Bernie Sanders Archives - Page 4 of 62 - Florida Politics

Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump use whatever they’ve got in the final push

Knock on every door. Marshal every volunteer. Lob every attack.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are opening the final weekend of a marathon campaign by pulling out every tool they have to get their supporters to vote. Polls show critical battleground states may still be up for grabs ahead of Tuesday’s election.

Clinton and her allies rushed to shore up support among African-Americans, acknowledging signs of weaker-than-expected turnout in early vote data. That has raised a red flag about diminished enthusiasm that could spell trouble for Democrats up and down the ballot.

The Democrat was due to campaign in Pennsylvania and Michigan on Friday, states long considered Democratic strongholds. She’s been pounding Trump for his record on race, accusing him of tacitly encouraging support from white supremacists.

“He has spent this entire campaign offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters,” Clinton said at a rally in Greenville, North Carolina.

The Democrat got a boost Friday in the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report which showed the unemployment rate declined to 4.9 percent while wages went up in October. It’s the sort of news that might nudge voters to continue current economic policies, as Clinton has promised.

But this campaign has rarely seemed to hinge on policy. The big personalities on both sides have overshadowed more nuanced questions. Heading into the final days, both campaigns are presenting the choice as a crossroads for democracy.

For Trump, that means zeroing in on questions about Clinton’s trustworthiness and a new FBI review of an aide’s emails. Trump warned Thursday that never-ending investigations would prevent his Democratic opponent from governing effectively, speaking directly to voters who may be reluctant Trump supporter but are also repelled by the possible return to Washington of Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

“Here we go again with the Clintons – you remember the impeachment and the problems,” Trump said Thursday at a rally in Jacksonville, Florida. “That’s not what we need in our country, folks. We need someone who is ready to go to work.”

In spite of a close race in national polling, Trump’s path to victory remained narrow. He must win Florida to win the White House, which polls show remains a neck-and-neck race. Early voting has surged in the state. The number of early voters so far, 5.26 million, has already exceeded the overall early voting figure for 2012, and voting will continue this weekend. Republicans have a very narrow edge in ballots cast.

North Carolina also has emerged as critical state for Trump – in part because of early signs that African-American turnout there is lagging.

Both campaigns are so focused on the two states, the candidate and allies have been nearly running into each other at airports. Trump tweeted about gazing at Air Force One at the Miami airport Thursday, using the moment to rip President Barack Obama for campaigning instead of governing.

Both candidates are leaning on surrogates to help carry their message. While Clinton rallies voters in Pittsburgh and Detroit, Obama was to campaign Friday in North Carolina. Bill Clinton was headed to Colorado and Vice President Joe Biden was due in Wisconsin, both states Clinton was believed to have locked up weeks ago. Clinton planned to end her day at a get-out-the-vote rally in Cleveland, using hip-hop artist Jay-Z to draw young people to her cause.

On Thursday, she campaigned with former primary opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders and pop star Pharrell Williams.

Trump was set to headline events Friday in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Ohio, while running mate Mike Pence is visiting Michigan, North Carolina and Florida.

While Trump’s children, Eric and Ivanka Trump, hit the trail Thursday, his wife, Melania, made her first speech in months. She vowed to advocate against cyberbullying if she becomes first lady, although she made no reference to her husband’s frequent use of Twitter to call his opponents “liars” and “crooked.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Donald Trump delivers the usual to half-empty hall in Jacksonville

Enthusiasm gap for Donald Trump?

With President Barack Obama across town at the University of North Florida, the GOP presidential nominee couldn’t fill the 6,500-person capacity Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

“Great crowd, thank you very much,” Trump said to kick off the event, before discussing poll numbers favorable for him, then launching into his usual critiques of the corrupt Clinton machine.

“We’re leading all over,” Trump said, before sharing “breaking news” regarding “an FBI investigation” into “Hillary Clinton pay-for-play … putting the office of secretary of state up for auction.”

Trump asserted “the investigation is likely to lead to an indictment,” causing the “lock her up” chants to echo throughout the room, creating an ethereal droning noise toward the empty space in the back.

