Thursday, May 12, 2016

Hillary News & Views 5.12.16: Taxes, Voting Rights, Endorsement, Wage Gaps and Double Standards

Getty images

Guest post by aphra behn

Hello HNV readers!  I hope you enjoy today’s news, editorials, Hillary-supporting fellowship, and of course, some Thursday Herstory about a trailblazing female presidential candidate… but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s begin, shall we?
On the campaign trail in New Jersey on Wednesday, Clinton hit hard at Donald Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns. Making it more than a cheap campaign shot, she used his secrecy to highlight the differences in their tax plans. According to the New York Times:
She said that his tax plan — which envisions a top tax rate of 25 percent, compared with the current maximum rate of 39.6 percent — would provide $3 trillion in tax relief to millionaires and billionaires over the next decade, a figure that her campaign attributed to an analyst at a left-leaning think tank. She also cited studies showing that the plan would add $34 trillion to the national debt over 20 years.
“Donald Trump’s tax plan was written by a billionaire for billionaires,” Mrs. Clinton said, adding that $3 trillion would be “enough money to make Social Security and Medicare solvent for the next 75 years.”
Mrs. Clinton was blunt about her own tax plans, noting that she would target the wealthy and rule out any tax increases on middle-class Americans.
“I do want to raise rich people’s taxes because they have benefited the most from the economy in the last 15 years,” she said to cheers from several hundred union workers, college students, professors and others gathered in a gym at Camden County College. “It’s time they paid their fair share for America’s prosperity and our success.”
In an editorial published in the Washington Informer on Wednesday, Clinton attacked the Jim Crow mindset behind GOP-driven voting restrictions, laid out her vision to protect voting rights across the country, and called for the end of Washington D.C.’s disfranchisement:

Washington, D.C., is home to nearly 700,000 Americans – more than the entire population of several states. Washingtonians serve in the military, serve on juries and pay taxes just like everyone else. And yet they don’t even have a vote in Congress.
Lacking representatives with voting power, the District of Columbia is often neglected when it comes to federal appropriations. Many of the District’s decisions are also at the mercy of right-wing ideologues in Congress, and as you can imagine, they don’t show very much of it. Everything from commonsense gun laws to providing women’s health care and efforts to cut down on drug abuse has been halted by Republicans, who claim the District is an exception to their long-held notion that communities ought to be able to govern themselves.
Solidarity is no longer enough. We need a solution.
That’s why, as president, I will be a vocal champion for D.C. statehood.
Hillary Clinton has received the endorsement of LGBTQ newspaper The Washington Blade. Editor Kevin Naff writes:
On LGBT rights, Clinton was late to the marriage party but she has arrived — and there’s no turning back now. The time has come to forgive the many Democratic Party leaders who paid lip service to our issues for so long and move forward in this radically changed political environment in which anything but full-throated support for LGBT rights will not fly for any Democrat seeking the presidency. Clinton has pledged her full support for a range of LGBT causes. She even hired a gay campaign manager. Our progress is not only safe in her hands, it will continue. Clinton has pledged to support the Equality Act, to allow transgender people to serve openly in the U.S. military and to end widely discredited “ex-gay” conversion therapy for minors. In addition, she has said she would expand access to HIV prevention and treatment; confront disproportionate violence facing transgender people, especially trans women of color; and continue her work as former secretary of state on international LGBT rights. She has consistently raised LGBT issues during the primary season, making them a centerpiece of her campaign.
…. Hillary Clinton has promised to continue President Obama’s fierce advocacy on LGBT issues. And she’s backed up those words with specific, detailed policy proposals. Further, she has a record now of advocating for LGBT people around the world as secretary of state. The Blade has interviewed scores of overseas activists and they routinely cite her Geneva speech in which she famously said, “gay rights are human rights” as a game changer. Make no mistake that her public stand in defense of gay rights abroad has saved lives.
The time has come to move past divisive fights of the past and rally around an ally who has pledged to put the full weight of her administration and bully pulpit into maintaining and advancing LGBT equality. Hillary Clinton is that ally and has earned LGBT support in November.
“Make no mistake that her public stand in defense of gay rights abroad has saved lives.”  Wow. Very important indeed.
Clinton's Twitter account was busy as usual Wednesday, highlighting (among other things) her calls for affordable child care.

