Monday, March 21, 2016

Hillary News & Views 3.21: Idaho Endorsement, and Why Raising $$ for Downballot Dems Matters

Today's edition of Hillary News & Views begins with Clinton's latest newspaper endorsement.

The Idaho Statesman endorses:
What the 2016 Democratic presidential race might lack in variety has been more than compensated by the spirited and substantive debates on issues that resonate with Americans.
We have enjoyed the mostly civil, issue-based back and forth between the two survivors — former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. — and we believe this process has made both of them better candidates.
But the discussions and stump speeches have yielded a clear and undeniable fact: Clinton has the better overall experience, grasp on the broad range of issues and the natural attributes to assume the presidency on Day 1 of her administration.
Whereas Sanders’ passion and populist appeal have been effective in certain states under certain circumstances — and this has manifested in upset primary wins in states such as Michigan — we think there is a steep learning curve for Sanders on a number of issues outside of income equality and prosecuting Wall Street.
Clinton gets the nod for the Idaho Democratic caucuses Tuesday because of a lifetime of activism on behalf of Americans, her service as a U.S. senator in New York and her tenure as secretary of state in the Obama administration. Her government service — working on behalf of 9/11 responders as a senator and being a tough negotiator during foreign policy missions in the Middle East — show her capabilities, grit and determination to get things done.
Clinton certainly has paid her dues and has earned the opportunity to lead her party to the November election.
The New York Times reports that Clinton’s robust February fundraising included another $4.4 million for the Democratic Party:
Hillary Clinton’s campaign raised more than $30.1 million in February to be used toward defeating Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and began March with $30.8 million on hand, according to the campaign’s Federal Election Commission report released on Sunday.
Despite her lead in the race for the delegates needed to secure the nomination and the donors urging her campaign to shift her focus to the general election, Mrs. Clinton has continued to focus on raising money for the primary. Her campaign raised just $715,408 in February to be used toward the general election. She also raised $4.4 million last month for the Democratic National Committee to use on state parties and down ballot races throughout the country.
Clinton remains the only candidate on our side to raise money for downballot races, which now has implications beyond just retaking the Senate, where even Arizona Senator John McCain is in danger of losing his seat to a Democratic opponent.

Ten House seats just moved toward the Democrats.

Cook Political Report reports:
So many assumptions have been wrong this cycle that it's difficult to be definitive about another: that the House majority won't be in play in 2016. 
Republicans are sitting on their largest majority since 1928 - 247 seats to 188 - meaning Democrats would need to pick up 30 seats, a daunting challenge given the GOP's immense redistricting advantage and the vaporization of swing districts. But all cycle, Democrats have daydreamed about Republicans nominating an extremely polarizing presidential candidate, and suddenly it's almost certain they will get their wish.

A Trump or Cruz nomination wouldn't guarantee a down-ballot disaster for the GOP, but operatives on both sides admit it would inject much more uncertainty into races - especially if it were Trump. For one, given Hillary Clinton's high unfavorable ratings and Trump's willingness to adapt his message to fit changing political conditions, anything from an extremely close race to a total Clinton blowout seems possible in November.

Second, if November does turn into a Democratic rout, it's impossible to know just how bad it could get for Republicans sharing a ballot with Trump or Cruz. On one hand, past presidential blowouts in years like 1964, 1972 and 1984 haven't led to dramatic sea changes in House seats. On the other, there hasn't been a true presidential blowout in 20 years. Today, rates of split-ticket voting are at all-time lows and House candidates are defined by their party and the top of the ticket more than ever.
Among the types of seats Democratic strategists believe Trump or Cruz could put into play are: 1) high-Hispanic districts, 2) high-education districts and 3) high-income districts. There's no doubt Trump or Cruz could cause Republicans huge problems in heavily Latino districts, including CA-10, CA-21, CA-25, CO-06, FL-26, NV-03, NV-04 and TX-23. And the heavier the drag from the top of the ticket, the more expensive these types of seats will be to defend. 
Of the ten seats where our ratings are changing this week, three have high Latino shares and three are full of high-income moderates. Here are our latest House ratings.
A wave election is on the table, and the only way for us to run the table is to have the funds to recruit and support Democratic candidates across the country.

Daily News Bin has more:
One of the most intriguing storylines of the 2016 election has turned out to be one of the most underreported. Every candidate for President hopes to not only enter the White House, but do so with a congressional majority in hand. Although Hillary Clinton is the clear frontrunner and is likely to win the election, Republican gerrymandering means that her odds of having a democratic House and Senate are questionable. But she’s spent the past six months trying to rectify that by essentially funding the congressional races of 2016 Democratic candidates herself.
After the Democrats took some lumps in the past few congressional races and lost both houses of congress to the republicans, Clinton has put together this co-fundraising strategy as a way of entering office with as many democratic allies on the hill as possible. Even as she pulls further ahead in the primary race and begins to pivot to the general election, she’s been breathing life into her party’s congressional chances along the way.
Politico reports that, contrary to her primary opponent’s consistently dishonest attacks, her SuperPAC hasn’t attacked Sanders at all:
Almost all the group's spending on digital, radio and print ads has been to support Clinton, with a small amount against likely opponent Donald Trump, but none against her rival in the primary, Bernie Sanders.
 Clinton and her allies are preparing to face Trump in the general election.

