said Wednesday.
“The president is absolutely right to send a nominee to the United States Senate,” Clinton said angrily. “I find this argument absolutely unbelievable” that Obama should not send up a nominee in this final year of his presidency, Clinton said.
“You have one president at a time.”
“To say don’t even send us a nominee is at variance to the Constitution and deeply disrespectful to the office of the president of the United States,” Clinton thundered, to roaring applause.
“I’m backing the president. He will send, as he always does, a well-qualified nominee.”
“What I’m going to do is build on the progress we’ve made under President Obama and go further,” she said Wednesday.
Clinton invoked the names of civil rights icons Rep. John Lewis and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as she railed against what she called efforts to curtail voting rights in some states. Democrats allege that new voting rules in Texas and other states are primarily aimed at limiting the African American vote, although Clinton did not spell that out Wednesday.
“I thought those battles had been fought and won,” she said. “The only way to beat back these kinds of cynical maneuvers is at the ballot box. Vote people out who don’t want you to vote, that’s the best remedy.”

Washington Times reports:
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton worked Wednesday to shore up support among black women voters, vowing to fight “systemic racism” in America.
“There is something wrong when the median wealth of black families is a tiny fraction o the median wealth of white families,” Mrs. Clinton said at a luncheon hosted by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the first black sorority that has become a potent political force.
In her speech, Mrs. Clinton highlighted the suffering in black communities with statistics showing black women are three times more likely to die in childbirth and black children are more likely to die before reaching one year old.
“Imagine if that was reversed. Imagine if a white baby was twice as likely to die before her first birthday than a black baby,” she said, adding that resources would “rush in” to address such a problem.
“I want an election about real change that will make a difference in people’s lives,” said Mrs. Clinton.
Raw Story reports:
A Black Lives Matter activist disrupted a private event featuring Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Wednesday and confronted her regarding her past support for policies that enabled mass incarceration, the Huffington Post reported.
Footage from the event shows Ashley Williams stand behind the former secretary of state and hold up a towel bearing the statement, “we have to bring them to heel,” a remark Clinton made in 1996 in support of the Violent Crime Control Act regarding gang members, who she also described as “super-predators.”
After Clinton turns around and reads the sign, Williams tells her, “We want you to apologize for mass incarceration. I am not a ‘super-predator,’ Hillary Clinton. Will you apologize to black people for mass incarceration?”
“Can I talk?” Clinton replies, before continuing her speech as a Secret Service agent attempts to convince Williams to leave.
Event attendees can be heard behind Williams calling her “rude.” However, she continues to press Clinton, telling her, “Please explain it to us. You owe black people an apology.”
“You know what? Nobody’s ever asked me before,” Clinton responds as another agent takes Williams by the waist and leads her away. “You’re the first person to ask me, and I am happy to address it. But you are the first person to ask me.”
Some new endorsements in the past few days…