“She shouldn’t be allowed to run for the office of president, and that is where the system is rigged,” Trump said.

Much of Trump’s speech was the greatest hits tour. Well-worn routines about Clinton hammering phones to destroy them only deviated when he asked the crowd if any of them had destroyed phones.

One hand went up.

“I don’t want to know what business you’re in,” Trump quipped.

Trump called a Clinton presidency a “constitutional crisis.”

“This isn’t what we need … we need somebody who’s going to go to work,” Trump said. “This is going to be a mess for many years to come.”

Trump noted he saw Air Force One in Miami; upon mentioning President Barack Obama, the boos echoed off the empty back wall of the rodeo space.

“Why isn’t he back working? He’s campaigning every day. She’s under criminal investigation. I think he has a conflict.”

Citing WikiLeaks, Trump speculated that “Obama knew what she was doing.”

The Obamacare riff resurfaced. While it seemed fresh just days before, in the context of this campaign’s accelerated news cycles, it seemed as novel as last summer’s hit single.

“The president kept lying and lying. Premiums are surging, companies are leaving, and deductibles are through the roof,” Trump said, calling Obamacare a “catastrophe” on which “Hillary Clinton wants to double down.”

“It’s bigger than your mortgage; it’s bigger than your rent,” Trump continued.

Donna Brazile? Yes, there was a riff on her also.

“She took the questions and gave them to Crooked Hillary,” Trump said, before pivoting to poor Bernie Sanders.

“At some point,” Trump said, “doesn’t he tell her supporters to vote for Trump?”

As well, said Trump, “we are living through the biggest jobs theft in the history of the world … from now on, it’s going to be America First.”

NAFTA is on thin ice. So is currency manipulation. And the “job-killing Trans Pacific Partnership.” And “billions in global warming payments to the United Nations” will be canceled.

Continuing the Buchanan-ite America First theme, Trump spent some time discussing wars overseas as part of the Clinton legacy, saying we defend the borders of countries far away while keeping ours open.

As well, Trump botched his policy play to the locals, vowing support for “Jack Port.” [Note to outsiders and Trump operatives: it’s JAXPORT].

“We are led by stupid people,” said Trump. “Remember that.”

Later in the speech, he did manage to get the name of Mayport right, when talking about the 350-ship Navy he wanted to create.

Perhaps because of the heat in the half-empty room on an 80-degree day, Trump’s critiques of the media were muted, limited to saying the press was protecting Clinton, yet “the protected one is not well-protected.”

“When we win on Nov. 8,” Trump vowed, “we are going to Washington D.C. and we are going to drain the swamp!”

As has been customary with Jacksonville events for Trump, the crowd began to trickle out about 40 minutes into his remarks.

img_8390Perhaps to beat the crowd. What there was of it.

Mitch Perry Report for 11.2.16 — Hillary Clinton returns to the oldie but goodies in Dade City speech

Remember when Hillary Clinton would invoke Michelle Obama‘s phrase when dealing with Donald Trump that, “When they go low, we go high?”

That was so, oh, I don’t know, October-like.

In Pasco County yesterday, the Democratic presidential nominee spent considerable time tearing apart Trump, invoking his greatest hits of insults as she tries to rally the base in the final week of the campaign.

Clinton dug deep, referring to how The Donald boasted on Howard Stern’s show about how he used to go backstage at beauty pageants to barge in on the women while they were getting dressed.

“He said he did that — he said he did that to ‘inspect’ them. That was his word — and he said, ‘I sort of get away with things like that.’ And sure enough, contestants have come forward to say, ‘Yes, that’s exactly what he did to us.’ Now, as bad as that is, he didn’t just do it at the Miss USA pageant or the Miss Universe pageant. He’s also been accused of doing it at the Miss Teen USA pageant. Contestants say that Donald Trump came in to look at them when they were changing. Some of them were just 15 years old. We cannot hide from this. We’ve got to be willing to face it. This man wants to be president of the United States of America and our First Lady, Michelle Obama, spoke for many of us when she said Donald Trump’s words have shaken her to her core.”

