Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Hillary News & Views 10.25.16: Deep in the Heart of Texas Edition

Today’s Hillary News & Views begins with coverage of Clinton’s play for Texas, a reflection of her determination to run up the score on behalf of her own campaign and, just as importantly, the campaigns of downballot Democrats.

New York Times reports:
It is a question being asked by Democrats and Republicans alike: Can Mrs. Clinton win Texas? Democrats in the state call it a long shot, but some say they believe she has a chance; Republicans say it will be close but are confident that Mr. Trump will triumph. Political consultants who have both Republican and Democratic clients, and people who study Texas politics, say regardless of Mr. Trump’s narrow lead, he will take the state.
But some Democrats, pointing to the recent polls, see it differently. They predict a large turnout by black and Latino voters. And they have become energized as the Clinton campaign has opened offices and run TV ads in Texas and as local Republican-to-Democrat defections have made the news. Lauren Parish, a Republican judge in East Texas, said on Friday that she was leaving the party and becoming a Democrat because she saw “no way of reconciling my Christian beliefs with the manner in which the Republican Party is conducting itself.”
Gilberto Hinojosa, the chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, said of Mrs. Clinton, “I think she can carry Texas.”
“We’re looking at this cleareyed, but we have never been this close in a presidential election, at least for many years,” he said. “This election may be different because Republicans irresponsibly nominated someone who is just so far out there in every aspect.”
The Texas Tribune reports:
A leading Hispanic Republican in Texas says he has decided to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. 
Lionel Sosa, a veteran ad maker from San Antonio, told The Texas Tribune on Monday he will cast his ballot for Clinton to send a "clear statement" against Republican nominee Donald Trump's candidacy. 
"I want to make sure that I do everything I can to see that Trump doesn’t get elected," said Sosa, who has worked for Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. "I'm doing this because I don't think he's a good representative of the Republican Party. It's not the Republican Party I know." 

Politico reports:
Hillary Clinton and her allies have an animating aim in the final 14 days of the 2016 contest – drive up the score so dramatically that claims by Donald Trump of Democratic vote-rigging will be rendered inconsequential thanks to the margin of victory.
And if their final bombardment of campaign activity drags down-ballot Democrats across the finish line and sweeps proponents of Trump's alt-right ideology off the political table, all the better.
Already having banked millions of early votes as Trump’s campaign spiraled over the last three weeks, Clinton’s headquarters and battleground states teams now see a high-single-digit margin of victory as realistic – something that looks as decisive as Barack Obama’s 2008 win over John McCain.
To maintain that lead, the Clinton operation, its allies at the Democratic National Committee, and the party’s Senate and House campaign wings are deploying dozens of surrogates to battleground and “reach” states, investing in an advertising and get-out-the-vote blitz and pumping new organizing muscle into a trio of Republican states that are trending Clinton’s way.
BuzzFeed reports:
Hillary Clinton’s campaign is touting a substantial 99% increase in Latino voting in Florida compared to this point in 2012, with 133,000 Hispanics already casting their ballot in the state, as part of its major focus on getting its base to vote early in key swing states.
The campaign included the figure it called “unprecedented” in its latest field report Monday, as early voting begins in Florida, with the 133,000 votes comprising mail-in and absentee ballots. Last week, it said that in bellwether Pinellas County in Florida, which is 10% Latino, Democrats now maintain a voter registration advantage that’s increased since March.
With Latinos comprising 17% of the state’s electorate in 2012, and perhaps being a more important part of Clinton’s coalition in 2016, the numbers are very encouraging for the campaign.
Early voting in other states with large Latino populations has also buoyed the campaign’s outlook.
CNN reports:
Hillary Clinton is steadily moving her focus beyond Donald Trump, increasingly planning for what she believes will be her transition to the presidency after a final two-week dash through battleground states.
Even as Clinton intensifies her efforts to help Democrats across the party, particularly trying to win control of the Senate, she is spending much of her time behind-the-scenes putting together a White House team and preparing for a task even tougher than taking on Trump: governing in the divisive election's aftermath. 
"She's not being arrogant, she's being diligent," a top Democrat close to Clinton said. "She prepared for the debates. Now, she's getting ready to be president." 
Clinton has already quietly started reaching out to Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, people familiar with the talks say, reconnecting with old allies in the Senate whose help she will need for her agenda in the first 100 days and beyond.