CNN reports:
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid announced Wednesday in an exclusive interview with CNN that he is endorsing Hillary Clinton for president, a sign that Democratic leaders are eager to put the party's contentious primary fight behind them.
The Nevada Democrat issued a plea for his party to consolidate behind Clinton, who has struggled to fend off an insurgent campaign from Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont.
"I think the middle class would be better served by Hillary," Reid said.
"I think that my work with her over the years has been something that I have looked upon with awe. She was the first lady. She started the trend toward looking to do something about health care. She understood the issue well, she was the front on the health care during that administration," he said.
Reid added, "I also think she's the woman to be the first president of the United states that's a female."
WNCN reports:
North Carolina Democratic leaders in the legislature announced Tuesday their endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president.
In a press conference, the leaders said Clinton has a record of fighting for the middle class. Clinton would work to ensure pay equality for woman and protect everyone’s right to vote.
Rep. Larry Hall (D-Durham) said Clinton’s experience made the leaders endorse her over Bernie Sanders.
“Hillary has been here, she’s been with us. She’s been effective on the issues and she is going to bring so many segments of citizens together to solve our common problems, Hall said.
Denver Post reports:
Four family members of Colorado mass-shooting victims announced Tuesday they are endorsing Hillary Clinton for president ahead of next Tuesday's state caucus.
Those endorsing the former Democratic U.S. secretary of state are:
• Jane Dougherty, a Colorado resident whose sister, Mary Sherlach, was a school psychologist killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut;
• Coni Sanders, the daughter of Dave Sanders, a teacher killed at Columbine;
• Tom Mauser, whose 15-year-old son, Daniel, was killed at Columbine;
• Tom Sullivan, whose 27-year-old son, Alex, was killed at the Century Aurora 16 movie theater in 2012.
"For us, this is personal," the four said in a statement. "We know all too well the chaos, suffering, and pain that gun violence has sown on our community. We have received that frantic phone call no family member ever wants to receive; we have had to bury loved ones."
They stated that Clinton is "the only candidate with a proven track record of standing up to the gun lobby, the only one with the ability and the plan to enact common-sense measures to keep guns out of the wrong hands."
Think Progress reports:
The mothers of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Dontre Hamilton, and Jordan Davis have all joined Clinton on the campaign trail in South Carolina to help make her case to black voters.
The mothers told ThinkProgress they think Clinton should not be defined by her husband’s policies. And they said the arguments against her are discounting the fact that Sanders also voted for the 1994 crime bill.
Lucy McBath, whose son Jordan Davis was shot and killed in Jacksonville, Florida in 2012, told ThinkProgress that she constantly reminds people that Clinton’s actions as First Lady do not define who she is as a politician today.
“She was First Lady at the time, so she had no opportunity to vote for the 1994 crime bill,” she said. “She has publicly started over and over again that she understands there have been a lot of implications in the minority community based upon that crime bill. She definitely plans to create and stimulate some kind of changes, because disproportionately, our communities have been impacted by the crime bill.”
The five mothers all shot down criticisms of Clinton as they spoke to black churches across South Carolina, arguing she should not be judged for her actions while her husband was president.
“I want everyone to know that we’re not looking at what Bill did,” said Geneva Reed-Veal, Sandra Bland’s mother. “We’re not looking at his campaign, so we’re not judging her based on what he did. Let’s give her her own shot. We’re supporting her solely based on her own merits, not what she did as First Lady.”
“Black leadership was not in a position to predict that mass incarceration would result from being tough on crime,” he said. “Now Hillary Clinton has seen, just as black leadership has seen with complete clarity, that mass incarceration is probably the worst thing that’s happened to the black community in the last 50 years. She has a program to solve the problem.”
The five mothers are touring the state, holding a series of “breaking down barriers” events to explain how exactly they think Clinton will address racial injustice in office.
Clinton supports legislation to prevent racial profiling and laws that would help individuals released from prison, McBath said at one of the events. She has also worked to address the disparities in sentencing for crack and power cocaine. And most importantly for McBath, who also advocates on behalf of gun control groups, she said Clinton is the best candidate to address the country’s existing gun laws.
Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, said specific policies aren’t as important to her as the fact that Clinton was willing to meet with her last year.
“Nobody else listened to us,” Fulton said. “She never made the first promise about what she’s going to do when she gets in office. What she did say was that she’ll make every effort to make change, and we believe that.”
Maria Hamilton, Dontre’s mother, told ThinkProgress she is working with Clinton on the issue of mass incarceration and trying to implement a program to help former inmates transition through employment and housing services. She also said she supports Clinton’s stance on banning the box, or preventing employers from automatically screening out job candidates who have criminal records.
Melissa McEwan writes for Shakesville:
I noted earlier that I am trying to be very thoughtful about how I report on the Breaking Down Barriers tour that mothers of black women and men lost to racist violence are on with Hillary Clinton. And part of the reason, in addition to not wanting to appropriate black women's lives and pain to solicit support for a candidate I'm supporting, is that it's difficult to find coverage of the tour that doesn't center Clinton.

Even though she is leveraging her enormous privilege to do exactly what people with visible platforms should do—literally turning over the microphone—the news coverage focuses almost exclusively on what their support means for Clinton's campaign. They are quoted talking about her authenticity and her compassion.

And their perceptions and experiences are important. But Clinton did not reach out to these women in order that they would shore up her credentials as a decent human being.

That's the charge, naturally. There is an enormous amount of criticism being levied at Clinton for cynically exploiting these women.

