Clinton Speech: Election Of Reckoning, For Republicans And All Of Us

“He’s taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party.”

—Hillary Clinton, 8/25/2016

You know Hillary Clinton’s speech today was effective when you saw Trump surrogates on TV get angry afterwards and then quote Martin Luther King in support of Trump (as happened on CNN).

It took only about 30 minutes for Clinton to make the case that Trump has in subtle and not-so-subtle ways embraced racists and bigots and conspiracy nuts. She said,

Now all of this adds up to something we have never seen before. Of course there’s always been a paranoid fringe in our politics, a lot of it arising from racial resentment. But it’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it, and giving it a national megaphone. Until now.

And in one sentence she described the result of Trump’s work, as he has “merged” with those paranoid folks, especially Breitbart and company:

A fringe element…has effectively taken over the Republican Party.

Then she summed up what this election is all about:

This is a moment of reckoning for every Republican dismayed that the Party of Lincoln has become the Party of Trump. It’s a moment of reckoning for all of us who love our country and believe that America is better than this.

In case you missed it, here is the speech, mostly delivered with a seriousness and soberness that the subject deserves (a transcript follows, which you should read to appreciate its historical nature):

[…]

I have to begin by saying my original plan for this visit was to focus on our agenda to help small businesses and entrepreneurs. This week we proposed new steps to cut red tape and taxes, and make it easier for small businesses to get the credit they need to grow and hire. I want to be a small business president. My father was a small businessman. Because I believe that in America, if you can dream it, you should be able to build it. And, so, we’ll be talking a lot more about small business and our economic plans in the days and weeks ahead. But today, here in this community college devoted to opening minds and creating great understanding of the world in which we live, I want to address something I hear from Americans all over our country.

Everywhere I go, people tell me how concerned they are by the divisive rhetoric coming from my opponent in this election. And I understand that concern because it’s like nothing we’ve heard before from a nominee for President of the United States from one of our two major political parties.

From the start, Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia. He is taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party. His disregard for the values that make our country great is profoundly dangerous.

In just this past week, under the guise of “outreach” to African Americans, Trump has stood up in front of largely white audiences and described black communities in insulting and ignorant terms: “Poverty. Rejection. Horrible education. No housing. No homes. No ownership. Crime at levels nobody has seen…” Right now he said, “You can walk down the street and get shot.” Those are his words. But when I hear them I think to myself, “how sad.” Donald Trump misses so much.

He doesn’t see the success of black leaders in every field…The vibrancy of black-owned businesses…the strength of the black church… He doesn’t see the excellence of historically black colleges and universities or the pride of black parents watching their children thrive…He apparently didn’t see Police Chief Brown of Dallas on television after the murders of five of his officers conducting himself with such dignity. And he certainly doesn’t have any solutions to take on the reality of systemic racism and create more equity and opportunity in communities of color and for every American.

It really does takes a lot of nerve to ask people he’s ignored and mistreated for decades, “What do you have to lose?” Because the answer is everything!

Now, Trump’s lack of knowledge or experience or solutions would be bad enough. But what he’s doing here is more sinister. Trump is reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters. It’s a disturbing preview of what kind of President he’d be. And that’s what I want to make clear today: A man with a long history of racial discrimination, who traffics in dark conspiracy theories drawn from the pages of supermarket tabloids and the far, dark reaches of the internet, should never run our government or command our military.

Ask yourself: If he doesn’t respect respect all Americans, how can he serve all Americans!

Now, I know some people still want to give Trump the benefit of the doubt. They hope that he will eventually reinvent himself – that there’s a kinder, gentler, more responsible Donald Trump waiting in the wings somewhere. Because after all, it’s hard to believe anyone – let alone a nominee for President– could really believe all the things he says. But the hard truth: there’s no other Donald Trump. This is it. And Maya Angelou, a greast American whom I admired very much, she once said: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Well, throughout his career and this campaign, Donald Trump has shown us exactly who he is. And I think we should believe him.

When he was getting his start in business, he was sued by the Justice Department for refusing to rent apartments to black and Latino tenants. Their applications would be marked with a “c” for “colored” and then rejected. Three years later, the Justice Department took Trump back to court because he hadn’t changed. The pattern continued through the decades. State regulators fined one of Trump’s casinos for repeatedly removing black dealers from the floor. No wonder the turn-over rate for his minority employees was way above average.