Obviously, talking about policies has never been at the forefront of this campaign, but undoubtedly this will probably be the nature of her oratory over the next six days. Not exactly the soaring rhetoric her team could have intended to be her message in closing out this interminable campaign.

There are reports this morning that Team Clinton and their allies are freaking out about the black vote not being as robust for Clinton so far in early/absentee voting, in comparison to 2008 and 2012.

Message to the rest of planet Earth — Nobody every thought it could be. Barack Obama‘s name on the ballot was revolutionary in 2008, and though much less so in 2012, it still brought out the black vote in unprecedented ways. Did anybody seriously think Clinton was going to match that number?

Clinton remains strong with older blacks, but millennials have never bought into her to the same extent. A friend of mine yesterday questioned the entire premise that Clinton was so popular among blacks. He said, wasn’t that what “they” said took her over the top over Bernie Sanders?

That wasn’t an opinion; that was a fact. Clinton dominated the black vote — a huge demographic in Democratic primaries — over the Vermont-based socialist senator. I’ve argued that if he had made stronger inroads with the African-American community to any extent prior to his unlikely rise over the past year, he might have had a fighting chance at the nomination.

But Clinton, and certainly Sanders, were never going to get a comparable black vote in 2008 or 2012. Not going to happen.

In other news …

One interesting trend in Florida with less than a week before the voting ends is the record vote from the Latino community to date.

SD 18 Democrat Bob Buesing has gone up on TV with his final ad (he says).

David Jolly isn’t giving up on trying to take part of the black vote in St. Petersburg away from Charlie Crist. The CD 13 Republican is airing a new ad that once again goes back in time to the era when his Democratic opponent was known as “Chain-Gang Charlie.”

Former Florida Sen. and Gov. Bob Graham held a conference call yesterday to detail his problems with Amendment 1, the solar power initiative. Graham said its passage could neutralize the Amendment 4 solar power measure that passed by 73 percent in August. A spokesperson for the measure strongly disagrees with him.

Civil engineer Wael Odeh hopes to win a Temple Terrace City Council seat next week, despite a hate-filled letter spread to households in the city last month regarding his character because he is a Muslim.

Newly leaked WikiLeaks emails indicate that while former DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz was all about Hillary Clinton, the feeling among some of her staffers absolutely wasn’t mutual.

Hacked emails show Hillary Clinton camp discussed ousting Debbie Wasserman Schultz for Jennifer Granholm

In July, Debbie Wasserman Schultz abruptly resigned as head of the Democratic National Committee, after leaked emails showed party officials conspiring to sabotage the presidential campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Now, a new email message from the Gmail account of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta — posted by WikiLeaks Tuesday — indicate Hillary Clinton, the candidate campaign officials were considered to be in the tank for, also had serious issues with Wasserman Schultz. Clinton’s staff even discussed ousting her well before her unexpected midsummer exit.

On Dec. 17, 2015Clinton staffer Heather Stone sent out a memo titled “DNC Leadership,” to Podesta, Robby Mook, and Sara Latham. It explained in part the Clinton campaign had encountered challenges in working with Wasserman Schultz, calling for “systemic shifts at the DNC Leadership Level” to facilitate a better working relationship:

Though we have reached a working arrangement with them, our dealings with Party leadership have been marked by challenges, often requiring multiple meetings and phone calls to resolve relatively simple matters.  We are frequently caught in the middle of poor communication and a difficult relationship between the Chairwoman and the Executive Director. Moreover, leadership at the Committee has been slow to respond to structural challenges within their own operation that could have real impact on our campaign, such as research.

Jen O’Malley Dillon has entered into a contract with the DNC as a consultant for the General Election, which addresses some of these challenges and provides a connection for us within the Party. However, this arrangement does not change the need for systemic shifts at the DNC leadership level — to ensure that we have strategic and operational partners within the Committee that can help drive a program and deliver on our General Election imperatives.

