A Clinton Presidency Has Been/Would Be a Disaster for Black and Brown Communities. Here’s Why.

By Linwood F Tauheed, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Missouri — Kansas City. Originally published at New Economic Perspectives

Bill and Hillary Clinton used a pragmatic, practical, realistic, racist ‘southern strategy’ to win the White House in 1992.  Hillary Clinton tried unsuccessfully to use the same strategy in 2008 against Barack Obama.  This is history, what’s changed?

Hillary Clinton’s pragmatic, practical, ‘realistic’ mantra about how she would operate as president can be boiled down to: ‘Take what you can get’.  In today’s political climate this means the same thing it meant in the political climate of Bill Clinton’s presidency, it means: ‘Take what Republicans give’.

The Clinton’s have made a religion of being ‘pragmatic’, a virtue of taking what Republicans give; of embracing Republican positions and making them their own.

This is not about how a Hillary Clinton presidency would be a disaster for Black and Brown communities because of what her husband has already done to destroy those communities.  That past is prologue. No, it goes far beyond that. This is about how Hillary Clinton would operate on her own as president; with the same pragmatic, ‘take what you can get’ devotion as Bill Clinton.

Since those who ignore history are destined to repeat it, and we have history as a record; let’s see what we’ve got! From the Clintons. From the record.  On just two issues; welfare reform and mass incarceration.

Welfare Reform

Hillary Clinton often refers to her work with the Children’s Defense Fund saying how she has long worked for children’s welfare.  But, in 1996 President Bill Clinton, with wholehearted support from the First Lady, signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (PRWORA), also known as ‘welfare reform’ [i].

The problem with Clinton’s claims, however, is that she betrayed children as First Lady. Under the guise of welfare reform, the Clinton administration worked with Republicans to gut social services, ignoring their own senior officials’ warnings that, by doing so, they would be plunging over a million children into poverty.[ii]

Bill Clinton’s signing welfare reform wasn’t just an unfortunate mistake.  The Clinton’s ‘southern strategy’, promising to “end welfare as we know it”, echoed racist ‘welfare queen’ ‘dog whistles’ put into play by Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

Bill Clinton ran in 1992 on the campaign promise to “end welfare as we know it.” In 1996, he — with the wholehearted support of Hillary — succeeded, passing the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (PRWORA). PRWORA was based on legislation first proposed by Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. [iii]

Marion Wright Edelman, President and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund had these things to say in 2007 during Clinton’s presidential campaign against Barack Obama, about her former employee’s support for welfare reform.

Hillary Clinton is an old friend, but they are not friends in politics [and]

[President Clinton’s] signature on this pernicious bill makes a mockery of his pledge not to hurt children. [iv]

Welfare reform is what Republicans gave in 1996, and the pragmatic Clinton’s ‘took what they could get’.  In fact, the very name – Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act – partly comes from House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America”, often referred to as the ‘Contract ON Black America’.

It was made clear in 2007 that Hillary Clinton’s boast about helping children was only a cynical campaign tactic.  What’s changed … the Republicans have become even more committed to destroying Black and Brown families!

Twenty years later, the current Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, a sponsor of the ‘Contract With America II[v]‘, makes Newt Gingrich look like a ‘compassionate conservative’.  Among other conservative policies ‘The Contract With America II’ would repeal Obamacare.

Ryan also wants to privatize social security and Medicare, two of George W Bush’s pet projects, and to eliminate what’s left of the ‘social safety net’, meaning eliminating any and all support for poor families in general, and poor Black and Brown families in particular; that is, whatever Brown families are allowed to remain in this country. This includes eliminating the food stamp program and turning the safety net over to local charities, charities that in hard times would be hard pressed to give life-saving support to families in need.  And as the 2000 recession and 2008 Great Recession demonstrates, hard times hit Black and Brown communities especially hard[vi].  Black and Brown communities should expect to again be hit the hardest when it happens again.

Imagine what the repeal of Obamacare, or even modification of subsidies for the poor would mean; with privatized Medicare.  Think about mom and dad, or grandma or grandpa, or yourself, living on what Goldman Sachs, sees fit to leave them you in their privatized social security investment funds, after fees; without food stamps.

Goldman Sachs is delighted to “take what it can get”, and for them and other “too big to fail” financial institutions, ‘the gettin’ is good’. Black and Brown families can’t afford to ‘take what we can get’; that is, be ‘got’ again.