And let’s not forget that Trump first gained political prominence leading the charge for the so-called “Birthers.” He promoted the racist lie that President Obama is not really an American citizen – part of a sustained effort to delegitimize America’s first black President.

And in 2015, Trump launched his own campaign for President with another racist lie. He described Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals. And he accused the Mexican government of actively sending them across the border. None of that is true.

And, oh, by the way, Mexico’s not paying for his wall either. If he ever tries to get it built, the American taxpayer will pay for it. We’ll be stuck with the bill.

But, there’s been a steady stream of bigotry coming from him. I think we all remember when Trump said a distinguished federal judge born in Indiana could not be trusted to do his job because, quote, “He’s a Mexican.” Think about that. The man who today is the standard bearer of the Republican Party said a federal judge—who by the way had a distinguished record as a U.S. Attorney; had to go in hiding because Mexican drug gangs were after him; who has Mexican heritage but just like me was born in this country—is somehow incapable solely because of his heritage. Even the Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, described that, and I quote, as “the textbook definition of a racist comment.”

And to this day, to this day Trump has never apologized to Judge Curiel. But for Trump, that’s just par for the course.

This is someone who retweets white supremacists online, like the user who goes by the name “white-genocide-TM.” Trump took this fringe bigot, with a few dozen followers, and spread his message to 11 million people. His campaign famously posted an anti-Semitic image – a Star of David imposed over a sea of dollar bills – that first appeared on a white supremacist websites. The Trump campaign has also selected a prominent white nationalist leader as a delegate in California. And they only dropped him under pressure.

When asked in a nationally televised interview whether he would disavow the support of David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, Trump wouldn’t do it. And only later, again under mounting pressure, did he backtrack. And when Trump was asked about anti-Semitic slurs and death threats coming from his supporters, he refused to condemn them.

Through it all, he has continued pushing discredited conspiracy theories with racist undertones. You remember he said that thousands of American Muslims in New Jersey cheered the 9/11 attacks. They didn’t. He suggested that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the Kennedy assassination. Now perhaps in Trump’s mind, because Mr. Curz was a Cuban immigrant, he must have had something to do with it. Of course there’s absolutely no evidence of that.

Just recently, Trump claimed President Obama founded ISIS. And he has repeated that over and over again.

His latest paranoid fever dream is about my health. And all I can say is, Donald, dream on. But, my friends, this is what happens when you treat the National Enquirer like Gospel. They said in October I’d be dead in six months.

It’s also what happens when you listen to the radio host Alex Jones, who claims that 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombings were inside jobs. He even said, and this really is so disgusting, he even said the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre were child actors and no one was actually killed there. I don’t know what happens in somebody’s mind, or how dark their heart must be, to say things like that. But Trump doesn’t challenge these lies. He actually went on Jones’ show and said: “Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down.” This from the man who wants to be President of the United States.

You know, I’ve stood by President Obama’s side as he made the toughest decisions a Commander-in-Chief has to make. In times of crisis, our country depends on steady leadership… clear thinking… calm judgment…because one wrong move can mean the difference between life and death. I know we have veterans here and I know we have families, mothers and spouses and children of people currently serving. The last thing we need in the Situation Room is a loose cannon who can’t tell the difference—or doesn’t care to—between fact and fiction, and who buys so easily into racially-tinged rumors.

Someone so detached from reality should never be in charge of making decisions that are as real as they come. And that is yet another reason why Donald Trump is simply temperamentally unfit to be President of the United States.

Now, I hear and I read some people who are saying, well, that his bluster and bigotry is just over-heated campaign rhetoric – an outrageous person saying outrageous things for attention. But look at his policies. The ones Trump has proposed. They would put prejudice into practice. And don’t be distracted by his latest attempts to muddy the waters. He may have some new people putting new words in his mouth… but we know where he stands.

He would form a deportation force to round up millions of immigrants and kick them out of the country. He’d abolish the bedrock constitutional principle that says if you’re born in the United States, you’re an American citizen. He says that children born to undocumented parents in America are, quote, “anchor babies” and should be deported. Millions of them. He’d ban Muslims around the world from entering our country just because of their religion.

Now think about that for a minute. How would that actually work? The people landing in U.S. airports would line up to get their passports stamped, just like they do now. But in Trump’s America, when they step up to the counter, the immigration officer would ask every single person, “What is your religion?” And then what? What if someone says, “I’m a Christian,” but the agent doesn’t believe them. Do they have to prove it? How would they do that? Really. Ever since the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, America has distinguished itself as a haven for people fleeing religious persecution. Believing in religious freedom and religious liberty. Under Donald Trump, America would distinguish itself as the only country in the world to impose a religious test at the border.