The memo also said the intention should be to keep Wasserman Schultz as DNC chair up until July’s National Convention. After the convention, however, “we should consider three models for the DNC chairmanship:”

Three options discussed would be:

— Keep Wasserman Schultz  and “work through a chief of staff.” Wasserman Schultz would have been no more than a figurehead in this capacity, the memo states.

— Keep Wasserman Schultz in the position, but select someone like former Michigan Gov.

 Jennifer Granholm as a “General Election Chair.” In that situation, the chief of staff would work with the General Election Chair, while Wasserman Schultz played the role as a chief surrogate. This didn’t seem likely to work, however, as Stone wrote that, “This model has the considerable drawback of creating a two-headed monster with little clarity of who is responsible for different areas of work within the Committee.”

— Oust Wasserman Schultz outright for Granholm. “Under this scenario, the convention would represent Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz’s final responsibility to the DNC, and we would use the convention as a clean break between chairs,” wrote Stone. “At the convention, we would honor the Chairwoman’s leadership and service to the Party and introduce the new Chair for the final phase of the campaign.”

As it turned out, leaked WikiLeaks emails were released the weekend before the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in late July, prompting an outcry among Sanders delegates who always believed Wasserman Schultz was biased for Clinton in her position at the DNC.

The uproar was so great, Wasserman Schultz quit the Sunday afternoon before the convention, ultimately replaced by Donna Brazile.

Brazile recently left CNN under dubious circumstances following another WikiLeaks release indicating that, while at CNN, she may have passed along a question to Clinton before a debate.

 

Moments to remember — or try to forget — from Campaign 2016

Every presidential race has its big moments. This one, more than most.

A look back at some of the historic, amusing and cringe-inducing events of Campaign 2016.

There are plenty more where these came from. Play along at home and think about what you would add to the list.

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GOING DOWN?

Donald Trump‘s long ride down the escalator at Trump Tower to announce his presidential bid in June 2015 wasn’t huge news at the time. It only merited a page 16 story in his hometown newspaper, The New York Times. But his 45-minute speech laid out a road map for the next 500 days. It had denunciations of rapists from Mexico, the promise to build a border wall, complaints that the United States doesn’t win anymore, assertions that the U.S. should have taken Iraq’s oil before the Islamic State group got it, criticism of President Barack Obama‘s health law, pledges to get lost jobs back from China and elsewhere, rants against “stupid” trade deals and many more themes Trump has hammered on ever since.

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RAISE YOUR HAND

Trump jolted the first Republican debate in August 2015 when he was the sole candidate among 10 men on the stage to raise his hand to signal he wouldn’t pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee. The best he could offer: “I can totally make the pledge if I’m the nominee.” (The GOP field was so crowded then that seven more Republican candidates were relegated to an undercard debate.) This was the same debate where Trump mixed it up with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly over his history of intemperate comments about women, foreshadowing a running campaign theme. Trump answered Kelly’s question about whether he was part of the “war on women” with a riff against political correctness.

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THOSE ‘DAMN EMAILS’

Hillary Clinton got a gift from Bernie Sanders in the first Democratic debate in October 2015 when he seconded her dismay at all the focus on her use of a private email setup as secretary of state. “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails,” Sanders said. That took some air out of the controversy but it never fully went away. Then in June, FBI Director James Comey announced he would not recommend charges against Clinton over the email issue, but said she and her aides had been “extremely careless” in handling classified information. The issue took on new life when the FBI announced just 11 days before the election that it was investigating whether there is classified information in newly discovered emails. Trump called it “bigger than Watergate.”

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SMALL HANDS. EWW.

A Republican debate this past March strayed into cringe-inducing territory when Trump brought up GOP rival Marco Rubio‘s mocking reference to his “small hands” and then volunteered some reassurance about the size of his genitals. Trump told his debate audience and millions of TV viewers, “He referred to my hands, if they’re small, something else must be small. I guarantee you, There’s no problem, I guarantee.” The arbiters of good taste had a problem with that.