Bloomberg reports:
At an appearance Monday with Clinton in the swing state of New Hampshire, Warren did one of the things she does best: needling Trump and emphasizing the contrast between the Republican and Democratic agenda for the country. But she also turned to the subject of banks and corporate greed she believes in "tough rules" and "real accountability" for the financial sector.
“This is Hillary’s agenda,” she said. “It is a progressive agenda."
“Personnel is policy,” Warren said in remarks last month to the Center for American Progress, a think tank with Clinton ties. That means financial firms like Citigroup Inc., Morgan Stanley or Blackrock Inc. won’t be “getting to choose who runs the economy in this country so they can capture our government,” she said. “America has had enough of the Masters of the Universe running the show.”
It’s very clear to any political actor including Hillary Clinton that it’s better to have Elizabeth Warren actively on your side rather than working against you,” Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “In a governing context there’s a real incentive for the Clinton administration to appoint people to positions with power over Wall Street that have a proven track record of challenging corporate power.”
Dennis Kelleher, president and CEO of Better Markets, an advocacy group founded in the wake of the financial crisis, said he thinks Clinton has gotten Warren’s message and expects her personnel choices won’t be particularly controversial. “There’s no easier way to kill an agenda than to have a divisive fight over a nomination,” he said. “No one can afford to split the caucus.”
Politico reports:
Clinton’s strategy throughout all three high-stakes debates was to unmask the “real” Trump by leading him unsuspectingly into rabbit holes where he would attack and sputter — and ultimately forget what he actually needed to do, which was to continue driving a consistent, outsider message without the aid of a teleprompter.
In mock debate sessions, Clinton’s Trump stand-in, longtime aide Philippe Reines, yelled “wrong” into the microphone and interrupted his boss so she could practice delivering her lines unperturbed. And for three consecutive debates, Clinton came armed with lines and characters designed to bait Trump — in two debates, she mentioned beauty queen-turned-“eating machine” Alicia Machado; and twice she needled him with an effective Freudian dig about Trump’s wealthy, self-made father setting him up for life.
But a much larger part of Clinton’s debate strategy, according to insiders, was to avoid addressing Trump directly on the debate stage. It was a lesson her prep team gleaned from watching the Republican primary debates, where every candidate who came at Trump head-on ultimately lost. Trump was good at bombing from a distance, or stabbing from up close. But at a sword-match distance, Clinton aides concluded Trump was less skilled at parrying attacks.
amNY endorses:
In this ugly campaign, it’s easy to forget Clinton’s skills. She’s steady, mature, tough, intelligent and deeply knowledgeable about policy and government. She knows that complex problems have neither simple diagnoses nor simple solutions, and that continuing to move forward is often the best idea.
Take Obamacare. Clinton knows revamping it is better than starting over, so she’s proposing tax credits and more subsidies to make it more affordable. That pragmatism marked her time in the Senate. Working with the GOP, she got bills passed to monitor the long-term health of 9/11 responders and to make National Guard members and reservists eligible for military benefits.
As president, she’d have to work with Congress in a way Barack Obama could not, and Congress would have to do the same with her. Clinton is not a purist; she’ll make deals to make progress. That’s how Washington used to work, and can again.
Clinton speaks a language America needs now. It is one of bridges, not walls, of engaging with the world, not withdrawing from it, of adapting to a changing economy, not reverting to one from a time long gone.
She is realistic about our nation’s problems and resolute about fixing them. Her unbroken belief in the right of every American to achieve the dream of America makes her the right choice for president.
Chelsea Clinton writes for Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls:
Recently I visited Wellesley College, my mom’s alma mater. I’d last been to Wellesley twenty years ago when I visited as a curious high school student — curious to see if I could imagine myself at the same school I knew my mom deeply loved. Although I wound up at Stanford — and was back for my fifteenth reunion last week! — I feel a deep connection to Wellesley given all the stories I’ve heard over the years of my mom’s time there and of her deep friendships throughout the years since.
Working to bring more people into the possible, to give more children a real chance to live up to their God-given potential has been the motivating ethos of my mother’s life. It’s why she went to work at the Children’s Defense Fund, going door-to-door to investigate why children with disabilities weren’t in school — and then to help build the case that every child, regardless of disability, has the right to a good, public education. That’s something she’s still fighting for today.