Washington Post reports:
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and her allies have begun preparing a playbook to defeat Donald Trump in a general-election matchup that will attempt to do what his Republican opponents couldn’t: show that his business dealings and impolitic statements make him unfit to be commander in chief.
Both the Clinton campaign and outside supporters are confident that she and Trump will almost certainly face each other in the general election and that the focus is shifting past her hard-fought primary campaign against Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
They are now focused intently on researching the billionaire real estate mogul’s business record, dissecting his economic policies and compiling a long history of controversial pronouncements that have captivated and repelled the nation in this tumultuous election season.
Because of the litany of controversial pronouncements he has made, they expect a Trump nomination to make it easier to rally women, Latino and African American voters to turn out for Clinton. In fact, her aides are planning for a historic gender gap between Clinton and Trump.
Given Trump’s willingness to attack his opponents — and his pivot to going after Clinton in recent days — one clear presumption has emerged about the fall contest: It will be ugly.
That’s one reason the former secretary of state plans to counter Trump with high-road substance, policy and issues, according to one senior campaign aide. The idea is to showcase what Clinton’s backers see as her readiness for the job without lowering her to what they describe as Trump’s gutter.
Several outside groups — including Emily’s List, which supports Democratic women who favor abortion rights — are compiling dossiers of statements denigrating women that were taken from the candidate’s own mouth, not just in this campaign but far into his past.
“You’re a mom and you’ve got your kids sitting on the couch and you watch the nightly news and you’ve got this guy saying things as a presidential candidate that you tell your kids not to say,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of Emily’s List. “You don’t call women bimbos; you don’t say that they’re fat.”
“The secretary has hit on a really important chord that is running through the African American community: This community is 50 years or less from the civil rights images of dogs and hoses and frightening images,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.), who has endorsed Clinton. “That visual of the sucker punch is going to be ingrained in us forever. You can’t take it back.”
Lena Dunham notes a pattern that prominent feminists and African-American leaders have repeatedly voiced during this primary season.

Variety reports:
“I have received more hostility for voting for a qualified female candidate than I have ever received anywhere from the American right wing,” she said at a Clinton campaign event at NeueHouse in Hollywood.
“The fact that other members of the Democratic Party have spoken to me like I was an ill informed child for voting for someone who represents everything I think this country should be is outrageous.”
Dunham noted that she’s received the “vitriol” via her Instagram feed, where she has posted photos as she campaigned for Clinton in primary states.
She said that she reached a “tipping point” last week when one commenter wrote to her, “Bernie Sanders has done more for feminism than Hillary Clinton has.”
Dunham, actress America Ferrera and Chelsea Clinton appeared on Sunday at what was a rare non-fundraising event for the Clinton campaign in California, which does not hold its primary until June 7.
Ferrera said that “there is this narrative about young women not inspired by Hillary Clinton and that is just not the case. That’s not true.”
She pointed to the defeat of Clinton’s healthcare proposal in 1993, and the first lady’s ability to get “right back up” and push for passage of healthcare coverage for 8 million children under the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
“Hillary has made slow and steady progress on these issues, and I am fully aware that the words slow and steady are not exciting,” Ferrera said. “Especially in contrast to those calling for a revolution in this country. But many of us fled countries where dismantled systems made room for tyranny and violence. And so I would say, we don’t need a revolution in this country. We need an evolution in this country.”
CNN has a Sanders supporter wondering about the anti-Clinton vitriol:
Her achievements in Congress and at the State Department can't be denied, though many will try. Don't forget her courageous China speech on the rights of women, her aggressive work on climate change and her skill as a senator in guiding the Children's Health Insurance Program through Congress. She helped to negotiate a ceasefire with Hamas during a tense moment in Israel. I think of her successes in forging alliances in South America, Africa and Asia, and her part in establishing tough sanctions against Iran. That's only the beginning.
It's perhaps too easy to blame sexism for the nastiness that colors the opposition to Clinton. Yet one sees misogyny bubbling out in the comments section of articles on the Web, where no sentiments -- however crude -- are off limits. They attack her voice, her hairstyle, her pantsuits, her laugh. On and on.
Even in the mainstream, one hears misogynistic comments, as when Tucker Carlson said of Clinton on MSNBC: "When she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs" or when Rand Paul said, "I'm starting to worry that when Hillary Clinton travels, there's going to need to be two planes -- one for her and her entourage, and one for her baggage."
Clinton gets slammed for "shouting" and not smiling enough, though these are criticisms we don't hear about the male candidates. The main thing to dislike about Hillary Clinton seems to be her gender, and one can only begin to imagine the kind of language Donald Trump will summon in the general election.
As for Wall Street: The financial industry has supplied roughly 3.9% of Clinton's funding, or 7% if you count money from related PACs. She did, of course, make a fair number of speeches to big banks -- though by no means did the bulk of her income as a speaker derive from those speeches.
And what did Wall Street get for its money? Not much.
In the Senate, she voted for TARP, the Bush plan to bail out the banks. But this was a wise move, in my view, helping to rescue an economy in free fall. She argued from the floor: "For two years, I and others have called for action as wave after wave of defaults and foreclosures crashed against communities and the broader economy." She has, in fact, called for a tax on high frequency trading, the sort of maneuvering that puts people's retirement savings at risk.
 And closing with a powerful tweet from Rep. Gabrielle Giffords:


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