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CEILING: SHATTERED

She wore white, the color of suffragettes. Clinton stood before voters at the Democrats’ Philadelphia convention in July and at last claimed the presidential nomination of a major party for women. “I’m so happy this day has come,” she told cheering supporters. “Happy for grandmothers and little girls and everyone in between. Happy for boys and men, too. Because when any barrier falls in America, for anyone, it clears the way for everyone.” Clinton had finally shattered that “glass ceiling” she cracked in the 2008 campaign.

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THE ‘DEPLORABLES’

Clinton drew laughter when she told supporters at a private fundraiser in September that half of Trump supporters could be lumped into a “basket of deplorables” — denouncing them as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.” No one was laughing when her remarks became public. Clinton did a partial rollback, saying she’d been “grossly generalistic” and regretted saying the label fit “half” Trump’s supporters. But she didn’t back down from the general sentiment, saying, “He has built his campaign largely on prejudice and paranoia and given a national platform to hateful views and voices.” Soon enough, Trump had the video running in his campaign ads, and his supporters were wearing the “deplorable” label as a badge of honor.

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A REAL STUMBLE

There are always stumbles in a presidential campaign. Clinton took a real one in September when she became overheated while attending a 9/11 memorial service in New York. It turned out she was suffering from pneumonia, a condition she’d hidden from the public and most of her aides. That gave Trump an opening to press his case that Clinton lacks the “stamina” to be president. But she had a sharp rejoinder in the fall debate with Trump, saying: “As soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.”

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‘YOU CAN DO ANYTHING’

Trump’s living-large persona is part of his appeal for many people. But the leaked release in October of a 2005 video in which Trump boasted about groping women’s genitals and kissing them without permission threw his campaign into crisis. Politicians in both parties denounced Trump and some said he should drop out of the race. Trump apologized, but wrote off his videotaped comments as mere “locker-room banter.” He denied engaging in the kind of predatory activity he’d laughed about. But a string of women came forward to say he’d made unwanted sexual advances toward them.

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HE WENT THERE

Trump toyed throughout the campaign with bringing up allegations about Bill Clinton‘s past sexual misconduct. Trump went there in a big way in October at the second presidential debate, seating three of the former president’s accusers in the front row for the faceoff. “Bill Clinton was abusive to women,” Trump said. “Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously.”

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HE WOULDN’T GO THERE

As Trump’s standing in the polls faltered, he cranked up his claims that the election was being rigged against him. Asked in the final presidential debate if he would accept the results of the election, Trump refused to go there. Pressed on the matter by the debate moderator, Trump said: “I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense.” It was a startling statement that raised uncertainty about the peaceful transfer of power after the election. Even the Republican National Committee disavowed Trump’s statement.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Progressive Action at UCF group stages protest against TPP outside Barack Obama rally

Compared to the throngs of people coming to see President Barack Obama at UCF’s CFE Arena on Friday afternoon, the crowd protesting the Trans-Pacific Partnership was small. But their passion for politics, inspired by Bernie Sanders, was large and solidified enough to convince you that, one day, they could make the change they desired.

Once called the “Knights for Bernie,” after Sanders ended his campaign last summer, they changed their name to the Progressive Action at UCF group. Their leader, 19-year-old UCF student Bryn Taylor, said the point of their being at the Obama rally was to hopefully turn a few heads and raise awareness of the TPP that Obama has been pushing so heavily in the last year.

“We want Obama and other Democratic candidates to know we are against this,” she said. “We are aware of it and we do not support it. We are young progressives and we’re heading to the voting booths in November.”

She said they opposed the TPP because it would do harm to American jobs, and open the door for corporations to sue governments for impeding on their profits.

They first heard about the deal and its perils when Bernie Sanders talked about it earlier this year, Taylor told FloridaPolitics.com.

“We learned about it from him and his speeches,” she said. “He said it would be really bad for government sovereignty, raising the minimum wage, and climate change.”

Another member of the group, Reimar Francisco, 24, raised another concern — a TPP clause that would increase the patent times on biological medicine and other drugs, some needed for cancer treatment and other ills.