It’s what drove her as First Lady of Arkansas to help improve our public school system and as First Lady of our country to help low-income children get health care coverage through the Children’s Health Insurance Program. It’s why she worked so hard to get our 9/11 first responders the health care they deserve as a senator from New York and why she’s fought her whole life for women to have equal rights, including reproductive rights, civil rights, legal rights and more. Her life proves that she has always believed that public service is first and foremost about service.
Prachi Gupta writes for Cosmpolitan:
Michelle Obama shared her family’s motto in a powerful speech at the DNC this summer, in which she artfully delivered hope alongside criticism by reminding America that her black daughters play in the lawn of a house built by slaves. Hillary Clinton later invoked the phrase in the second presidential debate, adopting it as a second campaign slogan. And, in an electrifying, deeply personal speech about sexual assault and harassment last Thursday, when Obama uttered, "When they go low," the eager crowd finished her line: "We go high!"
That phrase, in particular, has struck a chord. It embodies the compassion and strength Obama has demonstrated while she has watched the man who launched racist birther attacks against her husband come within a stone’s throw of the White House. It embodies the resolve it has taken to hold her head high among the politicians and celebrities who hurled racial slurs at her. And it embodies the dignified restraint she has demonstrated by refusing to mention Trump’s name even once while expressing how painful it was to hear the Republican presidential candidate brag about sexually assaulting women without impunity.
The line is resonating with American women who are emotionally drained from misogynistic and racist rhetoric from the election that has begun to feel increasingly personal. “That one statement, that one line speaks to what every woman goes through in life at some point,” said Sylvia Chimhina, a 35-year-old small business owner who first heard the quote during Obama’s New Hampshire speech. “And this is girls that are young, to women that are 65, 70. You have to literally force yourself to be the bigger person. You have to force yourself to be the one that takes the high road in the midst of all the craziness that’s thrown at us.”
Melissa McEwan writes for Shareblue:
Hillary Clinton often says that she has spent her life advocating for children, women, and families. She has — but rarely do we consider what this says about her.
And, more specifically, how it crushes so many pernicious narratives about her.
Does someone who is, as she is so frequently said to be, ruthlessly ambitious, who will stop at nothing to seize ever more power, dedicate her life to children, who cannot vote? Who cannot give her money? Who have no cultural power to grant to her?
Part of the reason that there are so few politicians who center their work around children is for this very reason. Children are a special interest group with nothing immediate to offer in exchange for advocacy on their behalf.
Clinton views children as rights-bearing citizens with a unique set of needs, thus requiring specialized advocacy.
But among those rights is not the right to vote. They are neither a wealthy nor influential constituency.
She advocates for children, and pursues policy that improves their lives, because it is the right thing to do.
I am not sure even most adults understand how special that really is.
Charles M. Blow writes for New York Times:
President Obama is fond of saying that Hillary Clinton is the most qualified person to ever seek the presidency. And, if current polls are correct and prove resilient, she will be one of the most qualified people to be elected and ascend to that office.
But one of the great ironies of this election is that America’s first female president may be viewed by many as the country’s most invalid president, hanging under the specter of suspicion, mistrust and illegitimacy.
This is partly because her opponents all along the way have complained that the system — from the media to the electoral apparatus — was “rigged” and unfairly tilted in her favor, and it’s partly because of unflattering bits of information that have come to light from an illegal hack.
We could be on the verge of something historic. So, why does it feel so much like acquiescence? Why aren’t more people rushing to the polls to vote for this immensely qualified woman rather than rushing to vote against this woefully unqualified man? One of the reasons is that her male opponents have successfully cast the race she may win as rigged.
I think it’s fair to say our electoral processes aren’t perfect. But they’ve never been. Nor has any candidate been perfect. So why must those imperfections be nullifying at the very moment that a woman is on the verge of victory? Clinton is a woman beating men at their own game. Deal with it.
Eugene Robinson writes for Washington Post:
Not enough has been made of two obvious facts: Hillary Clinton, if she wins, will be the first woman elected to the White House. And it will have been the votes of women who put her there.
Think, for a moment, about what a remarkable milestone that would be. Consider what it would say about the long and difficult struggle to make the Constitution’s guarantees of freedom and equality encompass all Americans. The first 43 presidents were all members of a privileged minority group — white males. The 44th is a black man, and the 45th may well be a white woman. That is a very big deal.