Mass Incarceration

The “wars” on crime and drugs were campaign tactics, later enacted into laws starting with the Omnibus Crime Control Act of 1970, as part of Richard Nixon’s and later Ronald Reagan’s ‘southern strategy’.  Nixon’s ‘southern strategy’ was developed by Nixon political analyst Kevin Phillips who said in 1970:

The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republican.[vii]

Phillips’ southern strategy was a success. Replace “Negrophobe” by “racist” and the reason for the mass movement of former Democratic southern white voters to the Republican party becomes clear.

And, Bill Clinton wanted those “Negrophobe whites” back in the Democratic party.  This meant out-doing Republicans in playing on racist fears; promising to ‘end welfare as we know it’, and being ‘tough on crime’.  And so Bill Clinton began ‘dog-whistling’ to racist whites that he was a “New Democrat” who would no longer take a back seat to any Republican when it came to standing up to Black and Brown people.

In 1992, Bill Clinton campaigned on a platform of being “tough on crime”, stealing Richard Nixon’s tag-line.  Fulfilling his promise in 1994, Bill Clinton signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act; not incidentally the major Senate sponsor was then Senator Joe Biden.

The bill was a disaster for the Black and Brown community.  Michelle Alexander, the author of “The New Jim Crow” writes that:

Bill Clinton presided over the largest increase in federal and state prison inmates of any president in American history. Clinton did not declare the War on Crime or the War on Drugs—those wars were declared before Reagan was elected and long before crack hit the streets—but he escalated it beyond what many conservatives had imagined possible. He supported the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity for crack versus powder cocaine, which produced staggering racial injustice in sentencing and boosted funding for drug-law enforcement. [viii]

Bill Clinton has since apologized for his part in escalating the rate of incarceration of Black and Brown men and women.  Before an NAACP meeting in Philadelphia, in July 2015; just in time for Hillary’s presidential campaign.  He confessed:

I signed a bill that made the problem worse, and I want to admit it.[ix]

Bill Clinton did not start the mass incarceration bandwagon rolling,[x] no that was Richard Nixon. But, he “made it worst” by jumping on-board, playing racial politics and taking advantage of the fears of racist whites to win the presidency. And, he did not simply ‘sign a bill’, language that attempts to avoid responsibility for the “tough on crime” bill he had campaigned on, lobbied for as president, which had been sponsored by a Senator of the party he was the head of, and which continued the Nixon appeal to racist white voters.

What Bill Clinton should really be apologizing for is his pragmatic political calculation of riding the wave of his own racist ‘southern strategy’ to win back racist whites, while throwing Blacks and Brown communities under the bus; all the while pretending to ‘feel the pain’ of Black and Brown communities. Black Lives didn’t Matter [xi]

But, we are not judging Hillary Clinton by the disastrous pragmatic calculations of her husband, she has her own history. It’s no secret that Hillary Clinton as First Lady strongly supported President Clinton’s embrace of the “wars” on crime and drugs.  She herself raised the use of subtle racist code-words to new heights by embracing the “super-predator” dog-whistle.

In support of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, she said this in 1996.

They are not just gangs of kids anymore. They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators.’ No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way but first we have to bring them to heel and the President has asked the FBI to launch a very concerted effort against gangs everywhere.” [xii]

Notice that Hillary Clinton dismissed any ‘action’ directed to preventing the problem or rehabilitation, saying we could ‘talk’ about it.  Bill Clinton in apology at least says:

And we wound up … putting so many people in prison that there wasn’t enough money left to educate them, train them for new jobs and increase the chances when they came out so they could live productive lives[xiii]

But, the fact is the 1994 crime bill eliminated funding for prison education programs.

It eliminated education funding for incarcerated students, effectively gutting prison education programs. Despite a wealth of research showing education increases post-release employment, reduces recidivism, and improves outcomes for the formerly incarcerated and their families, this change has not been reversed.[xiv]

And so, we didn’t ‘wind up’ with not enough money to educate and train inmates, it happened by design.

During her 2007 presidential campaign against Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton showed it wasn’t practical to switch her ‘tough on crime’ stance as she condemned Barack Obama for being ‘soft on crime’ for advocating the end of mandatory minimum sentences enacted by the 1994 crime bill.[xv]  Certainly, by 2007 Hillary Clinton was well aware of the damage done to Black and Brown communities by the 1994 crime bill.

Now, in 2016, Hillary Clinton wants to distance herself from her 1992 and 2007 record, saying:

Decisions were made in the ’80s and ’90s to deal with what was at that time a very high crime rate that was particularly affecting poor people, people of color in the cities, [and]

I think that a lot was done that went further than it needed to go and so now we are facing problems with mass incarceration. [xvi]

So in 2016 Hillary Clinton makes a pragmatic apology for her previous ‘tough on crime’ stance; well … almost.  Saying “decisions were made” and “a lot was done” places responsibility on no one; certainly not on her, for her ‘dog-whistling’ support of bringing ‘super-predator’ animals to “heel”.  It’s a non-apology apology.