“People who need treatment can use generics to bring the cost down,” Francisco said. “But this could increase the limit and make it take longer for the generics to come out. That could make it harder for people who can’t afford the medication they need.”

On how they were voting now that their candidate Sanders was no longer an option, Taylor talked of a club divided — some voting for Hillary Clinton, she said, and others were sticking it out with Green Party nominee Jill Stein, currently hovering around 2 percent of the vote nationwide.

Taylor herself said she was undecided right now.

Francisco said he was voting for Stein.

“I really liked what Bernie Sanders had to say,” he said. “It was in line with what I had thought about the government for a long time. He didn’t get the nomination, but he spurred me on. I’m voting for Jill Stein. She’s more in line with my thoughts and the solutions I think the country needs.”

Also voting for Stein at the protest was 23-year-old Jim Graves, the lone protester who wasn’t a UCF student currently, though he had been in the past. Graves said Stein had his vote because he was hoping to bolster her support for future elections.

“I voted for her to get her to 5 percent of the vote,” he said. “She can get momentum for the next election. I want to help get grassroots candidates all across the board, not just president. No more wars.”

Fellow club member Stephen Beale, 19, said Hillary Clinton would be his choice — but with caveats.

“I’m voting for Hillary Clinton, but we need to make sure she stands up to her campaign promises, and plans to move toward more progressive stances,” he said.

Tim Canova political group calls for Florida constitutional amendments on open primaries, redistricting commission in 2018

Tim Canova wasn’t kidding when he said he was going to stay involved in the political process following his loss to Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District.

The progressive Democrat announced the creation of a political and community action group last month called “Progress For All,” that he said would “will harness the power of our movement.”

He now says the group is “making plans” for a series of referendums on the November 2018 ballot, some of which other activists have been working for years to try to get on the ballot.

The five referendums Progress For All is calling for are:

— Open primaries in which everyone can vote for any candidate, regardless of party. The top two finishers in the primary, regardless of party, then square off against each other in the general election.

— Creation of a Nonpartisan Redistricting Commission to prevent partisan “gerrymandering” to create safe, uncompetitive legislative districts.

— Limiting contributions to Super PACs to $5,000.  This would rein in the corrupting influence of big money in our politics and provide the Supreme Court with an opportunity to overturn Citizens United (That’s an initiative that the St. Petersburg City Council is voting on Thursday).

— Election integrity to ensure they are transparent and verifiable. That would include paper ballots counted by hand in public, as is presently done throughout European democracies.

— Overturning felony disenfranchisement. Unfortunately, the failed war on drugs, mass incarceration, and the New Jim Crow have resulted in millions of American citizens being deprived of their right to vote for the rest of their lives, often for nonviolent felonies committed years ago.

Groups were formed in recent years to try to get amendments on open primaries and the automatic restoration of voting rights for ex-felons on this year’s ballot, to no avail.

As has been shown in recent years on issues like medical marijuana and solar power, such citizen-led initiatives require millions — in some cases, tens of millions — of dollars to get on the ballot.

“Together these reforms would remake our politics in Florida and provide a model for progressive reform throughout our country,” Canova said in a statement. “To get these referendums on the ballot in 2018, we must begin now. There’s no time to delay. State referendums require the gathering of hundreds of thousands of signatures on petitions and canvassing of voters to get our message out.

“This is exactly how we were so successful in our recent campaign against Debbie Wasserman Schultz. We created a huge grassroots movement on the ground that knocked on 10,000 doors a week and, in the face of enormous odds, got us within striking distance.”

When it was announced last month, Progress For All said they would be limited to small donations and would reject contributions from any corporate-funded political action committees.

Canova, a Nova Southeastern law professor, had never run for political office before he took on Wasserman Schultz in the Democratic primary earlier this year. His insurgent campaign against the then-Democratic National Committee Chair inspired the same progressive voters around the nation who rallied around Bernie Sanders’ presidential candidacy, though he ended up losing by 14 percentage points.