The historic nature of Clinton’s candidacy has been all but lost amid the clamorous sound and fury of the Donald Trump eruption. The campaign has seen many unforgettable moments, but one that I believe will prove truly indelible came during the third and final debate, when Clinton was speaking and Trump interrupted her by snarling, “Such a nasty woman.”
Within minutes, “nasty woman” became an Internet meme — not so much because of what it said about Trump, since we already knew of his sexism and misogyny, but because of what it said about the moment. A “nasty woman” was on the verge of shattering the highest and most shatterproof glass ceiling of them all. That this accomplishment would come at Trump’s expense just made it a bit sweeter.
Greg Kaufmann writes for The Nation:
In my dream, the next president is an antipoverty president because she knows in her bones that the way we think about poverty in America is wrong, the way we treat people in poverty is wrong, and therefore what we do about poverty is more off the mark than need be.
My president declares herself the educator in chief on poverty, and uses the bully pulpit to teach Americans. She tells the stories of struggling people and their experiences, and regularly takes us to communities that are used to being dismissed, demonized, and disempowered.
My president shows Americans that people in poverty are not who we have been led to believe they are—some fixed group that has lost its initiative; that, in fact, more than half of us will experience at least one year of poverty or near poverty during our working years. She recognizes that while generational poverty is important, it is only a small part of poverty; that over a three-year period, only 3.5 percent of people were in poverty for the entire 36 months, while the national poverty rate ranged between 15 and 16 percent.
She teaches that most of us fall into poverty because of universal experiences—like the birth of a child, an unexpected illness, job loss or reduced work hours—which is why we have a safety net that is there for all of us; and though it is much maligned, it is highly effective.
John Cassidy writes for The New Yorker:
Clinton has made no secret of her intention to raise taxes on the rich. Understandably, she has spent little time laying out the details of the increases she is proposing. If she spelled out how much more money the wealthy would be paying to the U.S. Treasury under a Clinton Administration, some of her well-heeled donors might have second thoughts. In any case, there are five main ways in which the Clinton tax plan would hit the very rich:
1. It would limit the amount of tax relief that high-income taxpayers can get from itemized deductions, such as mortgage-interest payments, state and local taxes, and contributions to pension plans. Since people who earn millions of dollars a year tend to arrange their finances so that they are eligible for a lot of deductions, this proposal would have a substantial impact on their tax liabilities.
2. It would enact a version of the “Buffett Rule,” named for Warren Buffett, which states that no household making more than a million dollars a year should pay a smaller share of its income in taxes than middle-class families do. Specifically, Clinton would make wealthy households pay at least thirty per cent of their income in federal taxes, with the provision being phased in so that it doesn’t take full effect until incomes top $2 million.
3. It would impose a new four-per-cent tax surcharge on all households with taxable incomes of more than five million dollars (or $2.5 million for married couples who file separate returns). For many ultra-rich households, this would make their top marginal tax rate 47.4 per cent. The current top rate of income tax is 39.6 per cent. The Affordable Care Act introduced a 3.8-per-cent “Obamacare tax” on investment income. Add Clinton’s proposed four-per-cent surcharge on top of that and you get to 47.4 per cent. That’s much lower than the top rate in the Eisenhower era, which was more than ninety per cent, but it’s much higher than the top rate at the end of the Reagan era, which was twenty-eight per cent.
4. It would broaden the base for the Obamacare tax on investment income, which applies to taxpayers with over-all incomes of more than $200,000 a year. At the moment, some so-called pass-through income, which rich people earn from investment partnerships and other sources, escapes the Obamacare tax. Clinton’s plan would close this loophole.
5. It would expand the estate tax in three significant ways. First, the tax would apply to all bequests larger than $3.5 million ($7 million for married couples), whereas the current system exempts bequests up to $5.45 million ($10.9 million per married couple). In addition, Clinton would eliminate the “step-up in basis” loophole, which allows heirs to avoid paying capital gains tax on assets that have appreciated in value under the ownership of the deceased. And, third, Clinton recently adopted a proposal from Bernie Sanders to impose higher tax rates on very large bequests. Right now, the estate tax rate is forty per cent, no matter the size of the bequest. Clinton wants to introduce a graduated rate, which would start at forty-five per cent and rise to sixty-five per cent for estates worth more than $500 million (or a billion dollars for a married couple).

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