Election Notebook: Hillary at the Apollo, Trump’s abortion remarks and Maddow rocks the house

by Susan Getgood on March 31, 2016

in Election 16, Politics

Since last Fall, I have become increasingly active on Facebook about the 2016 election. First, speaking out about Donald Trump, and my horror that anyone could consider him a suitable candidate for president. Sadly, we have more than enough proof that he may be a viable one.

Then I realized I also needed to start talking about who I do support in the presidential election — with utmost confidence in her record, qualifications and ability to lead our country, Hillary Rodham Cllnton.

Slowly my Facebook posts have shifted to be largely political commentaries on the candidates and the election. Mostly focused on why #imwithher and #nevertrump. Of late I’ve also become increasingly critical of Senator Sanders’ campaign, which has surfaced a few critics of ME, no surprise. I also changed my Facebook profile to announce — with pride — that I will be voting for Secretary Clinton for president.

Today though I decided it was time to take my commentary back to my own blog. I’ve got more to say than can be encapsulated short Facebook posts, and this poor little blog has sat neglected for far too long anyway.

Why today? Because yesterday was a tipping point in this election. I want my thoughts all in one place. Let’s run it down.

Hillary Clinton at the Apollo

Hillary Clinton delivered an excellent speech at a campaign rally at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. The content was on point, for both the local and national audience, and she was in a word, presidential. It was everything that her supporters expect to hear from her, that her opponents fear to hear from her, and I hope, that the undecided truly listen to. Watch it for yourself (below) but listen especially for the 3 points she calls for all the candidates in the election to address:

  • the well-being of the American people. All the people
  • the safety of our nation
  • making our country whole again

When you listen to campaign speeches, measure the candidates against these 3 critical things. In my opinion, and to date this year, the opinion of nearly 9 million others, Secretary Clinton is the only candidate across both parties who can deliver on all three.

She inspires me with her passion for our country, its people and her desire to serve us. All of us. #imwithher. And I trust her.

More coverage of the speech:
The New Yorker
New York Times

Donald Trump Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot to Ankle

Donald Trump made what has to be his most ignorant statement to date in a Town Hall interview with Chris Matthews. When pressed by Matthews, Trump said that if the abortion were banned, women who get abortions should be punished. Not the men involved. Just the women.

How outrageous was the statement? So bad that Trump did something he hardly ever does with his outrageous statements — he walked it back almost immediately to the more toned down idea that the doctors involved should be punished. You can read the summary here.

What he didn’t take back, and in fact NONE of the Republicans will, is a commitment to overturn Roe v. Wade. They all want to take away a woman’s right to choose, to make abortion illegal. The other candidates just don’t have foot in mouth disease to the same degree as Mr. Trump. They may not say it, but they kinda want to punish women too.

To the undecided voter:

The consequences of the GOP policy on reproductive rights fall disproportionately on women, especially women with lower economic status. Who is guaranteed to not really suffer in the GOP scenario? Unless you are a principled OB-GYN, white men. Is this the America you want? Remember — abortion rights don’t force anyone to have an abortion, they just give everyone the right to make a choice. If your religion prohibits you from considering the option, fair enough, but in the United States, a founding principle is the separation of church and state. We cannot pass laws that force belief systems upon others. It is the law.

Cruz and Kasich and Ryan and Romney and all the rest of the crew? They’d ban abortion too, given the chance. Stopping this, stopping them is one of the most important issues at stake in this election. It speaks directly to the well-being of the American people and is a large part of why current races for Senate and the House are so crucial. We need to make Congress more blue. Secretary Clinton understands this at the most fundamental level, which is why she deploys her considerable fundraising muscle not just for her own campaign, but also for the benefit of the down ticket Democrats.

Rachel Maddow Rocks the House

Rachel Maddow conducted illuminating exclusive interviews with both Democratic candidates yesterday. Secretary Clinton in person following the Harlem speech, and Senator Sanders by video feed.

While much has been said about the similarities between the two platforms, the two candidates are very different people, with different qualifications, experience and priorities. One of the reasons I support Secretary Clinton for president is that I believe in both her plan to get things done, and her ability to make it happen. I appreciate some of Senator Sanders ideas, but do not have the same confidence in him, and these two interviews solidified some of the reasons why.

Maddow had hard questions for both. To her credit, she didn’t repeat old questions that both candidates have asked and answered. She used her time wisely to ask about the way forward.

If you are a diehard Sanders supporter, you will likely not agree with my take. That is indeed your right and privilege. For those of you undecided, go ahead and watch the clips first if you want, and then come back for my POV.

Here’s the first Clinton clip, and just follow on from there on MSNBC to watch the other interview clips:

If you prefer a transcript.

Here’s the first Sanders clip, same instructions:

If you prefer a transcript.

Secretary Clinton really shined. She looked and acted presidential. Some of the highlights:

  • Her respect for the primary system and electoral process
  • Her take on the GOP, especially how Trump is just a more extreme representative of the positions of the party — in fact, a product of the GOP machine (if a little more unpredictable than the party leaders would like). She explained that her sharper criticisms of the GOP candidates were not a pivot away from the primaries, but stem from her need to respond to the poisoned environment they are creating sooner rather than later.
  • The importance of supporting the down ticket races to turn Congress more blue so the progressive agenda can actually be carried out, not blocked by an obstructionist Congress.
  • Strong support for President Obama on the Merrick Garland nomination. I love the “one president at a time” comment.
  • Good answer to the the hard question about the Clinton Foundation donors. Rather than shutter the Foundation during the election (and presumably her presidency), she wants the Foundation to to be able to continue its good work, in full daylight and full transparency.

Sanders did not fare as well. Maddow pressed him hard on a number of process issues that have been in the news of late. He was visibly irritated at the questions, and honestly didn’t give such great answers.

  • On the super delegates, he acknowledged that he intends to lobby super delegates to switch their votes, even if Secretary Clinton is ahead in the popular vote and pledged delegates
  • On his campaign claims that they just didn’t spend any money in those states where they lost, where Maddow herself has proof that this isn’t true, he wiggled and waffled, and ended up throwing his staffers under the bus.
  • On whether he would fundraise for the down ticket races, he gave a resounding “we’ll see.” Translation: probably not.

I know many people love him to distraction, and are ready to march in Bernie’s Revolution. The question is, what is the actual plan, and can he get anything done? He’s not helping the party he’s “borrowed” to run for president. In fact, it sort of feels like he’s just helping himself.

For another take on the differences that emerged during the two interviews, read Steve Benen’s post on the TheMaddowBlog.

And then there were the candidates’ responses to Trump’s abortion remarks.

Clinton takes Trump, and the anger he is fomenting, very seriously. She has said before that we need to address the root cause for why his message resonates with his supporters, and in her speech, she addressed some of his very dangerous ideas directly.

She reiterated these sentiments in her comments to Maddow about the Trump remarks, making it clear that women’s rights, including abortion rights, are an essential part of her platform. They cannot be ignored or relegated to second spot. This is one of the things that I appreciate about her. She has always worked to achieve economic and social equality for women, knowing that it is fundamental to achieving progressive goals as well as retaining the ground we’ve already won. Like Roe v. Wade.

She says it better than I do though, so here’s the clip from the Maddow show, which includes the Trump/Matthews “conversation” and Secretary Clinton’s statement:

Sanders, on the other hand, just does not get how important the abortion rights issue is. To women, and to the progressive agenda overall. While we know he supports a woman’s right to choose, and he said so very clearly, he dismissed Trump’s comments as more of the same old outrageous, and pivoted immediately back to his usual talking points. Don’t get me wrong — the things he is angry about are important. But they aren’t the only issues at stake, and for some of us, they may not even be the most critical issues. If we have to pick. Dismissing Trump’s comments dismisses the danger of the underlying GOP philosophy behind them.

Bottom line, he showed how tone-deaf he is to women’s issues. That matters to me. A lot.

Here’s the clip:

Abortion rights is a pivotal issue for me, and many voters. Male and female alike. No one — not a friend, not a Facebook troll, not a candidate — has the right to dismiss your issue as less important than others. Whatever your do or die issue is — the tie breaker, your go-to-the-mat issue — it is your absolute right to make your ultimate voting decision based on that issue.

Senator Sanders dismissed one of my core issues as less important in his comments yesterday. Secretary Clinton, on the other hand, made it crystal clear how important and fundamental she considers woman’s rights, including the right to choose.

Clinton gets it. All the issues are important, and we have to make progress on the WHOLE Democratic agenda. Not just one piece.

I was voting for her anyway. Today, I am even more certain that she is the right choice for the United States.

And if you want to call that voting with my vagina? Well, it’s way easier to use the ballot or the voting machine, but I’ll see what I can figure out by election day.

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