Which is only underlined by the coverage of their Breaking Down Barriers events. As the media centers Clinton in their reporting, it only serves to reinforce the notion that Clinton wants them to be props. This is a neat trick by the media. They created the narratives that Hillary Clinton is a cold, opportunistic, narcissistic monster who will stop at nothing to get elected, and then the selectively cover events where she meets with black mothers of dead children in a way that disappears those women's lives and suggests Clinton only reached out to them to contradict the narratives the media created about her, thus somehow proving those narratives.
The Atlantic examines Clinton’s surrogate outreach on the campaign trail in South Carolina:
75 or so people were backed into the Marian Wright Edelman Public Library in Bennettsville for a campaign event, where the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Dontre Hamilton, Jordan Davis, and Eric Garner were making the case for Clinton. A community room overflowed with people—standing room only, with people standing in the hall, craning their necks to get in, as the mothers took turns telling their wrenching tales of loss.
The stories, though by now familiar from media accounts and surveillance videos, were freshly horrifying, told in person by the victims’ mothers. Each woman related how her son had been killed, and then how Clinton had reached out to her. They told stories about phone calls, personal letters, and half-hour meetings that stretched on for hours.
“Hillary took it upon herself to listen to me when none of the leaders decided to lay in the street with us, march in the street with us, pour our hearts out and ask for help. Hillary heard my cry,” said Maria Hamilton, whose son Dontre was shot and killed by a Milwaukee police officer in 2014. “When Hillary called me in March, and her staffer told me I didn’t have to rally people in the street to shut her rally down, that she would talk to me, it changed my life.”
It was fitting that the event was at a library named for Edelman, a favorite daughter of the town who founded the Children’s Defense Fund—and gave young Hillary Rodham her first job out of Yale Law School. Bennettsville is a small town, with less than 10,000 people, in the northeastern corner of the state near the North Carolina line. (The other local celebrity is Aziz Ansari, who grew up in town.) It’s also nearly two-thirds African American. I counted only five white people there—and two if you exclude me, another reporter, and the Clinton campaign cameraman filming the event.
Everyone in attendance seemed to know one another, and they were all enthusiastically ready for Hillary. The local state representative emceed the event, and she hailed her Alpha Kappa Alpha sisters for working to register new voters at local high schools. The police chief and sheriff (both black) attended. It felt like going to church: Particularly emotional moments elicited a chorus of “That’s right”s and “Amen” and “Mmhmm”s from a crowd that hung on every word.
“Nobody made—I don’t think they could have made us, I don’t think they could have persuaded any of these mothers to vote for Hillary Clinton against their own will,” Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, said in Bennettsville. “This was a conscious decision we made.” (There was evidently some sensitivity about that impression. Geneva Reed-Veal, Sandra Bland’s mother, closed the event with a rousing call to vote, and then added, “I’m with her. All my sisters are with her. And please tell the people we are not being exploited!”)
Today in “Bernie Sanders doesn’t have a SuperPAC" news.

Time reports:
A California-based super PAC is beginning a new effort to help Bernie Sanders win the Democratic nomination by holding superdelegates accountable to Democratic primary voters.
Progressive Kick, a 527 PAC based in Oakland, unveiled a website this week that allows users to track superdelegate commitments and reach out to them. The effort cost around $5,000, the super PAC’s president, Joshua Grossman, said.
Grossman said his super PAC’s effort is intended to pressure more Democratic superdelegates to follow the voters pick in choosing which candidate to support in the primary. Superdelegates, unlike most delegates, can choose which candidate to back, regardless of the popular vote, and have so far overwhelmingly backed Hillary Clinton.
The group, which has spent several million dollars supporting progressive candidates in recent years, also worked in conjunction with the groups Ready to Fight and Women for Bernie to launch an online petition that garnered nearly 200,000 signatures.
The new initiative is meant to boost Sanders, Grossman said.
“If I said it was only to make the process more democratic, that would be disingenuous. I’m not going to say that,” Grossman said. “I definitely did this — not just I, but the with the people we’re working with — to help Bernie Sanders.”
Since August, the super PAC arm of National Nurses United, a 185,000-member-strong nurses union, has spent some more than $1.7 million supporting Sanders with funding from its union member dues. NNU, which does not receive large contributions and is spending much of its cash busing nurses to primary states to canvass for Sanders, says it is not like other super PACs.
But according to FEC filings, Progressive Kick’s biggest donor in the second half of 2015 was NNU, which contributed $200,000. The next largest contributor in the past six months of 2015 gave $50,000. Grossman said NNU funding did not help finance its website.
A spokesman for Sanders did not respond to a request for comment.
Planned Parenthood representative Atima Omara writes for the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
This is where we are today, and why we must elect a candidate who is not only a supporter of women’s reproductive rights, but a champion of them. Hillary Clinton is an unabashed champion for women’s access to health care who will make fighting for reproductive rights a priority, which is why Planned Parenthood endorsed her (the first time the organization has announced its support of a primary candidate in its 100 years of existence).
Clinton was the first candidate to call for a repeal of the Hyde Amendment — federal legislation which makes it harder for low-income women — low-income women of color in particular — to access the promise of Roe v. Wade. She’s the only candidate who has testified before Congress that abortion is a critical part of health care.
She also supports protecting and strengthening the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature health care achievement that has helped 18 million Americans get covered and requires health insurers to cover contraception without charging a co-pay — a change that has helped countless women across the country access birth control.
On the other side of the aisle, we see the Republican candidates boasting during debates about what they would do as president to restrict women’s health care decisions. As we’ve now seen in state legislatures across the country, too much is at stake to stay home.
If you care about protecting Roe v. Wade and women’s access to reproductive health care, please vote in this election cycle. Virginia’s presidential primary election day is March 1.
Melissa McEwan writes for Shakesville:
I don't think one can say with certainty who would definitely fare better against Trump's attacks in a general election. We can have opinions, but we should not pretend to be oracles.
What I do know, however, for an absolute fact is that it is contemptible in the extreme to suggest that Clinton's having been subjected to a decades-long campaign of rank misogyny and personal attacks should serve as a disqualifying factor for the presidential nomination, just because the likely Republican nominee will carry on the tradition.
If never having been obliged to navigate repeated discrediting attacks cloaked in vicious misogyny is the standard by which a female candidate's fitness is judged, we will never have a female president.
Fuck that.

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