Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Hillary News & Views 3.23: Arizona, Brussels, Ed Murray, ANA, and Rolling Stone


Today’s edition of Hillary News & Views begins with coverage of Clinton’s big victory in Arizona, the latest evidence that a diverse electorate favors our likely nominee.

Politico reports:
A week after scoring a five-state rout against Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton widened her already daunting lead over the Vermont senator by crushing him in Arizona.
But Sanders easily dispatched Clinton in Utah and Idaho, the other two Western states that voted Tuesday. Both states held caucuses, a format that has favored the Vermont senator.
Clinton, speaking to supporters in Seattle, said she was "proud" to have won Arizona before turning her focus to the Republican race.
The terrorist attacks in Brussels, she said, underscored the importance and gravity of the presidential election. "The last thing we need, my friends, are leaders who incite more fear," she continued.
“We can’t throw out everything we know about what works and what doesn’t and start torturing people," she remarked, in alluding to to Ted Cruz's call for more stringent policing of Muslim communities and Donald Trump's insistence that torture could have prevented the attack in the European capital that killed 34 and wounded hundreds.
"What Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and others are suggesting, it’s not only wrong, it’s dangerous. It will not keep us safe. This is a time for America to lead, not to cower. And we will lead, and we will defeat terrorists that threaten our friends and allies," she said.
FiveThirtyEight reports:
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton won Arizona easily, while Bernie Sanders won Utah and (although it hasn’t been called officially yet) very probably will win Idaho — in both cases perhaps by overwhelming margins. Thus, it’s probable — likely if I had to guess — that Sanders will win more pledged delegates on the evening.
Not all the news is good for Sanders, however. He was expected to win more delegates on the evening based on our demographic targets — and more importantly, he’s far enough behind Clinton that he needs to not just meet but blow out his delegate targets the rest of the way to have a shot at eventually catching Clinton. Alaska, Hawaii and Washington will vote on Saturday, states where we expect Sanders to perform well.

The terrorist attacks in Brussels brought the stakes of the election into sharp relief.

The Washington Post reports:
Republican and Democratic presidential candidates delivered sharply contrasting responses to the deadly terrorist attacks that shook Brussels on Tuesday, with the GOP contenders fiercely criticizing President Obama's national security policies and voicing support for a more aggressive posture, and the leading Democratic hopeful's campaign warning against "advocating torture or bigotry."
The reactions, coming on a day when three more states will hold nominating contests, mostly mirrored the input the candidates have offered in response to previous attacks, such as the massacre in Paris last fall. They contained little in the way of policy specifics and they also raised the possibility of deepening fault lines between and within the two political parties.
Politico reports:
Hillary Clinton’s message after the Brussels terror attacks was about strategic resolve in the face of radical jihadism. Donald Trump went into strongman mode, preaching toughness and even torture against Islamic terrorism.
From the language they used to the measures they called for, the reactions of the two presidential front-runners were 180 degrees apart and right in line with their campaign messages: Clinton called for cooperation and coalitions, while Trump promised violence to combat violence.
But it was Clinton, perhaps uncharacteristically, who sought to take the fight to Trump on Tuesday — and the Republican front-runner who did little to engage. In a series of television interviews and campaign appearances after attacks in Brussels on Tuesday killed at least 30, Clinton took thinly veiled shots at the real estate mogul. And the typically combative Trump — who is still focused on a potential battle with his own party to secure the nomination — appeared less eager to engage in a war of words with Clinton.
"You can put walls around your country, but you don't keep out the Internet, and that has been a major tool for radicalizing, recruiting, propagandizing that ISIS is quite sophisticated at using," Clinton told CNN on Tuesday afternoon, a reference to Trump's main campaign pledge to build a wall along the Mexican border. Campaigning in Everett, Washington, she again mocked Trump’s solution: “How high does the wall have to be to keep the Internet out?” Clinton said.
It was the second day in a row that Clinton played offense against the biggest bully in the race — and received very little blowback in return. During her speech Monday in front of the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC in Washington, D.C., Clinton excoriated Trump for encouraging violence and said the world needs “steady hands” at the helm, as opposed to an erratic leader.
On Tuesday, Clinton allies were quick to dismiss Trump’s reaction to the attacks in Brussels — for which ISIS claimed responsibility — as more of his usual bombast: stoking fear and paranoia about terrorism abroad in the same way he creates anxiety about the economy and immigration at home. Democrats supporting Clinton said they expect his comments to hurt him as the race turns toward a general election battle in which he will have to expand his base beyond the angry, white male voters already on board, who make up less than half of the Republican electorate.
"One is a serious person who has spent her career on these issues, and the other is half entertainment,” said Tom Nides, a former deputy secretary of state under Clinton who remains close to the campaign. Nides said he was not worried about underestimating the appeal of Trump’s strongman language.
"The election won't be determined by sound bites,” he said. “It's not going to be a quip at a press conference. It's about a thoughtful approach, bringing allies together. You can't talk about wanting to dismantle NATO and how we'd be stronger abroad — it doesn't make sense."
Clinton's full statement on the Brussels attack:
“Terrorists have once again struck at the heart of Europe, but their campaign of hate and fear will not succeed. The people of Brussels, of Europe, and of the world will not be intimidated by these vicious killers. Today Americans stand in solidarity with our European allies. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and wounded, and all the people of Belgium. These terrorists seek to undermine the democratic values that are the foundation of our alliance and our way of life, but they will never succeed. Today’s attacks will only strengthen our resolve to stand together as allies and defeat terrorism and radical jihadism around the world.”
Another wave of endorsements for Clinton came in yesterday.

