Thursday, June 09, 2016

Hillary, Obama and the progressive vote

The Republicans are about to nominate a nasty demagogue, Donald Trump, as their Presidential candidate. He's running an overt White Power campaign. This gives the Democratic Party an historic chance to shift Latino votes in particular to Democrats on a long-term basis; to win voters under 30 to identify not just with the Presidential candidate but with the Democratic Party; to overtly challenge and discredit the White Power ideology that the Republicans have been exploiting for decades in a more sublimated way; to take control of the Senate and, in a long shot, the House as well; and to build a mandate for Democratic goals that even Hillary Clinton nominally claims to support like increasing Social Security, boosting the minimum wage and overturning the reactionary Citizen's United Supreme Court decision.

So what is the incumbent Democratic President doing to make this happen?

Well, there this: David Dayen, Will Democrats Pay a Price for Obama’s Deportation Raids? New Republic 06/01/2016.

The article discusses the implications of a new round of Latino deportations President Obama announced last month. (Kate Linthicum and Brian Bennett, Obama administration plans new raids that would deport Central American children Los Angeles Times 05/12/2016) Even Hillary Clinton criticized that plan when the Administration announced it:

Democratic presidential rivals Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, who are both vying for Latino votes, criticized the deportation plan Thursday.

“I oppose the painful and inhumane business of locking up and deporting families who have fled horrendous violence in Central America and other countries," Sanders said. "Sending these people back into harm’s way is wrong."

Sanders urged Obama to use his executive authority to extend a protection known as Temporary Protective Status to those fleeing Central America.

Clinton said she is "against large-scale raids that tear families apart and sow fear in communities." She called for a plan "to stop the root causes of the violence in Central America and expand orderly resettlement programs."

"I am concerned about recent news reports, and believe we should not be taking kids and families from their homes in the middle of the night," she said.
Of course, this is Hillary Clinton, the establishment candidate of the Democratic Party, so this is an issue on which she has recently, uh, evolved: "She has softened her position on the issue since 2014, when she told a reporter that she believed immigrant children from Central America 'should be sent back as soon as it can be determined who responsible adults in their families are.'"

David Dayen does a great job of spelling out the political problem with this, and rightly emphasizes that its an immoral, destructive policy:

One of the most popular themes of 2016 general-election prognosticators is that Donald Trump simply cannot find enough white males to carry him to victory—and that’s the only way he can win. His alienation of Latinos in particular, beginning when he denounced Mexican immigrants as rapists in his campaign announcement speech, has triggered a backlash, with surges of non-white voter registration in states like California. All Democrats need to do in November, the thinking goes, is sit back and collect the votes of people of color against a boor like Trump.

Amid polls showing Trump neck-and-neck with likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, this is a reassuring notion for Democrats and #NeverTrump types alike. But it also makes the Obama administration’s latest round of aggressive deportation raids, which will target Central American mothers and children fleeing violence and possible death, all the more puzzling.

The crackdown threatens to squander a historic political advantage in 2016. It could even disrupt a generational political realignment between Democrats and Hispanics. But putting politics aside (for a moment), the White House’s position is wholly indefensible. The political danger is real — but it’s ultimately a sidelight to a senseless human tragedy. [my emphasis]
Also, after his experiences of the last 7 1/2 years, our Democratic President gives us his reflections on the Republican Party (David M Jackson, Obama tells Jimmy Fallon he's 'worried' about the Republican Party USA Today 06/09/2016):

President Obama says Democrats are only too happy to run against Donald Trump, but he is personally "worried" about the fate of the Republican Party.

"This country works when you have two parties that are serious and trying to solve problems," Obama told Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon. "And they've got philosophical differences and they have fierce debates and they argue and they contest elections."

Indicating that Trump is not a serious candidate, Obama said that what has happened in the Republican Party "is not actually good for the country as a whole. It's not something Democrats should wish for."

Saying the nation needs a "healthy two-party system," Obama said that he hopes that "there's some corrective action" after this year's election.
Yes, after all these decades of the Republican Party having high-minded philosophical debates, this rude Donald Trump comes along and threatens to change the constructive approach the Republican Party has been taking for so long.

The reality is that Hillary Clinton and her campaign will have to win enough votes to be elected President. If she wants active support from Sanders and wants his voters to turn out in large numbers in November, she's going to have to make that appeal. I'm seriously unsure whether the Clinton campaign will even care about turning those voters out. Her campaign seem to have a remarkable complacency about those voters having no place else to go. And so far, including in her refreshingly aggressive foreign policy speech against Trump recently, she's emphasizing more the theme At Least She's Not Donald Trump than trying to build a Democratic mandate.

And for that kind of campaign, making particular appeals to Sanders voters would step on the Pangloss message that the Obama Administration is the best of all possible worlds and Hillary will preserve that ideal world against Trump the Barbarian. I had thought until May 17 that it would be fairly easy for a Clinton campaign to strongly appeal to Sanders voters in the general election. But that was the day DNC Chair, Hillary supporter and BFF of the payday lending industry Debbie Wasserman Shultz issued her anathema against Sanders and his supporters based on the Clinton campaign's phony charges about Sanders supporters throwing chairs and punching Clinton supporters at the Nevada state convention, which I discuss in the immediately preceding post. I really don't know if the Clinton campaign cares if the Sanders voters back her or not. Especially since she's emphasizing the vote-against-Trump approach.

The Clinton campaign's response to things like this is now pretty standard: Trump scary, Bernie evil, Hillary wonderful. And this is the face that Hillary's campaign has so often shown to the Sanders voters, Clinton lashes out: ‘I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying’ tin hay 03/31/2016:

And maybe At Least She's Not Donald Trump will be good enough for the fall campaign. Supporters of democracy certainly have to hope so.

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