Earlier this week, an award-winning report published a statistical analysis of Canova’s race against Wasserman Schultz. At a news conference in WashingtonLulu Fries’dat raised concerns that the contest’s electronic voting machines might have been “manipulated.”

 

Joe Henderson: Hillary Clinton, Citizens United and ‘never-ending’ thirst for cash

One of the themes of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency has been her opposition to Citizens United.

From the podium, she preaches that she doesn’t like the idea of the wealthy few using their money to buy influence over policies that determine the future for the rest of us. She says he wants to overturn that controversial ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that has allowed our politics to be bartered out to the uber rich.

Well, OK.

She says all that, but then The Washington Post reported Sunday that her campaign raised $1.14 billion by the end of September. More than a fifth of that came from just 100 donors.

The top five donors, the Post reported, included two hedge fund managers and one venture capitalist. Combined, they have contributed one out of every $17 Clinton raised. And as you read on SaintPetersBlog.com, Hillary will be in Florida Tuesday for what has been billed as “the largest fundraising event” in Florida’s history.

Got $100,000 laying around? Donate it, and you can take part in a special host reception with HRC. For a mere $5,000, you get dinner and reception.

With two weeks to go and Hillary way out in front of Donald Trump in the polls, this might seem like the political equivalent of running up the score on an overmatched opponent. The bigger question is, how much is enough to quench Clinton’s never-ending thirst for money?

And the biggest question is, what does that money buy? Look, the news business has allowed me to get to know some really rich people, and they have one thing in common: When they invest this kind of money, they expect something in return.

Just follow the trail of breadcrumbs or, in this case, the dollar bills and see where it leads.

Trump’s donors are the same way, of course, so let’s not pretend Clinton’s voracious appetite for dollars is unique. But whether he actually believes his words or not, Trump has made a good case with the “quid pro quo” label he has tried to stick on Clinton.

Trump rose to the Republican nomination on the winds of disgusted Americans who feel locked out of the political process by the wealthy. They believe the game is rigged against them. That same theme inspired Bernie Sanders’ campaign.

That attitude isn’t likely to change after the election.

Clinton’s supporters squirm a little uncomfortably when the subject is money. No one is being naïve, though. It takes a lot of cash to run a national campaign. She is running for president of the most powerful nation on earth, not a seat on the county commission or school board.

The great Bobby Bowden once said of a freshman player who leaped into his arms on the sideline during an over-exuberant moment, “Recruiting season is over. He’s got to stop calling me Bobby.”

Hillary Clinton is recruiting America now, and by most accounts, she is doing such a good job that even Trump’s closest surrogates concede she is likely to win.

But next Jan. 20, when we start calling her Madam President instead of Hillary and it comes time to make good on her posturing against Wall Street and Citizens United, the big players will be in the background, expecting the return on their investments.

What then? Too often in politics, the answer is that you get what you pay for.

For Hillary Clinton, struggle to change public perception persists

Hillary Clinton bested Donald Trump in three debates. She leads in many preference polls of the most competitive states. Barring a significant shift in the next two weeks, she is in a strong position to become the first woman elected U.S. president.

But Clinton will end the campaign still struggling to change the minds of millions of voters who don’t think well of her, a glaring liability should the Democratic nominee move on to the White House.

While many see her as better prepared to be commander in chief than Trump, she is consistently viewed unfavorably by more than half of the country. Most voters also consider her dishonest.

Clinton’s advisers have spent months trying to erase that perception. They’ve set up small events where she had more intimate conversations with voters. They’ve tested a seemingly endless stream of messages aimed at assuring the public that the former secretary of state was in the race to do more than fulfill her own political ambitions.

As Clinton starts making her closing argument to voters, her team appears to have come to terms that the mission remains unfulfilled.

“Honest and trustworthy has become our most talked about metric because it’s not great,” said Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director. “But we’ve never thought it’s the metric people make a decision on.”

If Clinton wins, that theory may be proven true.

