Clinton Online: Blacks Suffer Racism Daily
Hillary Clinton weighed in on the controversy surrounding appearances by Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders at a progressive conference in Phoenix over the weekend where the two presidential candidates were heckled by Black Lives Matter activists.
“Black lives matter. Everyone in this country should stand firmly behind that,” Clinton said in a Facebook chat on Monday. “We need to acknowledge some hard truths about race and justice in this country, and one of those hard truths is that racial inequality is not merely a symptom of economic inequality. Black people across American still experience racism every day.”
Clinton was responding to a question from a Washington Post reporter about whether she would, as president, embrace a policy that would “dismantle – not reform, not make progress – but will begin to dismantle structural racism in the United States?”
The Democratic frontrunner laid out specific policy goals, pledging to name others as the campaign progresses: “We should make sure every police department in the U.S. has body cameras. We should provide alternatives to incarceration for low-level offenders. We should invest in early childhood education for every child. We should fight for voting rights and universal voter registration.”
O’Malley was interrupted during his Q&A session at Netroots Nation, a gathering of progressives which Clinton did not attend. Several in the crowd objected loudly when the former Maryland governor said, “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.”
According to many activists on the issue, proclaiming “all lives matter” distracts from the point they are trying to make – that black people are often not included in “all lives.” (Clinton was scrutinized for using the phrase herself at an African-American church last month.)
O’Malley eventually apologized for the comparison in an interview with This Week in Blackness: “That was a mistake on my part and I meant no disrespect. I did not mean to be insensitive in any way or communicate that I did not understand the tremendous passion, commitment, and feeling and depth of feeling that all of us should be attaching to this issue.”
Progressives were surprised that Sanders, the Vermont senator and democratic socialist, was also heckled at the event, where he mainly discussed economic disparities. “I spent 50 years of my life fighting for civil rights and for dignity,” Sanders said.
Elsewhere during the Facebook chat, Clinton fielded questions from journalists and ordinary Americans alike about a range of topics, from her tax plan to her famous pantsuits.
Clinton was asked by a CNN reporter about her proposal to increase capital gains taxes on short-term investments from 24 percent to 28 percent, which contrasts with her 2008 promise to not hike capital gains rates above 20 percent.
“Both business leaders and labor leaders have been speaking out about this in recent years,” Clinton said. “The increase in short-termism has grown in urgency since 2008, and the urgency of our solutions has to match it.”
The former secretary of state also addressed Wall Street accountability, on the eve of the five-year anniversary of the Dodd-Frank regulations.
“As president, I’ll defend Dodd-Frank – and I’ll go beyond,” Clinton pledged. “ …We have work to do to enhance accountability … Last week, I pledged to prosecute individuals as well as firms when they commit fraud or other criminal wrongdoing – because no one is ‘too big to jail.’”
Among her top three ideas to boost Wall Street accountability, Clinton said she would appoint independent regulators; give potential whistleblowers proper incentives to report abuses and misconduct; and require that corporate fines cut into executives’ bonuses.
Clinton said those proposals would “give people a reason to improve the culture of their firms,” thus ensuring accountability.
The former New York senator and first lady also slammed Donald Trump for his “hateful rhetoric” on immigration, referring to the real estate mogul’s controversial comments about Mexican immigrants who cross the southern border illegally.
“Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio actually agree with [Trump] on denying a pathway to citizenship and consigning hardworking immigrants to second-class status,” Clinton said. “I will fight for comprehensive immigration reform that includes that pathway to citizenship.”
Asked about student debt and college affordability, Clinton said she would roll out her specific ideas soon but mentioned income contingency repayment programs by which young Americans can pay back their loans as a percentage of their incomes. (Bernie Sanders rolled out his college affordability plan in May, which would make public universities tuition-free by taxing Wall Street.)