Thursday, May 5, 2016

Hillary News & Views 5.5.16: Trump the "Bullying Guy," Polls, Herstory, Religiosity, and Destiny

Guest post by aphra behn

Welcome to Hillary News & Views! As Lysis mentioned earlier in the week, he wants to keep this series going on, with a rotating stable of writers. For the moment, I will be covering Thursdays, and you can be sure I’ll include a bit of herstory each week to accompany the news! It’s a pleasure starting the morning with Hillary and with you, the great HNV community at Daily Kos.
First some campaign news. Hillary Clinton will be in California today, while Bill campaigns in Oregon. You can check the schedule of events here. Yesterday, Hillary Clinton appeared on Anderson Cooper’s show on CNN. She was blunt in her assessment of Donald Trump, calling him a “loose cannon” who has run a very “aggressive, bullying campaign.” But if he wants to play dirty pool, Clinton also has a message for Trump: bring it!
"If he wants to go back to the playbook of the 1990s, if he wants to follow in the footsteps of those who have tried to knock me down and take me out of the political arena, I'm more than happy to have him do that," Clinton said, laughing. "This, to me, is a classic case of a blustering, bullying guy who has knocked out of the way all the Republicans because they were just dumbfounded.
Time reported on a new CNN poll with good news for Clinton:
The survey found Clinton starting the general election with a 13-point advantage against Trump. Both candidates, however, are viewed unfavorably. Clinton is underwater by just one point (48% view her favorably, compared to 49% unfavorably. But Trump is in a deeper hole, with only 39% viewing him favorably and 57% unfavorably.
Clinton’s 54%-41% advantage over Trump is her largest since July. Her supporters are split over their reasons for backing her, with 51% saying they are voting for her to oppose Trump. On the Republican side, 57% of his supporters back him to prevent another Clinton from entering the White House.
The prospect of a Trump presidency has plenty of GOPers freaking out (to put it in clinical terms) as kos noted yesterday. In fact, some are even advocating voting for Clinton. Former McCain aide Mark Salter tweeted:
Mike Treiser, a former staffer under Mitt Romney’s campaign, had this to say, according to Time:  “In the face of bigotry, hatred, violence, and small-mindedness, this time, I’m with her.” And former White House staffer under Bush, David Ross Myers, hada message for his fellow Republicans:
While I disagree with many of Hillary Clinton’s policies, she is clearly qualified to be president. She possesses judgment and self-restraint. She does not have a track record of irrational, risky, and unsound business decisions and public comments. She has a long record of public service. She can be trusted with controlling our military and nuclear weapons. Mr. Trump cannot.
Any Republican who claims that it’s better to elect Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton either lacks proper judgment, or has become so blinded by partisan ideology that they have lost objectivity.
The Clinton campaign helpfully tweeted out a web video reminding us all of exactly what Republicans say about Trump:

This seems like a good time to remind ourselves that Hillary Clinton isn’t just better than Trump by some tiny margin. She supports policies that are in diametric opposition to Trump’s horrifying values. Let’s take immigration.
DONALD TRUMP ON IMMIGRATION REFORM (I paraphrase slightly): “Let’s  build a giant wall! Let’s keep the Muslims out! Let’s nativist nonsense ooga booga blah blah fart!”
  • Fight for comprehensive immigration reform legislation with a path to full and equal citizenship.
  • Defend President Obama’s DACA and DAPA executive actions.
  • Do everything possible under the law to go further to protect families.
  • End the 3- and 10-year bars.
  • Promote naturalization.
  • Support immigrant integration.
    • Create a national Office of Immigrant Affairs to ensure successful immigrant and refugee integration in every community.
    • Support affordable integration services through $15 million in new grant funding for community navigators and similar organizations.
    • Significantly increase federal resources for adult English language education and citizenship education.
  • Expand access to affordable health care to all families.
  • Conduct humane, targeted immigration enforcement.
    • End family detention.
    • Close private immigrant detention centers.
(You can read the details of these bullets at her campaign website.) I think the contrast is clear.
And now, a slight diversion for...
One of Hillary Clinton’s key strengths is women voters. In averaging various polls,PolitiFact finds that she leads Donald Trump by +19 among female voters. You might assume this is a voting bloc that was essentially invented in 1920 with the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Or in 1869, when Wyoming recognized women’s right to suffrage. But in fact, property-holding women in the state of New Jersey voted in elections from the adoption of the New Jersey Constitution in 1776 until their right to do so was was revoked in 1807—a span of over 30 years.
The statute was also colorblind, permitting women of all colors, as well as men of color, to vote, so long as they held sufficient property—and the property qualification was the lowest among states that required property to vote. Although it’s important to bear in mind that this applied mostly to widows, since married women’s right to property was not recognized, it was still an incredibly bold experiment in democracy. Consider the words of one supporter of the female franchise, written in 1800:
Our daughters are the same relations to us as our sons; we owe them the same duties; they have the same science, and are equally competent to their attainments. The contrary idea originated in the same abuse of power, as monarchy and slavery, and owes its little remaining support to stale sophistry.
Daughters and sons equally competent? Pretty revolutionary stuff! And it’s clear that women actually voted, and their votes were even sought after, especially as party politics expanded in the 1790s. A hostile male observer wrote of this GOTV effort in Essex County in 1797:

1864 illustration of women voting in New Jersey

They sent carriages into the country to bring out the farmers. They
were obliged to beg them, even to treat them, so indifferent are the
people to their privileges. [i.e., they bought the votes with cheap
drink] In spite of all their efforts...they received news that the
opposing party… was prevailing. In this extremity they had
recourse to the last expedient; it was to have women vote... They
scurried around collecting them. I need not say that the number
was very small.
Historian Jan Lewis Ellis observes that even the customary toasts “to the ladies” in New Jersey contained acknowledgements of voting, and certain  politicians were deemed much more successful than others in winning their votes: Stony Hill, New Jersey, Republicans saluted “―the fair daughters of Columbia, those who voted in behalf of Jefferson and Burr in Particular,” while in Bloomfield, the toast was offered to “―the Republican fair; May their patriotic conduct in the late elections add an irresistible zest to their charms.” According to one account, even Alexander Hamilton actively campaigned among women. Apparently, he and Senator Matthias Ogden had “―so ingratiated themselves in the esteem of the Federal ladies of Elizabethtown, and in the lower part of the state, as to induce them to resolve on turning out to support the Federal ticket in 1800.”
Unfortunately for these women, a more conservative turn in politics prompted the state legislature to disfranchise them along with men of color in 1807, restricting the vote to free white male taxholding citizens. I can’t help but imagine the spirits of those early female voters, voting despite the sneers of hostile men, cheering on Secretary Clinton… and everyone who pulls the lever for her on Election Day.
…And now, back to your regularly scheduled Hillary news and analysis!
The Friendly Atheist notes that with Ted Cruz dropping out of the race, Hillary Clinton may be the most religious candidate left in the race. Interestingly, this means that religion is shaping up to be a far less overt factor than in the races of the last few years, which is especially significant for atheists, humanists, and religious minorities in general. He speaks well of both Senator Sanders’ and Secretary Clinton’s ability to put their religious values in secular terms that are accessible to those who don’t share their creeds. He describes Clinton’s religiosity as follows:
Her form of Christianity is far less overt than even President Obama. In fact, according to a Pew Research Center survey from earlier this year, fewer than half of all Americans believe she’s “very” or “somewhat” religious at all. (Compare that to 59% who said the same about Obama.)

Her religion could easily be mistaken for a kind of Secular Humanism. She lives by the Golden Rule and is inspired by her faith to help other people. She’s pro-choice. She’s for gender equality. Whatever she once was, she’s actively pro-LGBT rights now. She’s also a firm supporter of church/state separation, as she said earlier this year...
To be clear, none of this is to say she isn’t religious, only that it’s the kind of religion that shouldn’t be a concern for atheists.
Glamour has an interesting interview with Chloe Grace Moretz, in which the Let Me In and Kick-Ass actor (and Clinton supporter) muses over her conversion to feminism and what’s like to interact with Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail:
CGM: The word feminism, right now, is super polarizing. I started realizing this when I got on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton. I’m constantly meeting young women who say, “I do want to vote for Hillary, and I think it would be really great for her to be our president, but I’m afraid that if I vote for Hillary, young men aren’t going to look at me the way they would have looked at me before.”
Glamour: You’re kidding me.
CGM: Nope, it’s not cool. It’s not cool. No one knows what feminism means; I really want to educate young women around me.
Glamour: Have you spent time with Hillary? What’s she like?
CGM: She wasn’t just like, “Oh, you’re a celebrity who’s campaigning for me. Thank you.” She asked what I thought were the biggest problems facing Americans my age. And what it was like to grow up with a single mom. And four older brothers—were they oppressive or supportive? What’s it like growing up with gay brothers?
Esquire has a re-run of a story they initially published in February, “It Is Hillary Clinton’s Destiny to Defeat Donald Trump,” which is even more timely now. I encourage you toread the whole thing, because it really is good.
The article describes the showdown between Clinton and Trump in almost cosmic terms. The stakes really are that high, and Hillary Clinton might just be the hero we need:
Okay, maybe you're not so excited that Hillary Clinton is running for president. After all, she's been around for a long time, there's always some kind of controversy swirling around her, she's no spring chicken, she's married to Bill, she wears those jackets, she's got that midwestern accent, plus she's so serious and wonky all the time. What's left to be said? You've already made up your mind about her. She might not be as crazy as those guys on the other side—but that doesn't mean that you have to be happy about the prospect of another President Clinton.
But what if the story isn't about what you know but rather about what you don't? Politicians always say that "there's never been more at stake in an election"—when it happens to be the election in which they're running.
But what if, this time out, that's true? What if this is, like, it, the main event, the conclusion of a long-running series, the climax of a nearly metaphysical battle that started before most people had ever heard of her? Think of a story you read once upon a time in which someone is selected for a fate more profound than anybody suspects—think Harry Potter but with Hermione, the grind, the perpetual A student, as the one scarred by the Dark Lord's lightning. Sure, Hillary Clinton is an unlikely prospect for such a heroine. She's so familiar. What she says might change but she's always the same. But you've read the books. If a person seems to be an unlikely fulcrum for forces much larger than herself, that only means...she is.
As we like to say around here: #ImWithHermione.
In closing, a reminder in the spirit of Lysis: we’re winning. Please be gracious to our fellow progressives, and remember our candidate’s call to love and kindness. Love trumps hate, now and always.
(originally post at Daily Kos)


  1. great idea to share front page duties. and a wonderful informative scholarly voting history essay, thank you.

    I am going to see her tomorrow, at the San Francisco reception, anna shane

  2. I half expected you to write "Herstorian Jan Lewis Ellis observes..." there. Thanks for the history lesson, aphra behn!