In 1992 and 2007 Hillary Clinton was ‘tough on crime’, but in 2015 she is seemingly apologetic for having been ‘tough on crime’.  This change in position seems reasonable, a change that can come to anyone who looks back at bad ‘decisions made’, but viewed pragmatically Hillary Clinton is simply, doing what [she hopes] will work?

In 1992, employing a ‘southern strategy’ Hillary Clinton is ‘tough on crime’.  In 2007, running to the right of Barack Obama and pragmatically calculating that she could not win the Black and Brown vote, her 2008 target voters were racist whites, a continuation of the 1992 ‘southern strategy’.  Hillary Clinton campaigned on being “tough on crime” by making Barack Obama seem too liberal and “soft on crime”.

But in 2015 the Clinton pragmatic calculation is, as always, that she has to “take what she can get”, and, since the Republicans want their “Negrophobe whites” back, and Trump has them sewn-up, she calculates that she must ‘get’ her “firewall” of Black and Brown voters.  Black and Brown voters are simply ‘flavors of the month’.

The idea that Black and Brown voters serve as a “firewall” for any candidate is racist[xvii] in itself, Black and Brown voters must ask themselves ‘can we afford to be ‘got’ again?’

Hillary Clinton now says; It’s time to end the era of mass incarceration. [xviii]

This is also Bernie Sander’s position.  In fact, there is very little difference between the Clinton and Sanders criminal justice platforms, as written.[xix]  And so, the Clinton campaign, needing to find a difference, insists that Sanders’ promise to ‘end’ mass incarceration is not possible, while also insisting that her promise to ‘end’ mass incarceration is possible.  Maybe it depends on what the meaning of the word “end” is.

Clinton daughter Chelsea, as a surrogate for the campaign, says that the Sanders plan to end mass incarceration is “worrying[xx] and implied that the 35 year US Congressman and Senator doesn’t know ‘how a Bill becomes a Law‘ saying “My mother understands how the government works”.  Condescendingly Chelsea also points out that “We are not electing a king, we are electing a president”, and “We need someone who understands what they have to do in the job [as president] but also in partnership with congress, governors and mayors.”  That is, a president has to understand that they have to “take what they can get”.

Arguing that Senator Sanders doesn’t know that a president must work “in partnership with congress, governors and mayors” is absurd. Since, the Clinton campaign talking points are based on data that clearly shows that among the 2.2 million US inmates, roughly 90 percent are in state prisons and local jails, not federal prison, the argument is that a president can’t do anything substantial about mass incarceration without state and local agreement.

Apparently, the Hillary Clinton campaign doesn’t know what Bill Clinton knows:

In that bill [the 1994 crime bill], there were longer sentences. And most of these people are in prison under state law, but the federal law set a trend.[xxi]

What every US President, and US Congressman and Senator knows is that the federal government sets the trend. By providing or denying funding for state programs the federal government has tremendous leverage on state policy.

In fact,the 1994 federal crime law kept the mass incarceration bandwagon rolling, providing funding for new state prisons.  That these new state prisons were overwhelmingly in poor rural areas made them a favorite and much used economic development tool, serving the double purpose of providing employment for mostly conservative white rural voters and incarcerating mostly Black and Brown men and women from urban areas; all courtesy of “New Democrat” Bill Clinton. Not only was this a win-win for the Clinton ‘southern strategy’, it also promoted the rise of the private prison industry.

That Hillary Clinton is disagreeing with Sanders over the meaning of the word “end”, is a tell.  An observation from Daily Kos writer Th0rn:

Maybe it’s just me, but is seems like someone like Bernie Sanders, who relies on small donors instead of corporate lobbyists for funding, especially not lobbyists for private prison corporations, and who has been speaking out against the abuses of private prison corporations for quite a while, is the person who’s more likely to actually bring about real change on this terribly important issue. [xxii]

Any plan to reduce the prison population and ‘end’ mass incarceration must include plans to support inmates with education and training, before they return to their communities.  To not do so guarantees hopelessness leading to recidivism.  Given that in the current political climate, Republicans are loath to give funding for inmate education and training, to take what Republicans will give would be a continuing disaster for Black and Brown communities.  The pragmatic excuse for not doing so will be, to quote Bill Clinton again, ‘we let so many people out of prison’:

there wasn’t enough money left to educate them, train them for new jobs and increase the chances when they came out so they could live productive lives[xxiii]

What is Needed?.