Now, come to think of it, there actually may be one other place that does that. The so-called Islamic State. The territory that ISIS controls. What a cruel irony that someone running for president would equate us with them.

Now, but don’t worry, some will say, as President, Trump will be surrounded by smart advisers who will rein in his worst impulses. So when a tweet gets under his skin and he wants to retaliate with a cruise missile, maybe cooler heads will convince him not to. Well, maybe. But look at who he’s put in charge of his campaign.

Trump likes to say he only hires the “best people.” But he’s had to fire so many campaign managers it’s like an episode from the Apprentice. And the latest shake-up was designed to – quote – “Let Trump be Trump.” To do that, he hired Stephen Bannon, the head of a right-wing website called Breitbart.com, as the campaign CEO. Now, to give you a flavor of his work, here are a few headlines they’ve published—and I’m not making this up:

“Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.”

“Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?”

“Gabby Giffords: The Gun Control Movement’s Human Shield”

“Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage.”

And that one came shortly after the Charleston massacre, when Democrats and Republicans alike were doing everything they could to heal racial divides that Breitbart and Bannon tried to inflame. Just imagine – Donald Trump reading that and thinking: “this is what I need more of in my campaign.”

Now Bannon has nasty things to say about pretty much everyone. This spring, he railed against Paul Ryan for, quote “rubbing his social-justice Catholicism in my nose every second.” No wonder he’s gone to work for Trump – the only Presidential candidate ever to get into a public feud with the Pope!

It’s truly hard to believe, but according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, Breitbart embraces “ideas on the extremist fringe of the conservative right. This is not conservatism as we have known it. This is not Republicanism as we have known it. These are racist ideas. Race-baiting ideas. Anti-Muslim and anti-Immigrant ideas, anti-women –– all key tenets making up an emerging racist ideology known as the ‘Alt-Right.’”

Alt-Right is short for “Alternative Right.” The Wall Street Journal describes it as a loosely organized movement, mostly online, that “rejects mainstream conservatism, promotes nationalism and views immigration and multiculturalism as threats to white identity.” So the de facto merger between Breitbart and the Trump campaign represents a landmark achievement for this group. A fringe element that has effectively taken over the Republican Party.

This is part of a broader story — the rising tide of hard-line, right-wing nationalism around the world. Just yesterday, one of Britain’s most prominent right-wing leaders, Nigel Farage, who stoked anti-immigrant sentiments to win the referendum, to have Britain leave the European Union, campaigned with Donald Trump in Mississippi. Farage has called for a bar on the children of legal immigrants from public schools and health services; has said women, are, and I quote, “worth less” than men, and supports scrapping laws that prevent employers from discriminating based on race — that’s who Donald Trump wants by his side when he is addressing an audience of American voters.

And the grand godfather of this global brand of extreme nationalism is Russian President Vladimir Putin. And in fact, Farage regularly appears on Russian propaganda programs. Now he’s standing on the same stage as the Republican nominee.

Trump himself heaps praise on Putin and embrace pro-Russian policies. He talks casually of abandoning our NATO allies, recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea, giving the Kremlin a free hand in Eastern Europe. American presidents from Truman to Reagan to Bush and Clinton to Obama have rejected the kind of approach Trump is taking on Russia. And we should, too.

Now all of this adds up to something we have never seen before. Of course there’s always been a paranoid fringe in our politics, a lot of it arising from racial resentment. But it’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it, and giving it a national megaphone. Until now.

On David Duke’s radio show the other day, the mood was jubilant. “We appear to have taken over the Republican Party,” one white supremacist said. Duke laughed. No, there’s still more work to do, he replied. No one should have any illusions about what’s really going on here. The names may have changed… Racists now call themselves “racialists.” White supremacists now call themselves “white nationalists.” The paranoid fringe now calls itself “alt-right.” But the hate burns just as bright.

And now Trump is trying to re-brand himself as well. Don’t be fooled. There’s an old Mexican proverb that says “Tell me with whom you walk, and I will tell you who you are.” Well we know who Trump is. A few words on a teleprompter won’t change that. He says he wants to “make America great again,” but more and more it seems as thrush his real message remains “Make America hate again.”

