“Believe in Yourselves”

Hillary Clinton gave the commencement address at Wellesley today, and she used the occasion to righteously roast Trump’s ass. At one point, referring to her own graduation from that institution, she pointedly mentioned that the class of 1969 was “furious about the past presidential election of a man whose presidency would eventually end in disgrace with his impeachment for obstruction of justice. After firing the person running the investigation into him at the Department of Justice.”

The crowd went wild. Here’s the full speech:

Here’s an excerpt in which Clinton calls out the Republican con in no uncertain terms:

You are graduating at a time when there is a full-fledged assault on truth and reason. Just log on to social media for ten seconds. It will hit you right in the face. People denying science, concocting elaborate, hurtful conspiracies theories about child abuse rings operating out of pizza parlors. Drumming up rampant fear about undocumented immigrants, Muslims, minorities, the poor. Turning neighbor against neighbor and sowing division at a time when we desperately need unity. Some are even denying things we see with our own eyes. Like the size of crowds.

And then defending themselves by talking about “alternative facts.” But this is serious business. Look at the budget that was just proposed in Washington. It is an attack of unimaginable cruelty on the most vulnerable among us, the youngest, the oldest, the poorest, and hardworking people who need a little help to gain or hang on to a decent middle-class life. It grossly underfunds public education, mental health, and efforts even to combat the opioid epidemic. And in reversing our commitment to fight climate change, it puts the future of our nation and our world at risk.

And to top it off, it is shrouded in a trillion-dollar mathematical lie. Let’s call it what it is. It’s a con. They don’t even try to hide it. Why does all this matter? It matters because if our leaders lie about the problems we face, we’ll never solve them. It matters because it undermines confidence in government as a whole which in turn breeds more cynicism and anger. But it also matters because our country, like this college, was founded on the principles of the enlightenment. In particular, the belief that people, you and I, possess the capacity for reason and critical thinking. And that free and open debate is the life blood of a democracy.

Bet she never thought she’d be urging a Wellesley class to use their elite educations to resist the New Dark Ages in 2017! The full transcript is here.

In other Hillary Clinton news, Rebecca Traister’s fascinating piece on Clinton was published in NY Mag today. Here’s a stark warning about the lessons of 2016:

“Whoever comes next, this is not going to end. Republicans learned that if you suppress votes you win … So take me out of the equation as a candidate. You know, I’m not running for anything. Put me into the equation as somebody who has lived the lessons that people who care about this country should probably pay attention to.”

Yep. Also, this will launch a thousand angry tweetstorms from all points on the compass:

There are plenty of people who yearned for Clinton to get mad; during the campaign, an imagined litany of Clinton’s fury entitled “Let Me Remind You Fuckers Who I Am” went viral. “Oh, I am [pissed],” she says. But as a woman in public life, “you can’t be angry for yourself. You just can’t. You can be indignant, you can be annoyed, you can be frustrated, but you can’t be angry … I don’t think anger’s a strategy.”

You mean it’s not a strategy for you, I clarify. “For me, yeah.” She pauses. “But I don’t think it’s a good strategy for most people.”

But this was an election that was, in many ways, about anger. And Trump and Sanders capitalized on that.

“Yes.” Clinton nods. “And I beat both of them.”

Anyhoo, fascinating stuff.



HRClinton — Can’t Win for Losing

Dan Drezner, in the Washington Post:

[W]henever this topic comes up, I feel like gouging my eyes out with a dull spoon there’s a key point that always goes unacknowledged: from the outset of the general election campaign, Clinton faced a more difficult challenge than is commonly understood.

As I pointed out last year and as the April 2017 issue of PS: Political Science & Politics notes, the fundamentals of the 2016 campaign had the race as pretty close to a toss-up. Economic growth in the first half of 2016 was pretty weak. The incumbent party was trying to win a third consecutive presidential campaign. Both of these facts meant that, despite Obama’s personal popularity, the fundamentals of the campaign were far from a Democratic cake-walk…

To be fair, the tightness of the fundamental race heightens the magnitude of each mistake made by Clinton and her campaign. But I think the general election polling numbers mistakenly gave the impression that Clinton’s victory was inexorable when the reality was more murky. Despite Obama’s personal popularity, the simple fact is that the same party has won three consecutive presidential elections only once since 1952. In 2000, Al Gore was running on a stronger economy and still barely eked out a victory in the popular vote. Clinton faced a more difficult path…



Saturday Morning Open Thread: Same As It Ever Was

And yet… from NYMag‘s The Cut, “7 Important Things Hillary Clinton Said at the Women in the World Summit”:

In her first public interview since the election, Hillary Clinton sat down [Thursday] with the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof at Tina Brown’s Women in the World Summit to address a number of topics: her emotions after November 8, the first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency, and the ongoing attack on women’s rights around the world…

She did get a kick out of the health-care bill mess.
“I will confess to this: having listened to them talk about repeal and replace for 7 years now, they had not a clue what that meant; they had no idea. I don’t know that any of them had ever even read the bill – read the law, understood how it worked. It was so obvious. Health care is complicated, right? They don’t know what to do, and I do admit that was somewhat gratifying.”…

She believes women’s rights are under attack around the world.
“The targeting of women — which is what is going on — is absolutely beyond any political agenda. There is something else happening here. So the global gag rule, that bounces back and forth between Republican and Democrats, but the way they wrote it this time — not like Bush did, not like Reagan did — this time would be to remove all aid if there is some kind of alleged breach. Because you provide family planning services, but somebody says to a woman desperate to get an abortion because she has been told she will die if she bears another child so then you try to help her and you lose everything. And then you follow that with the U.N. population fund … The impact that those dollars have is saving women and children’s lives and helping women have a better shot at a future… This is not just the right and moral position for the United States to take; this in our national security interest. The more we support women, the more we support democracy … Women’s issues are national security issues around the world.”