Black and Brown communities cannot afford to take what the Republicans are willing to give; they are only willing to give us their contempt. We cannot wait to be pragmatic, to go slow, while we are – like frogs in a pot – slowly ‘boiled to death’. Such a disaster can be avoided.  A Democratic president who is willing and able, supported by the Democratic electorate, to stand up for more than ‘take what you can get’; a leader who is willing to ‘struggle for what we want’, can, with our struggle, get what we need.

To those who say we must be practical, and pragmatic and “take what you can get’, Frederick Douglass is known to have said.

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. … Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them[xxiv]

And, to those who say – that believing that big change is possible is ‘unrealistic’ dreaming – Langston Hughes is known to have written:


What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?[xxv]


[i] The betrayal that should haunt Hillary Clinton: How she sold out working women & then never apologized

[ii] How Bill Clinton’s Welfare “Reform” Created a System Rife With Racial Biases

[iii] Hillary Clinton often boasts about helping children, but she betrayed them as First Lady

[iv] Hillary Clinton often boasts about helping children, but she betrayed them as First Lady

[v] House Republican hard-liners drafting ‘Contract With America II’

[vi] Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs Between Whites, Blacks, Hispanics

[vii] Bill Moyers Journal, November 7, 2008

[viii] Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote

[ix]  Bill Clinton says he made mass incarceration issue worse

[x] Get Your Memes Right: The 1994 Crime Bill Didn’t Create Mass Incarceration

[xi]  The Clintons’ War on Drugs: When Black Lives Didn’t Matter

[xii] Hillary Clinton on Super Predators

[xiii] Bill Clinton says he made mass incarceration issue worse

[xiv] The Crime Bill’s Legacy, Two Decades Later

[xv] Clinton campaign assails Obama for advocating against federal mandatory minimums

[xvi] Hillary Clinton Continues To Distance Herself From Her Husband’s Crime Policies

[xvii] King: The idea of an African-American firewall for Hillary Clinton is deeply insulting 

[xviii] Why Hillary Clinton Lacks Credibility On Criminal Justice Reform

[xix] Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Vary Little on Criminal Justice Reform

[xx] Chelsea Clinton: Bernie Sanders’ plan to end mass incarceration is ‘worrying’

[xxi] Bill Clinton says he made mass incarceration issue worse

[xxii] Private Prison Corporations Stand With Hillary Clinton

[xxiii] Bill Clinton says he made mass incarceration issue worse

[xxiv] (1857) Frederick Douglass, “If There Is No Struggle, There Is No Progress”

[xxv] Harlem

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  1. TheCatSaid

    Great post. The H. Clinton record is horrifyingly clear. WHY do those most hurt by the racist policies embraced by H. Clinton believe she is their friend?

    1. Lambert Strether

      I think BAR had it right. The #1 priority is not to elect the Republican. That Hillary is electable, or not, is a lot more subjective. And Trump is, well, a gift from the Gods.

      It’s the fear card. Which works. And never mind that Obama seems to be considering a Republican for the Supreme Court.

      1. Woodrow

        “Obama seems to be considering a Republican for the Supreme Court.”

        You’re not seriously falling for that are you?

        1. Vatch

          Obama’s first Secretary of Defense was Republican Robert Gates, who had been Bush’s Defense Secretary. Obama’s only Secretary of Agriculture is Republican Tom Vilsack. His first Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, might not have been a Republican, but as a protege of Henry Kissinger, he was close to being a Republican, and was very oligarch friendly.

          So the numerous reports that Obama is considering Republican Brian Sandoval for the Supreme Court are very credible.

          1. Oak

            I actually think Obama admitted once that he would be a ‘moderate republican’ in most peoples eyes, but the fact is he is a neoliberal which is an extreme right wing position in terms of economics- Look at what he does not what he says- The trade deals with their “progressive liberalisation” (one way, irreversible privatization) are very radical medicine.. They are in effect a global coup of sorts.. nothing less.

          2. Left in Wisconsin

            Vilsack is an Iowa Democrat – but that is not to disagree with the thrust of the post or comment.

            1. Vatch

              Oh gosh, you’re right. He sure seems like a Republican though!

              Maybe I was unconsciously thinking of Ray LaHood, a Republican who was the Secretary of Transportation during the first 4 years of the Obama administration.

          3. different clue

            Gates was Bush’s second SecDef. He was sent in by the establishment as a “thinking-brain dog” for Bush after the hard neocon Rumsfeld was removed.

            So Gates wasn’t really “Bush’s” SecDef. He was Baker-Bott’s SecDef.

        2. RUKidding

          I guess I’m “falling for” observable reality, but don’t let that stand in anyone’s way of how to define what it means when Obama considers a Republican for the SC.