This isn’t just about one election. It’s about who we are as a nation. It’s about the kind of example we want to set for our children and our grandchildren. Next time you see Trump on TV, think about all the children listening across America. You know, kids hear a lot more than we think. Parents and teachers are already worrying about what they call the “Trump Effect.” They report that bullying and harassment are on the rise in our schools, especially targeting students of color, Muslims, and immigrants.

At a recent high school basketball game in Indiana, white students held up Trump signs and taunted Latino players on the opposing team with chants of “Build the wall!” and “Speak English.” After a similar incident in Iowa, one frustrated school principal said, “They see it in a presidential campaign and now it’s OK for everyone to say this.” We wouldn’t tolerate this kind of behavior before and we wouldn’t tolerate it in our homes. And we should not stand for it from a candidate.

You know my friends this is a moment of reckoning for every Republican dismayed that the Party of Lincoln has become the Party of Trump. It’s a moment of reckoning for all of us who love our country and believe that America is better than this. Twenty years ago, when Bob Dole accepted the Republican nomination, he pointed to the exits in the convention hall and told any racists in the Party to get out. The week after 9/11, George W. Bush went to a mosque and declared, for everyone to hear, that Muslims “love America just as much as I do.” In 2008, John McCain told his own supporters they were wrong about the man he was trying to defeat. Senator McCain made sure they knew – Barack Obama he said is an American citizen and “a decent person.” We need that kind of leadership again.

We can have our disagreements and believe me I understand that. I think that’s healthy. We need good debates. But we need to do it in a respectful way. Not finger-pointing and blaming and stirring up this bigotry and prejudice. Every day, more Americans are standing up and saying “enough is enough” – including a lot of Republicans. And I am honored to have their support in this campaign.

And I promise you this: with your help, I will be a President for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. For those who vote for me and for those who vote against me. I will be a president for all Americans!

Because I truly believe we are stronger together. And this is a vision for the future rooted in our values and reflected in a rising generation of young people. The young people in America today are the most open, diverse, and connected generation we have ever seen.

How many of you saw any of the Olympics, right? I was so proud. I always get carried away every time the Olympics are on. And you look at the diversity of our athletes. Look at our fabulous Olympic team, representing the United States of America. Ibtihaj Muhammad, an African-American Muslim from New Jersey won the bronze medal in fencing with grace and skill. Would she even have a place in Donald Trump’s America?

And I’ll tell you when I was growing up, in so many parts of our country, Simone Manuel and Katie Ledecky would not have been allowed to swim in the same public pool. And now together on our swimming team they’re winning Olympic medals as teammates!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think we have a person to waste. We want to build an America where everyone has a place. Where if you work hard and you do your part you can get ahead and stay ahead. That’s a basic bargain of  America. And we cannot get to where we need to be unless we move forward together and stand up against prejudice and paranoia. And prove, again, that America is great because America is good!

Thank you all…

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7 Comments

  1. Anonymous

     /  August 25, 2016

    A great contrasting speech! Wake up America! Vote democrat!!

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. ansonburlingame

     /  August 29, 2016

    OK, Duane,

    Hillary said (above) “Ask yourself: If he doesn’t respect respect all Americans, how can he serve all Americans!”. As I have noted before, Hillary has also indicated that her greatest enemy is “Republicans”. So how exactly will Hillary propose to lead nearly half of the American people, conservatives?

    There is very little doubt in my mind that Hillary will become our next elected President. My question however is how in the hell she will govern the whole country. Her “enemies” must agree to pass the laws she proposes, or she must sign laws passed, democratically, constructed by her “enemies”.

    Just in domestic matters, the next President must find a way for the SF 49’s QB (whose name I cannot spell and too lazy to look it up) to agree to stand for the national anthem and do so in a manner that will not cause some redneck, white player to then sit it out as well. How does a leader find a way to compromise between Black Lives Matter and Trump supporters?

    Take that example one step further. How does the next President act such that Duane and Anson can agree with him or her?

    Your solution is one party power. I shutter to think what might happen in America and around the world if EITHER party gains real dominance, a majority in the House, a 60 vote majority in the Senate and the WH. We got a glimpse of such one-sided federal power from 2008 – 2010 and that gave birth to ……. Now we have an even more dangerous situation with Black Lives Matter vs. “alt-right”.

    Anson

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    • Anonymous

       /  August 29, 2016

      Anson,

      Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t stand for the national anthem or say the pledge of allegiance. All are still recognized as honorable Americans. Kaepernick was making a statement, perhaps you should try to understand his percpeption. He was raised by white parents, that’s where he learned his uppitiness.

