Friday, January 29, 2016

Let's Face it: Hillary Clinton Was Right

Everyone in the Democratic party agrees with her now. As the President's recent interview shows, even he agrees with her now too.

"If Obama was surprised by his presidency's failure to change the tenor of American politics, Clinton probably wasn't. She had always been clear that Obamaism was, in her view, shot through with naiveté about the nature of both American politics and Republican opposition."

"I could stand up here and say, 'Let's just get everybody together, Let's get unified. The sky will open. The light will come down. Celestial choirs will be singing. And everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect,'" Clinton said in 2008. "Maybe I've just lived a little long, but I have no illusions about how hard this is going to be. You are not going to wave a magic wand and have the special interests disappear."

Many Democrats now agree that the time for symbolism is over. Not the Bernie Bros, but most other Democrats do.

Indeed, this is how most black Democrats feel at this point. African-Americans due to historical experience are normally very pragmatic in who they vote for in the Democratic primary. They need someone who can win.

Especially right now where in may red states the right to vote is under the sort of attack we haven't seen since the Voting Rights Act: thanks to the Robert's Court voiding Clause 4 of the VRA as well as the rise of all kinds of voter id laws and other sundry restrictions on the right to vote which disproportionately affects AAs.

In 2008 black folks had their one aspirational feel good choice. Don't get me wrong-I love President Obama and voted for him twice. But what we need now is less the audacity of hope but the audacity of pragmatism.

"Coming off a State of the Union address in which the president who eight years ago pledged to remake our politics admitted his failure, it is disheartening to hear yet another Democratic presidential contender offer up a platform high on aspiration and low on realism. For skeptical voters of color, you also have to factor in Ta-Nehisi Coates’s complaint that the democratic socialist who is calling for a political revolution transformed suddenly into a political pragmatist when reparations were brought up. (Yes, Clinton was also asked about reparations during the Iowa Brown & Black Forum, and she also gave an unsatisfactory answer. But she isn’t promising a political revolution.) "

"What does Sanders have to do to convince Democratic voters who are more results-oriented, specifically those who are black and Latino, that he’s their best bet? Much more than he has. Eight years after Obama’s “hope and change” captured the imaginations and votes of Americans of color, these voters are focused on the hard realities of the present. Those who are looking to protect the gains made under Obama want results, not rhetoric. No one, perhaps other than Obama and his staffers, is more possessive of that legacy than the black and Latino voters who were so key to getting him to the Oval Office in the first place. Despite the outreach efforts that Sanders has mounted, he has a lot of work to do to convince those same voters that he can realistically deliver on his ideas."

For most Democrats-of color, women, moderates, pragmatic liberals-the real question is who's going to get shit done, not who can make the most pretty promises.

Aspirations won't rollback voter suppression, give us immigration reform, or fight back on the attack on women's choice and health.

They won't secure the gains of President Obama. That will take the ability to govern.

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