          Gee whiz, I was severely spanked for not voting for Obama in 2012 because Supreme Court!!!!111!!! Eh – this is why I voted for Jill Stein.

          Case closed.

      2. pretzelattack

        remember it was very important to elect obama because he would appoint progressives to the supreme court. one more fu to the left from obama.

        1. RabidGandhi

          Yet how painfully often will we hear come November: “I can’t stand Hillary but I am going to hold my nose and vote for her because of whom Trump/Cruz/Rubio would nominate for the Supreme Court”

          1. RUKidding

            No kidding. Hillary will most likely propose someone even MORE conservative than Obama’s choices, and they’d certainly be very very corporate friendly.

            I’m so sick of the ever-lovin’ Supreme Court gambit as to why I must vote for some NeoCon/NeoLiberal Republican who pretends to be a Democrat.

      3. diptherio

        If Ford is right, then it seems like it should be an easy argument to make that Bernie is a better candidate than Hillary, as 100% of Hillary supporters will vote Sanders in the general if he’s the candidate, but lots of Sanders supporters will never, ever vote for Clinton.

        1. nycTerrierist

          With such a tight race – despite the terrible reporting by the msm – this is a great point.

        2. different clue

          I doubt very many Clinton supporters would vote for Sanders. Certainly the entire Democratic Party establishment would work to defeat Sanders.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            The establishment is not the base. And if the alternative is The Donald, most of the establishment will probably keep their mouths shut.

            Plus all hostile takeovers eventually become friendly. The target realizes it has lost and tries to make the best peace possible.

      4. NotTimothyGeithner

        Obama didn’t directly, but the Democratic Party apparatus pushed liberal critics are super racists for a long time. Hillary’s Hooray I’m a woman meme hasn’t taken off because people are inured to it.

        1. Gio Bruno

          …when I look at Hillary’s campaign logo, H->, I don’t see a woman but a politician who symbolizes the cojones of a man (o->). And while looking down at herself she sees an “arrow” pointing to the left, but those looking from afar see an “arrow” pointing to the right.

          Hillary is both a neocon and a neoliberal, and doesn’t understand symbolism.

      5. TK421

        There’s nothing subjective about the surveys which clearly show Sanders as far more electable against any likely Republican nominee.

        1. jrs

          Only there is plenty that can change, including which candidate voters favor. Many people still don’t even know a lot about Sanders for instance. He’s much less well known than Hillary. Whether knowing more about Sanders will improve or lessen his popularity, I don’t know. Yes there might be what one likes to believe, but this is a country where a narcissistic racist babbling about bullets drenched in pig’s blood, is leading one set of voters so …. perhaps no reason to be overly optimistic there.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think I heard it somewhere either Cruz or Rubio was saying people should vote for him because Trump would lose to Hillary.

          You see this kind of ‘voting against’ persuasions all over

      6. Linwood Tauheed

        Lambert: I too believe that Glen Ford at BAR has it right; it’s fear. But, the fear, which is complicated, is greater for Black seniors than it is for Black millenials, which explains, at least partially, the generation gap in the Black community. Black millenials are “sick and tired of being sick and tired”, just like we were when we were young (I’m a Black senior). But, just like in the 60’s there is hope to replace the fear as exemplified in what Black Lives Matter protester Ashley Williams did to confront the Clinton record.

  2. jgordon

    People support HRC because they like and identify with her. Yet, even a very cursory inspection of Clinton’s record, which Clinton supporters are apparently incapable of performing, reveals that Clinton has been a disaster wherever she has gone. Mentioning that her policy platform is awful isn’t going to do anything useful, simply because people who already support Clinton are completely disconnected from reality anyway.

    A more effective strategy would be for someone to convince Bernie to stop being the nice and agreeable inside-the-tent Democratic socialist that he’s been till now. Hillary is a fundamentally weak and fragile candidate; it’s not like disposing of her would involve much real effort on Bernie’s part–if he were serious. If Bernie keeps messing around like this we’re going to have a president Trump in 2017.

      1. jgordon

        Why would it be a rough day for me? I frankly don’t care what Trump says or does. As long as he’s hated by the establishment and hasn’t suddenly turned agreeable and innoffensive he remains an ideal candidate. Trump is liked because of his capacity for social destruction, not construction, and it doesn’t take a whole lot of brains or integrity to destroy things. Just guts and will.

          1. jgordon

            Yeah you are right, that is a dent in Trump’s armor. He can overcome it however by being even more offensively revolting, and even more insulting towards the establishment and minority groups. Let’s hope he chooses the right course–because a contest between Rubot and Hillary this fall is too depressing to contemplate.