She also laid bare what the wage gap means for older women:

This part of Clinton’s longstanding commitment to economic equality for women. As she has previously outlined on the campaign trail, she wants concrete actions:
  • Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to give women the tools they need to fight discrimination at work.
  • Promote pay transparency across our economy so that women have the information they need to negotiate fairly.
  • Raise wages for the lowest paid jobs in America, which are disproportionately held by women.
  • Establish workplace policies like paid leave and flexible scheduling that allow parents to take care of their obligations at home without sacrificing pay at work.
Clinton’s Twitter account also emphasized that Trump’s attacks on women are more than just verbiage. His policies would have catastrophic results:

As we chew over gender bias in 2016, this seems like a good time for...

Hillary Clinton isn’t the only woman whose run for the presidency is getting some media attention right now. Filmmakers Caroline and Rebecca Rau are currently producing a documentary about Victoria Woodhull, the Ohio native who became the first American woman to run for president.

Victoria Woodhull, photographed by Matthew Brady c. 1870

Born very poor in the 1830s to an abusive father and mentally unstable mother, Victoria Claflin had a mere three years of formal schooling. She was married off at 15 to Canning Woodhull, a doctor twice her age. His severe alcoholism, combined with his womanizing and abuse, left Victoria and their two children (one of whom, Byron, was developmentally disabled) in desperate poverty. She sought a living  as a seamstress, an actor, and eventually as a spiritualist medium in an act with her sister, Tennessee (“Tennie”). Divorced in 1864, she remarried Colonel James H. Blood in 1866. In 1868, she became a spiritual advisor to the railroad baron Cornelius Vanderbilt, who was so impressed with her that he gave her financial backing for a new career. Together with Tennie, she became a newspaper publisher and founded America’s first female-owned stockbrockerage. 
Despite her Wall Street career, Victoria Woodhull was attracted to radical causes, publishing the first English translation of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto (althoughMarx himself sneered at her as a “banker’s woman” and “general humbug”). In 1869, she attended a women’s rights convention in 1869 and was galvanized by the struggle for suffrage.
In 1870, she took a very public stance in favor of women’s equal political rights by announcing her candidacy for the 1872 election in a letter to the New York Herald.Woodhull was running as the candidate of the Equal Rights Party, with activist Frederick Douglass as the vice presidential candidate (although it’s not clear if he ever acknowledged his nomination; he campaigned for Ulysses S. Grant in 1872). Writing in the Smithsonian Magazine, Danny Lewis  quotes her letter:
I am quite well aware that in assuming this position I shall evoke more ridicule than enthusiasm at the outset. But this is an epoch of sudden changes and startling surprises. What may appear absurd today will assume a serious aspect to-morrow.
 It would be an uphill battle. As Lewis notes, “Woodhull was reviled in the national press for what were considered to be radical beliefs by many Americans. In particular, she was singled out for her vocal support for free love, which at that point meant believing that women should have the freedom to choose who they wanted to marry and have the right to divorce their husbands.”  

Thomas Nast’s cartoon; talk about demonizing!

Fellow women’s rights advocates fumed at the double standards applied to Woodhull, who went from press darling to devil because of allegations that she and Colonel Blood had an open relationship. In particular, her compassion in taking her homeless ex-husband into her household was considered a moral scandal. Ellen Fitzpatrick, writing in The Highest Glass Ceiling, quotes Elizabeth Cady Stanton writing to Lucretia Mott about the accusations:
I have thought much of our dear Woodhull & all the gossip about her & come to the conclusion that it is a great impertinence in any of us to pry into her affairs. How should we feel to have everybody overhauling our antecedents & turning up the whites of their eyes over each new discovery or invention… We have had enough sacrificed to this sentimental, hypocritical, prating about purity. This is one of man’s most effective engines for our division & subjugation.
Unfortunately for Woodhull, the immorality charges stuck. When she responded by denouncing in print the hypocrisy of one of her detractors, the moralizing (and quite adulterous) minister Henry Ward Beecher, it was she who landed in jail on charges of sending obscene material through the mail.  Released on a  technicality, Woodhull remained a pariah in much of society, while the womanizing Beecher retained his popularity. Feminists deplored the social double standard, even as many of them distanced themselves from the now-toxic trailblazer. Woodhull divorced Colonel Blood, and eventually moved to England where she remarried and rebuilt her life. She died there in 1927, seven years after American women’s right to vote had finally been recognized via the 19th Amendment.
And while serial adulterer Donald Trump seems determined to use sexual shaming as a weapon against Hillary Clinton, I suspect  Woodhull would be pleased to know that many people today to find his double standards totally laughable—and totally irrelevant. 