The Seattle Times reports:
Mayor Ed Murray said he hopes Clinton — who served two terms in the U.S. Senate representing New York state, including New York City — will be the Democratic nominee for president because she’s better equipped to help Seattle.
“I’m endorsing her because she was a U.S. senator who understands big-city issues,” he said. “Whether we’re working the minimum wage, or affordable housing, or homelessness, we’ve got to take this stuff to scale, and we need a partner in the White House who can continue to work with us and who can actually get some things done.”
“I’ve spent my entire adult life working on building up the Democratic Party, and I’m very pleased the party in 2016 has candidates conducting a substantive debate on the issues. I would absolutely be happy supporting either (Clinton or Sanders).”
Murray said he understands Clinton’s stance on a $15 minimum wage; she’s said that amount is appropriate for some areas but not all. Sanders has called for it nationwide. “The approach here in Seattle has been ramping up to it,” Murray said. “We should get to $15 everywhere but have different levels at different times.”
Some Sanders backers have criticized Clinton because at one time she backed the War on Drugs and, until relatively recently, opposed gay marriage. She since has changed those positions. Murray said she’s evolved.
“I don’t hear her talking about policies from the 1990s. I hear her talking about what we can do now when it comes to the prison pipeline,” he said.
Politico reports:
The largest member-based organization for registered nurses in the United States threw its support behind Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination on Tuesday.
"Hillary Clinton has been a nurse champion and health care advocate throughout her career and believes empowering nurses is good for patients and good for the country," Pamela F. Cipriano, president of the 3.4-million-member American Nurses Association, said in a statement. "We need a president that will make it a priority to transform the country's health care system into one that is high quality, affordable and accessible."
Clinton welcomed the endorsement from the Silver Spring, Maryland-based organization by touting her own health care plan.
“As President, I will always stand with America’s nurses in the fight to finally achieve universal, affordable health care and fight against any efforts to roll back the protections and coverage of the Affordable Care Act," Clinton said in a statement released through the campaign. "I will always stand with American workers to protect their rights and safety on the job. And I will fight to ensure that patients get the very best care, including by addressing the looming nursing shortage, investing substantially in tackling America’s substance use disorder crisis, and finally taking mental health as seriously as we do physical health.”
Rolling Stone endorses:
Anger is not a plan; it is not a reason to wield power; it is not a reason for hope. Anger is too narrow to motivate a majority of voters, and it does not make a case for the ability and experience to govern. I believe that extreme economic inequality, the vast redistribution of wealth to the top one percent — indeed, to the top one percent of the one percent — is the defining issue of our times. Within that issue, almost all issues of social injustice can be seen, none more so than climate change, which can be boiled down to the rights of mankind against the oligarchy that owns oil, coal and vast holdings of dirty energy, and those who profit from their use.
Hillary Clinton has an impressive command of policy, the details, trade-offs and how it gets done. It's easy to blame billionaires for everything, but quite another to know what to do about it. During his 25 years in Congress, Sanders has stuck to uncompromising ideals, but his outsider stance has not attracted supporters among the Democrats. Paul Krugman writes that the Sanders movement has a "contempt for compromise."
Hillary Clinton is one of the most qualified candidates for the presidency in modern times, as was Al Gore. We cannot forget what happened when Gore lost and George W. Bush was elected and became arguably one of the worst presidents in American history. The votes cast for the fantasy of Ralph Nader were enough to cost Gore the presidency. Imagine what a similar calculation would do to this country if a "protest vote" were to put the presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court all in the hands of the extreme right wing that now controls the Republican Party.
Clinton not only has the experience and achievements as first lady, senator and secretary of state, but a commitment to social justice and human rights that began for her as a young woman. She was one of those college students in the Sixties who threw herself into the passionate causes of those times, and she continues to do so today.
You get a sense of "authenticity" when you hear Sanders talking truth to power, but there is another kind of authenticity, which may not feel as good but is vitally important, when Clinton speaks honestly about what change really requires, about incremental progress, about building on what Obama has achieved in the arenas of health care, clean energy, the economy, the expansion of civil rights. There is an inauthenticity in appeals to anger rather than to reason, for simplified solutions rather than ones that stand a chance of working. This is true about Donald Trump, and lamentably also true about Sanders.
Politics is a rough game, and has been throughout American history. Idealism and honesty are crucial qualities for me, but I also want someone with experience who knows how to fight hard. It's about social and economic justice and who gets the benefits and spoils of our society, and those who have them now are not about to let go of their share just because it's the right thing to do. And Clinton is a tough, thoroughly tested fighter.
When I consider what's in their hearts, I think both Clinton and Sanders come out on the side of the angels; but when I compare their achievements in the past decades, the choice is clear. This is not the time in history for a "protest vote."
Clinton is far more likely to win the general election than Sanders. The voters who have rallied to Sanders during the primaries are not enough to generate a Democratic majority in November. Clinton will certainly bring them along, and add them to the broad coalition that Democrats have put together in the past to take the presidency, as did Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
On the question of experience, the ability to enact progressive change, and the issue of who can win the general election and the presidency, the clear and urgent choice is Hillary Clinton.

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