Just 36 percent of voters believe Clinton is honest and trustworthy, according to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll. That’s compared with about 60 percent who believe she has the qualifications and temperament to be commander in chief.

The public’s perception of Clinton has bounced up and down throughout her time in public life. Her favorability rating fell below 50 percent at times during her years as first lady, but rose to its high water mark then and while she was as secretary of state under President Barack Obama.

Democrats blame some of the current negative personal perceptions of Clinton on the hard-charging tactics she’s used to try to discredit Trump, though they believe her sustained assault on Trump’s character and temperament has been crucial.

Party operatives also say Trump’s personal attacks on Clinton have made it all but impossible for more positive messages to break through. He’s called her a “liar,” a “nasty woman” and pledged to put her in jail.

“When you’re under relentless assault from a reality TV star, it’s hard to come out of that with anybody feeling good about anyone,” said Bill Burton, a former Obama aide.

Still, Clinton’s advisers acknowledge that some of her troubles have been of her own making, including her penchant for privacy.

She’s spent nearly the entire campaign struggling to explain why she used a private email server in the basement of her home while she led the State Department. She hid a pneumonia diagnosis this fall from nearly all of her senior staff, then left the public unaware of her condition and whereabouts for 90 minutes after the illness caused her to rush out of a public event in New York.

“She is a politician that does not seek to be the center of attention and is inherently more private than most politicians, certainly presidential candidates,” Palmieri said. “That doesn’t always serve you great in a campaign for president.”

Clinton frequently shoots down questions about the public’s negative perceptions by saying she’s viewed more positively when she’s doing a job rather than running for one. There’s some evidence to back that up.

When she ran for re-election to the Senate from New York in 2006, she won with 67 percent of the vote, a big jump from the 55 percent share from her first race in 2000. Her approval rating when she left the State Department, where her job kept her out of day-to-day politics, sat at an enviable 65 percent, according to the Pew Research Center.

But if Clinton is elected president, she won’t have the luxury she had as secretary of state to stay away from the political fray — with Republicans in Washington in the opposition, and possibly Trump, too.

The businessman keeps flirting with the idea he could contest the election results if he loses. There are also persistent rumors that, if he loses, he might try to harness the enthusiasm of his millions of supporters into some type of media venture.

“The notion that Trump is going to go quietly into the night and wish her Godspeed is highly unlikely,” said David Axelrod, another former Obama adviser. “She’s going to have to contend with that and whatever it is he chooses to make his vehicle.”

Clinton has begun acknowledging the challenge that could await her in the White House, if she wins, centering her closing argument to voters on a call for unity after a bitter campaign.

“My name may be on the ballot, but the question really is who are we as a country, what are our values, what kind of a future do we want to create together,” she said Friday at a rally in Ohio.

Some Democrats see the transition — the two-month-plus stretch between the Nov. 8 election and the Jan. 20 inauguration — as a crucial opportunity for her to signal, if she wins, that a Clinton White House would be different from a Clinton campaign.

In a nod to bipartisanship, she could nominate a Republican for her Cabinet. Clinton could start moving on some of her more broadly popular policy proposals as a way of boosting her appeal, assuming no crisis demands immediate action.

Still, Axelrod said changing the public’s view of Clinton will be a “long-term project.”

“There’s no silver bullet to turn around years of wear and tear on her image,” he said.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Leaked email shows Andrew Gillum among those considered for VP

It’s no secret Andrew Gillum is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, but his leap to the national political stage could have come sooner than many expected.

A newly released document from the hacked email file of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta shows Gillum, Tallahassee’s mayor, was among a large number of people initially considered as potential running mates for Hillary Clinton.

Podesta floated Gillum as one of 39 people to be considered for vetting to be Clinton’s eventual running mate. According to POLITICO, the email was sent just one day after Clinton swept the March 15 primaries.

Also on the list: HUD Secretary Julian Castro, Labor Secretary Tom Perez, Sen. Tim Kaine, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. Corey Booker, Sen. Claire McKaskill, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Clinton ultimately selected Kaine, announcing her choice during a rally in Miami.

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