...and now, returning to our Clinton coverage….
Speaking of double standards, my blog-colleague Melissa McEwan writes movingly in an essay called “When I Was a Little Girl I Memorized a List of Male Presidents” about being a girl wondering what it would take for a woman to become president. As Hillary Clinton makes her second run, she thinks she has it figured out:
What is takes is to be a woman who is extraordinary. A man with a C average and an important last name can bumble his way through life until he’s delivered to the Oval Office, accompanied by the sound of cheers and laughter. A woman must have a résumé that slays dragons.
What it takes is to be a woman with unparalleled moxie and almighty gumption. Who is willing and able to weather discreet and explosive attacks on her character, her personal life, her every word and gesture. Attacks so ceaseless and intense they would leave the average mortal cowering in the fetal position, rather than armed with a steely resolve to face more.
...And what it takes, at this particular time, in this particular race for the presidency, for this particular woman named Hillary, is to be a woman who has spent her life grinding against the most sharpened edges of obstructionist misogyny, only to meet the final, pitiless indignity of facing an opponent who wields his vile chauvinism like a proud knight brandishing a battle-tested sword.
Finally, in an essay that may resonate with many regular HNV readers, Mary Juhl writes in  a nuanced fashion at Medium about the stigma she has felt as the price of being an open Hillary Clinton supporter, differentiating between positive discussions with progressive Sanders supporters and the hostility of online “anti-HIllary vigilantes”:
It’s important to note that not all Bernie Sanders supporters feel inclined to attack Clinton supporters. Some of the people I’m closest to in this world support him, including my boyfriend and close friends. They have never attacked me for supporting Clinton, and we’ve had many thought-provoking discussions about the race. Unfortunately, the majority of my interactions with more radical Sanders supporters online have been the opposite of productive and respectful.
People absolutely have a right to disagree with me, and to ask me questions about why I support Clinton. I welcome political discussions, especially with people I disagree with. But the anti-Hillary vigilantes online aren’t interested in nuanced, civil discussions — they’re interested in shaming Hillary supporters and making them answer for all of Clinton’s perceived failings. It’s never “tell me which parts of her platform appeal to you. I have some concerns about X.” It’s always “How can you vote for a liar who is bought by corporate interests? How?!”
Hillary is not a perfect candidate. There are many valid criticisms of her, and she has certainly made mistakes in her 30-year political career. I don’t regard her as a pinnacle of political purity. In fact, I disagree with her on several issues. I agree with many people that we need campaign finance reform, and I see the hypocrisy in her calling for campaign finance reform while simultaneously benefiting from the current law. But to me, the presidency encompasses so much more than the mechanics of a campaign, and Hillary Clinton’s approach to policy aligns with my own more closely than any other candidate. I believe she is by far the most qualified candidate in either field to lead this country, and my support for her isn’t all about pragmatism — believe it or not, she inspires me. She has been attacked and knocked down and had her name dragged through the mud by Republicans for decades, and she is still standing, still fighting. I admire her resilience, her capacity for compromise, and her toughness. I support her with joy and without apology.
“With joy and without apology.” Let’s turn our joy into action. Don’t forget to:
(originally posted at Daily Kos)


  1. I Support Hillary...WITH NO BUTS... Lock Step......100 with Hillary. Thank You a lot of people who support hillary....But like I said...NO BUTS from Me.

    1. No "BUT"s from me either! Tired of all the "BUT"s applied to this amazing woman! 100% for Hillary!

  2. there is no other candidate whose supporters are expected to say 'she's not perfect.'

    The 'double standard' doesn't apply to Donald blaming her for her husband's indiscretions, that's no standard at all, she hasn't any sexual indiscretions.

    And it doesn't even apply to Bill, since he's only been married once, while Donald left his first two wives and then blamed them. And while Donald's current wife is another beauty, she's so much younger the only thing that explains the match is Oedipus, her own unattractive and elderly father being of like pushy, boorish and out-of-shape kind.

    The reason why those slogans didn't even stick to Bill is that Bill does treat women with respect, and that is obvious, and sooooo many man have extra-martial affairs and aren't respectful, and he was even grateful, so his seemed rather refreshing. And she forgave him, and that's the only forgiveness he needed. (He's a lucky man and he knows it.)

    Bill is what is known as a normal heterosexual adult man who came from the deprived generation, the social acceptance of friend-sex was never imagined, the pill came too late for some, and at least among the self-promoting righteous, he's unusual. Bill's indiscretions probably saved quite a few marriages. And made public humiliation not so bad, at least certain public humiliations, of the consenting adult kind.

    About BIll one may say he's not perfect, about Donald one can say he's a strange political phenomenon that would have been better as a yet another film, but Hillary?

    Hillary is perfect enough, a lot more perfect than most other presidents. The only one on her page is Barack, he's just as square and put-others-first as she is.

    Do they always floss? Is anyone perfect perfect?