As Hillary Clinton’s campaign continues to flounder after her collapse in New Hampshire, it seems like 2008-style panic is beginning to set in.
With the Nevada caucus just days away and the South Carolina primary at the end of the month, Hillary, Bill, and Chelsea Clinton are all scrambling for the black and Latino vote — and simultaneously doing everything they can to lose it. Depending on the day, the Clintons are either saying they don’t exist, don’t deserve criminal justice reform, or are all mixed anyway. And in some cases, Clinton is simply coming off as clownish, like when she barked like a dog at a rally in Reno, Nevada, on Tuesday:
Hillary Clinton downplays significance of people of color in Nevada electorate
After her crushing 22-point loss to Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire, Clinton’s spokespeople already started to downplay the Nevada caucus by saying it’s “80 percent white voters,” sensing a loss there as well. That strategy is already backfiring, as the Clinton campaign had previously been framing the state as her “Western firewall,” where people of color make up nearly 40 percent of the Democratic electorate.
Allies of U.S. Senate minority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have been chastising Clinton for falsely framing the state as mostly white, saying that Reid asked for the primary to be moved closer to New Hampshire’s precisely due to its diversity. According to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com, Clinton and Sanders are in a dead heat in Nevada, with each candidate polling at 50 percent.
Bill Clinton downplays Obama, says “we’re all mixed-race people”
At times, Hillary’s husband has been called the “first black president,” a catchphrase coined by Toni Morrison in her 1998 article for the New Yorker. Even Barack Obama echoed the sentiment in a 2008 debate:
But Bill Clinton seemingly downplayed Obama at a recent rally in Memphis, Tennessee, earlier this week, saying “we are all mixed-race people,” then criticizing the two-term black president by saying he wasn’t a “change-maker.”
Chelsea Clinton says Bernie Sanders’ plan to end mass incarceration is “worrying”
This past weekend, Chelsea Clinton said Bernie Sanders’ platform of ending the private prison industry in America “worried” her while speaking to a town hall in Cleveland, the home of 12-year-old police brutality victim Tamir Rice. She centered her critique around the feasibility of his plan, a common refrain from the former Secretary of State herself:
“We are not electing a king, we are electing a president… We need someone who understands what they have to do in the job [as president] but also in partnership with congress, governors and mayors…. My mother understands how the government works.”
The most worrisome part of Clinton’s remarks is that the former First Daughter doesn’t seem to take mass incarceration too seriously. The United States currently jails more people than any country in the world, with more than 2.2 million people currently incarcerated — that’s 600,000 more imprisoned than in China, whose population is more than 4 times larger than the US. China isn’t even in the top 10 for prison population per capita:
Currently, Hillary Clinton is banking on her support from black and Latino voters to beat Bernie Sanders in Nevada and South Carolina. But if gaffes like these continue, she may not be able to their votes, or anyone else’s, for granted much longer.