            1. Skippy

              Still thinking there is some great divide between Trump and Hillary… that’s the rough part…

              Skippy… what… two empty shells have distinctions?

              1. different clue

                If Trump really rejects TTP, TTIP, etc. the way he claims to, there is a distinction right there. Since Clinton supports these FTAs.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Perhaps they will turn to Bill Clinton to help them out.

                  Run Bill Clinton but have he disguised as Hillary.

                  A good make up artist from Hollywood could probably pull it off.

            2. NotTimothyGeithner

              This is an easy fix. Trump just has to thank them for seeing the light. Keeping Boehner, Jeb, and McConnell types at bay is important. He could let Cruz make an appearance on stage, but I suspect Rubio is done.

              1. Skippy

                “This is an easy fix”

                Categorical error, Trump is a party of one. I thought the electorate would have learned by now – not to project – desires onto a candidate out of fear[s.

                “If Trump really rejects TTP, TTIP, etc.”

                Who is Trumps economic adviser[s – see above…

                Skippy…. seems many just can not bring themselves to reconcile the mans long track record…. against their desires….

    1. kimsarah

      It’s not obvious to a lot of uninformed voters, and a many inept media members, that she is stealing popular ideas from other candidates then calling them her own. She has no shame.

    2. Minnie Mouse

      Bernie, PLEASE run some ads bashing NAFTA and Hillary’s connection to the top secret TPP back room deal. Hillary is extremely vulnerable to Trump on trade. Bernie opposed all of the disastrous trade deals.

      1. different clue

        When would be a good time for Sanders to run such ads? If he runs them before the high-black-population states have their primaries, the Obama fan club black vote will all vote against Sanders in revenge for his implicit criticism of Obama’s TPP and therefor Obama himself. Sanders would be taking a chance on finding out how many black voters have quit the Obama fan club.

  3. Oak

    The exporting of natural gas is going to raise LNG prices so much that people wont be able to heat their buildings

  4. kimsarah

    Don’t the black (and white) establishment leaders who have endorsed Hillary realize they are asking black voters to shoot themselves in the foot again?
    A. They do realize it and assume the voters are stupid.
    B. They do realize it and don’t give a damn because those voters can be ignored after the election.
    C. They don’t realize it, which is even scarier.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Black and white establishment leaders are on the take (consider Harry Reid or Al Sharpton) just like Hillary and the rest, each according to the magnitude of the lies and pillaging they support.. So both A and B are true. They have no idea what the average lower middle class black or brown person/family/community, never mind the American Indian, has as their reality and couldn’t care less as long as they are protected from any exposure by their highly insular communities (B). In the famous words of one of these leaders, “They [the constituents] are fuc*ing retards”(A). If you are screwing someone really badly, literally Mafia style, it helps enormously to imagine they are idiots and undeserving.

      That said, many of these same leaders are very likely convinced they are actually helping these people and communities in the long run. Deep down, they probably KNOW what they are doing, but at the conscious level they have to live with themselves and human nature is phenomenal at swallowing it’s own hype when it’s psyche would otherwise be bruised.

      When these leaders go into poor communities, they are practically holding their breath until they can get back out.

  5. Fiscalliberal

    Some how we have to learn to deal with what we have and not with utopic solutions. In Sanders own words his solution requires a revolution. Not likely to happen. Revolutions create Democracy. Democracy requires a informed public. Can we say we have that? The Evangelicals vote one issue and refuse to look at the aggregate of what they created. They enabled George W and now Trump.

    1. RabidGandhi

      I always hear these excuses from United Statesians but never from people who are far more disadvantaged and yet effectuate revolutions nonetheless. Bolivia comes to mind. How can people oppressed under centuries-old dictatorships rise up in spite of every barrier having been thrown at them for ages while people in the richest country with the freest press laws in history make the excuse that it just can’t be done “because evangelicals”, “because MSM”, “because Black Misleadershp” etc etc.?

      Chalk it up to American exceptionalism.

    2. Vatch

      If more people would actually vote in both primary and general elections, it would make a big difference, yet it would hardly be considered utopian. If you know people who claim that voting doesn’t matter, argue with them. They should pick the primary or caucus of one of the major parties, and vote tor the best candidates. If those candidates fail to be nominated, then it’s time to vote for third party candidates in the general election.

      Voting matters! The politicians are scared of active constituents.

  6. DakotabornKansan

    “The world was in her heart already, like the small spot of decay in a fruit.” – Graham Greene

    Under Hillary Clinton, the State Department pressured Haiti not to raise its minimum wage to $.61 an hour; instead to keep it at $.24 an hour. Many Haitians leave Haiti to cut cane in the Dominican Republic.

