In the April 14 debate, Senator Bernie Sanders sparred with Hillary Clinton on the fight for 15. Clinton, repeatedly tried to obscure the fact that she is a proponent of a lower federal minimum wage when, clearly, there is ample video evidence and even her own website touts her support for $12, and not $15 and hour. This has been her position since the start of the 2016 primary. When you add in the caveats she carefully put forth in each of her April 14 CNN debate answers, the only interpretation is that she will only push for a $12 an hour federal wage.
Here is the back and forth on this with Sanders in Thursday’s debate:
Wolf Blitzer did a great job framing his question to Secretary Clinton. Bernie Sanders did a fantastic job insisting on getting the truth out of her. The audience would have none of the bobbing and weaving, booing her for an answer it knew was disingenuous. Clearly, once you deduct Clinton’s bobbing and weaving on her answer, what we are left with is that she defers to states’ rights, and individual states, to either match or exceed the $12 an hour federal minimum that she supports. As Southerners know all too well, states’ rights means not getting what everyone else gets. Obamacare is a prime example of that. How many state delegations, in a Democratic Congress, will push for $15 if she doesn’t demand it? After all, don’t we have the recent experience with the ACA where the public option was removed from the equation? Who lost out thanks to that? This deception wasn’t lost on Sanders who stood right next to Clinton and just could not wait to get his turn and, this time, insisted on getting a straight answer out of her.
On Sunday’s This Week, however, her husband’s old press secretary trotted out the video from the first debate, in which she clearly not only backed $12 an hour, but said she thought $15 would cost jobs. Stephanopoulos even quoted her after showing a video clip. Undeterred, Clinton doubled down on her doublespeak from last week’s debate and then extended the white lie further by proclaiming that the unions involved in the fight for 15 have endorsed her:
“Um, you know, he knows very well that I have been supporting the fight for 15, that the whole movement behind fight for 15 that is really fueled by unions and activists, have actually endorsed me.”
Well, not exactly. As explained in this Intercept piece, only those unions that have allowed their membership to vote have endorsed Sanders. A significant number of unions did not put endorsements up for a vote, however.
Now, to Sunday’s interview with George Stephanopoulos:
Clinton was clearly on a mission to do damage control in this interview. Yes, both she and Sanders support a higher minimum wage than $7.25 an hour. No, Clinton doesn’t quite support a $15 an hour federal wage for the entire nation and the implication of her position is that she is willing to leave red states, the bulk of her firewall, behind on a living wage.
This tack is consistent with other policies she supports and promotes. On healthcare, Clinton has reneged on her pioneering work of the 1990s to implement single payer health and now only supports the ACA. But, as with the minimum wage, the ACA will only be available to those whose states adopt it, keeping out those who live in renegade red states.
The same is true on education, with Clinton’s longstanding support of block grants, rather than direct federal aid to the most disadvantaged areas. This kind of policy approach, especially since the 1990’s, has ended up hurting the most vulnerable populations in segregated areas, as funds invariably end up being used in more affluent, white-only areas, rather than those that desperately need it. That is how cities like Baltimore, St. Louis, Detroit, and many others have ended up with poverty levels that only rival third world cities, rather than other poor US cities.
That’s no way to thank one’s firewall for its deep and abiding loyalty and a job well-done…
Bernie Sanders appeared on ABC’s This week after Hillary Clinton: