Hillary Hits Home With Labor


Hillary ClintonThose who contend that Hillary Clinton falls short of firing up a crowd should have been at the Jacob Javits Center Wednesday evening.  From her opening remarks to her closing comments nearly twenty minutes later, Clinton was “fired up and ready to go,” as she hailed her victories in the South on Super Tuesday.
After thanking the speakers before her, including Public Advocate Trish James, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Governor Andrew Cuomo—who was particularly effusive in his praise for the candidate—Clinton played to the crowd, comprised mainly of labor organizations.
“Yesterday was one for the history books,” she said, noting her victorious Super Tuesday.  “Our campaign went nationwide.  People in every corner of the country came out to support the future we’re building together.  And we could not have done it without labor.”
For several minutes she emphasized and saluted the role of workers in her campaign, union members from Iowa to Alabama who have been unstinting in their efforts to get her to the White House.
“When unions are strong, families are strong, and America is strong,” she said to an enthusiastic throng, after noting her own working class pedigree.  She said that was not a slogan for her “but a statement of fact.”
Next was her attention to the usual talking points on the expanded middle class, an increase in the minimum wage, immigration reform, health care, education, and the fight to keep social security from being privatized. Then she alluded to her opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and his grand ideas.  “I don’t like to make promises I can’t keep,” she said. “I am not going to over promise. I’m going to tell you what I can do, and then we can work together.”
A togetherness resounded from the audience with a chant of “Hillary, Hillary, Hillary!”  The chants grew even louder and more sustained when she promised that “Labor will always have a seat at the table when I’m in the White House.”
She succinctly summarized her stance against the Republican Party by stating that “the stakes in this election have never been higher and the rhetoric lower.”  This elicited rounds of oohs from the crowd.  And there was no mistaking who was targeted when she said that “we don’t have to talk about making America great again, America never stopped being great. We have to make America whole.  Instead of building walls, we need to break down barriers” that are holding back families…”and our country.”
Clinton struck an expected chord of approval when she stressed the need for equal pay for equal work, especially for women.  It may have brought the loudest cheer of the evening.
An effective rhetorical device occurred when she began her “imagining” things, such as Supreme Court of fairness, women with the right to make their own health care decisions, “and imagine that the attacks on Planned Parenthood finally stops,” she said.
Recently, during her campaign stops, Clinton has resorted to a phrase about love and kindness, and she cited it again toward the close of her speech. “I honestly believe we need more love and kindness in our country,” she said.  “It’s always easier to tear people down than to build people up.”
Having all the political elite in the house along with a massive labor contingent were nice moves, but to have a young Black woman, Alicia Williams, who has a long and personal relationship with Clinton, introduce her may help to salve some of the discontent aroused by Black Lives Matter.