    Following the Clinton money trail:

    Just saw a photo of Hillary Clinton and José Fanjul Sr. at a gala at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City in 2013. He is one of the four Fanjul brothers, who are the sugar barons of America. The Clintons have close ties to these Florida’s sugar billionaires, the Fanjuls. They spend a lot on lobbying and political donations. One of the family favorites is Hillary Clinton.

    Bill and Hillary Clinton discussed Hillary’s possible presidential run with one of the Fanjuls at Casa de Campo, the Fanjuls’ 7,000-acre residential resort in the Dominican Republic.


    Contrast Casa de Campo with the conditions in cane plantations for cane workers:


    “It is astonishing how much money can be made out of the poorest of the poor with a little ingenuity.” – Doctor Magiot, in Graham Greene’s The Comedians

  7. HotFlash

    “…among the 2.2 million US inmates, roughly 90 percent are in state prisons and local jails, not federal prison, the argument is that a president can’t do anything substantial about mass incarceration without state and local agreement.”

    Was talking the other day to a guy who had done time for a US Federal offence (Clinton -era) in a county jail in PA. He told me that the Federal Govt contracts out to state prisons and local jails, in his day it was 80-some dollars a day per bed and that ‘most’ of the prisoners at local and state level are actually Federal prisoners contracted out.

    I have no idea of numbers, and don’t know how to check, but it should be possible.

  8. sleepy

    Regarding Clinton’s view that progressive social legislation as proposed by Sanders is somehow unrealistic, or naive, or moving too far too fast, I think portions of “Letter from Birmingham Jail” are informative:

    First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

    1. BillC

      Five decades later, and Martin Luther King’s words are as topical and perceptive as if he were commenting this morning on the state of the (so-called) Democratic Party. Bernie may not be an MLK — or even an FDR — but I fear he’s as close as I’m going to see in US politics for the rest of my life unless he wins and turns this ship around.

  9. Bubba_Gump

    Nice comprehensive summary, but all the quotation marks around things that are not quotes raise my red “crazy” flag. This is not something I can forward around.

    1. Yves Smith Post author


      1. There are hardly any

      2. Many have links, and the others are things that the Clintons have been widely reported to have said.

      3. The few others are cliches like “tough on crime” and that’s accepted usage.

      Your sensitivities are sorely misplaced.

    2. Gio Bruno

      “It is astonishing how much money can be made out of the poorest of the poor with a little ingenuity.” – Doctor Magiot, in Graham Greene’s The Comedians

      This is actually a quote from Greene’s 1965 book The Comedians. You should try to find it; it explores the rule (dictatorship) of Papa Doc Duvallier and the plight of the poor in Haiti.

  10. timotheus

    “Decisions were made” says Madame H. I guess she had to take a restroom break just then. But wait, she has so much “experience”! How does that work again?

  11. Dino Reno

    Clinton has a proven firewall among black voters.
    Those voters are by and large older black women.
    These older black women are not focused on Clinton’s past policies. They see Clinton as a bedrock of support for her family with a husband who behaved badly. In the black community, this is not an unfamiliar story. They identify with her and support her largely because of this. Can an old, white Jewish man expect to make break this bond? No. He will never, ever get their vote and all the policy discussions in the world will never make any difference.

    1. Carolinian

      I believe you may have it. Articles like the above will unfortunately have little effect on actual voters because our elections are far more about relatability than issues–with the caveat that the state of the economy is always present as a subtext. And educated liberals shouldn’t feel too smug as they were subject to the same phenomenon with Obama in 2008. Clearly many people relate to HRC, and that includes African Americans. Worth a reminder that Toni Morrison said she called Bill Clinton the first black president because she thought he was being treated like a black, not because he shared their concerns. She was saying blacks could relate to Bill.

      Of course there are plenty of people who really don’t like Hillary so it isn’t over yet.

    2. TheCatSaid

      This rings true. It explains the deep irrationality that was incomprehensible to me.

      I hope some black voters who might feel as you describe will wake up and realize that standing by your man and family in tough times can create understandable sympathy and a sense of connection, but that other traits, past actions and qualities are more relevant when choosing a president.

  12. Oak

    Clinton’s actions are understandable in both the context of the requirements in the WTO Services Agreement placed on governments in activities that might be seen to compete with activities of banks, and also in the context of progressive liberaisation and the meme that successful rich countries ike the US are phasing out public monopolies because of our success in eliminating the need for them, success we would gladly export in the form of services like health insurance and education brands..

    1.) Neoliberal ideology likely would frame welfare programs as a theft from banks such as payday lenders, or foreign banks that might lend the poor money.

    and as a form of forbidden government subsidy, or as “trade distorting”, distorting the value of money.