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    • Anson,

      1. Hillary’s comments about Republicans being her enemy was obviously directed at her political opponents in Congress, etc. It wasn’t directed at rank and file Republicans. Come on.

      2. I can’t agree that there is “very little doubt” that Hillary will win. I have lots and lots of doubts, even though the polls show her with the lead. I have watched media coverage of this race very closely and it is almost all utter bullshit, with a few exceptions. He is literally getting away with all kinds of things (very little talk, say, about is ties to a felonious drug dealer or his utterly poor business record) while the media focuses like a laser on her over-hyped email and foundation “scandals.”

      3. I don’t hold much hope that even if she does win that Republicans will work with her (should they retain control of at least one house). Why? Because they will blame the loss on Trump and then attempt to discredit her victory. That’s the way they work these days. No Democratic president is legitimate. This will expecially be true if, as is likely, she gets less than 50% of the popular vote. So, you should be asking your Republican friends if they will work with HER, if she wins.

      4. The quarterback can stand or not stand. It is his choice under the Constitution that governs the country, which the flag and anthem is supposed to symbolize and celebrate. If some fucked up rednecks can’t abide the freedoms in the Bill of Rights, fuck them. There is no way Hillary Clinton is responsible for mediating a fight between ignorant rednecks and people exercising their constitutional rights.

      5. As far as the next president acting in such a way that you and I might agree, that ain’t going to happen so much. Mainly because of (3) above, but also because you and I have a different vision of the role of government. However, I can see a possibility that Clinton can govern in such a way that both of us will be unhappy with the outcome. Compromises, which is the only way the logjam can be fixed, doesn’t make anyone “happy.” But at least we will be getting something done, even if it isn’t exactly what each of us might want.

      6. Me thinks, you worry too much about Black Lives Matter versus the white nationalists and supremacists. Most people, white and black, are more interested in their economic futures than in anything else. And besides that, BLM has absolutely legitimate concerns about policing, etc. The white supremacists have no legitimate gripe. They are just pissed because their special cultural privileges are going away. And none of that has anything to do with “one party power.” We need to face something: our system of government is flawed. The rise of the Tea Party in 2009, culminating in that brutal 2010 election, has revealed just how flawed it is. No one can effectively/efficiently govern the country the way things are now and the Founders, bless their hearts, gave us a system designed to do just what it is doing: thwarting the will of the demos, of the “people.” They distrusted democracy and created a system where the people cannot rule themselves decisively. (I bet you that, again, nationwide Democrats get more votes in Congressional races but do not control a proportional number of legislative seats.)

      Duane

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  3. ansonburlingame

     /  August 30, 2016

    Anonymous,

    The Navy posted a series of ads, nationally, with a video of a carrier battle group steaming across on ocean with the label “Always On Watch”. That ad was paid with tax dollars, I assume. How about the Army ad campaign of old with the slogan “Be All You Can Be”. Is that a waste of tax dollars?

    Should we stop playing the national anthem at sports events, the Olympics? Was it acceptable when the black Olympic athlete raised the black power fist in the 1972 Olympics?

    When does political protest cross the line of symbolic demonstrations of national unity?

    United We Stand, Divided We Fall. Does that still ring true for America? Instead of removing one’s hat (males only) and placing one’s hand over their heart, why not all of us just raise our right hand with “the finger” held high to show how much we disagree, instead.

    More to the point however, why do YOU post comments anonymously. Are you afraid of retribution for speaking freely.

    Anson

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  4. Anonymous

     /  August 30, 2016

    Anson,

    I think the Defense Department spending $6.8 million tax dollars advertising at a sporting event is pissing away taxpayer money. The military greets students in high school and college for recruitment, do we need to piss away more money on “paid patriotism”?

    I could give a damn if the national anthem is played at sporting events, or military jets fly overhead pre-game. I have no problem with black athletes raising their fists for black power at the Olympics or any other event. Racism is still prevalent.

    Are you even aware of how the practice of saluting the flag came to be. According to the Smithsonian, it occurred because people didn’t want to look like the Nazis. Are the 8 million Jehovah’s Witnessess that refuse to salute not “true” Americans? Flip the bird to the flag if you wish, I will not chastise you, it’s only a symbol.

    I post anonymously because Duane allows it. Does my opinion have higher value because there is a name attached to it? I do not fear retribution, I fear the cowardly acts taken against my children or family, because of my opinion. Just as we know your wife hates you giving public opinion that causes her grief.

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