She’s still not sure why everyone hated her so much, but she has stopped caring.
“I am not perfect, everybody knows that by now … Sometimes I don’t know quite how to fix what they are concerned about. But I try. And so, I take it seriously, but I don’t any longer, and haven’t for a long time taken it personally. Because part of the attacks … part of the bullying and part of the name calling — and that has certainly become more pervasive — is to crush your spirit and feel inadequate. And I just refused to do that — and that infuriated everyone.”

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Apart from continuing to #Resist, what’s on the agenda for the weekend?

Oh, incidentally… HRClinton’s favorite Trump .gif:



Early Morning Cabin Fever Cranky Open Thread: Tell It!

Infinite thanks to commentor Rikyrah for highlighting Awesome Luvvie’s latest extremely righteous twitter rant. Excerpts:

(And yes, I was reminded that I’ve been meaning to order a copy of Ms. Ajayi’s book I’m Judging You… )



Thursday Morning Open Thread: Fight On

Most shared US tweet of 2016, per Buzzfeed.

If she can do it, so can we. Besides, what other option is there?

What’s on the agenda for the day?

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Remember Cole’s favorite candidate?

Useful reminders, from genuine reporters…

From ground zero of #Pizzagate:



Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Two Americas

Another way of visualizing the difference, by the Brookings Institution, as reported in the Washington Post:

According to the Brookings analysis, the less-than-500 counties that Clinton won nationwide combined to generate 64 percent of America’s economic activity in 2015. The more-than-2,600 counties that Trump won combined to generate 36 percent of the country’s economic activity last year.

Clinton, in other words, carried nearly two-thirds of the American economy.

This appears to be unprecedented, in the era of modern economic statistics, for a losing presidential candidate. The last candidate to win the popular vote but lose the electoral college, Democrat Al Gore in 2000, won counties that generated about 54 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, the Brookings researchers calculated. That’s true even though Gore won more than 100 more counties in 2000 than Clinton did in 2016.

In between those elections, U.S. economic activity has grown increasingly concentrated in large, “superstar” metro areas, such as Silicon Valley and New York.

But it’s not the case that the counties Clinton won have grown richer at the expense of the rest of the country — they represent about the same share of the economy today as they did in 2000. Instead, it appears that, compared to Gore, Clinton was much more successful in winning over the most successful counties in a geographically unbalanced economy.

The Brookings analysis found that counties with higher GDP per capita were more likely to vote for Clinton over Trump, as were counties with higher population density. Counties with a higher share of manufacturing employment were more likely to vote for Trump.

“This is a picture of a very polarized and increasingly concentrated economy,” said Mark Muro, the policy director at the Brookings metro program, “with the Democratic base aligning more to that more concentrated modern economy, but a lot of votes and anger to be had in the rest of the country.”…

Same issue as ever — if acreage could vote, Trump would’ve gotten his imaginary landslide. And if so many people in that acreage didn’t chose the impossible dream of re-enacting an imaginary 1950s over all the potential of an actual future…

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Apart from regretting the intransigence of our neighbors, what’s on the agenda for the day?



Friday Morning Open Thread: Thank You, Hillary

Apart from recovering from yesterday’s festivities and/or shopping plans, what’s on the agenda for the day?

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Jared Bernstein and Ben Spielberg, in the Washington Post, “Thankful for the Fight for $15“:

The Fight for $15 has been incredibly successful since 100 fast-food workers first went on strike on Nov. 29, 2012, in New York City. The movement they helped create went 5-for-5 during the most recent election, winning ballot initiatives in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington, while defeating a subminimum wage law for teenagers in South Dakota. And with the anniversary of its original strike approaching, that movement is only gaining steam.

As Bryce Covert of the news site ThinkProgress recently reported, workers in more than 340 cities will go on strike again on Tuesday, while “fast food employees, airport workers, childcare and home care providers, and university graduate students” will engage in “civil disobedience at McDonald’s and 20 of the nation’s largest airports.” The workers have also upped the ante: In addition to their calls for minimum wage increases, they’re “demanding no deportations of undocumented immigrants, an end to police violence against black people, and the protection of health care coverage.”

Winning all of these important fights is unlikely, especially in an era of Republican governance, but this type of grass-roots activism is exactly what’s needed. Coupled with the widespread popularity of increasing the minimum wage, these protests could help lead to an increase in the federal wage floor sometime during the next four years.

Such an increase would be long overdue. The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 an hour since July 2009 and, after accounting for inflation, is 24 percent below its maximum annual value from 1968. It was 55 percent of the median wage that year, according to OECD data; in 2015, that ratio had fallen to 36 percent, significantly below international norms