    More importantly, the changes I think should be seen as supporting the meme that social programs are crutches allowed to poor countries only, part of the progressive liberalisation ideology – which emerged out of the WTO – its a core concept behind the WTO-
    ***”progressive liberalisation“***, frames social programs, public education and health care, etc, as a ‘discriminatory’ crutch that will only be allowed allowed for a preset period while a country is on the one way street to higher and higher levels of liberalisation. They are seen as a crutch that wealthier countries don’t need any more. After all, they are successful. Private healthcare and private education have been successful in the US, other countries should emulate that model, goes the story, it seems.

    The deals explicitly prohibit any backsliding.

    *”A. Standstill”*

    *”Any conditions, limitations and qualifications to the commitments noted below shall be limited to existing non-conforming measures.”*

  13. elboku

    Right, so vote Trump.Cruz?Rubio. We will definitely get a great SCOTUS pick from one of them. Regardless of all else, that is THE reason to vote for her or Sanders.

    1. jrs

      And all the money she takes from all her corporate donors won’t make her appoint a corporatist to the Supreme Court? You have got to be kidding me, Hillary Clinton WILL appoint a corporatist to the Supreme Court, she is bought and paid for. No, I don’t actually think there is anything worse on the Supreme Court than those who would instinctively take the side of corporations over people.

  14. Ed Seedhouse

    I have no vote in the USA. Up hear in Canada I can tell you we are a lot more frightened of a Trump victory than either Sanders or Clinton.

    But as long as the Republicans hold a majority in the house how could any democratic president, however progressive, do anything but “take what they can get”?

    Of course if Bernie could get large coat tails and bring in Democratic majorities in both houses I would prefer him to Hillary. But the way the voting system in your country is rigged this seems astonishingly unlikely. And even if by some miracle it occurred there will still be a lot of conservative Dems in the house and senate and that sets limits on what any president can do.

    And while one should look at records, no one here seems to consider the possibility that someone can learn from the mistakes of the past. Clinton seems to be at least rational, unlike any prospective republican candidate.

    From my point of view up here in Canada Trump would bring disaster. Disaster might happen under either democrat too, of course, but at least neither of them seems determined to directly bring it about.

    Logically, it seems to me, if you are unwilling to vote for Hillary over the Donald, then you would be more rational to plump for a violent revolution. Break everything and you might, just possibly, get a better system. But consider the risks, too.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Are you sure about Hillary?

      -selling arms to Saudi Arabia
      -her stance on Iran
      -trade policies
      -Russian relations
      -support for the fascist coup in Honduras

      Yes, she’s well spoken, but her record is one of cruelty and insanity. On a practical level, doesn’t Kerry work to unwind the damage and positions of the Clinton state department?

      Has Hillary done anything to make you think she isn’t a lunatic? Most politicians are very nice in person. It’s why they are politicians.

    2. Steve H.

      – more rational to plump for a violent revolution. /s

      Fixed that for you.

      Since you can’t actually believe that encouraging deaths and the accompanying generations-long hatreds they engender could be rationally desirable, correct?

    3. TheCatSaid

      Sanders’ experience in Burlington could be instructive. He didn’t have allies at first to allow him to implement his policies, but the next election changed the situation completely.

    4. fajensen

      As a foreign un-citizen, a legal target of droning, torture and mass-surveillance, I think The world need a long holiday away from American influence!

      We see a USA that is becoming more and more like Russia, but without the slapstick element that Russia has, because America, God Help Us, is Serious Business!

      I believe that Trump is likely to be much less of a global disaster than Hillary – simply because Trump would be an ineffective leader that would quickly get embroiled in- and bogged down by- messes, primarily of his own creation, plus the man has the attention span of a fruit-fly and all his knowledge is from TV. Whats not to like?

      An in-effective and impotent America is what we want to see – at least until the craziness goes away. Trump buys us 5 years of peace and entertainment.

  15. MaroonBulldog

    I cast my first vote in a presidential election for George McGovern, even though I knew that Richard Nixon was the more “pragmatic, practical” candidate. I respected the pragmatism and practicality of Nixon certainly; I just couldn’t abide the criminality that went with it.

    When you vote for a presidential candidate, you are voting for a whole person, not one or two attributes of a personality.

    I’m a lot older now, but maybe no wiser. Still, Bernie Sanders reminds me of George McGovern, and Hillary Rodham Clinton reminds me of Richard Milhous Nixon.

    1. RMO

      … but somewhat to the right of him politically. And a little more unhinged. And somewhat less competent. And a bit less lovable.

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