I couldn’t care less, but I’m happy to amplify liberal hand-wringing here in the interest of making her squirm.
It is downright bizarre that Hillary Clinton hasn't at least issued a statement on Mike Brown.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) August 26, 2014
Via the Free Beacon, you’ll see Marc Lamont Hill make the same point below. What they want or expect her to say, I don’t know. Any half-decent PR spokesman could write a perfunctory politic statement about Ferguson: It’s a terrible tragedy, we must be cautious and wait for the facts, a robust investigation is needed, we pray for the family. Maybe, if she’s feeling daring, she’ll throw something in there about PDs examining their procedures to make sure they’re not using double standards against minority citizens. Hayes and Hill and other lefties all know that’s as much as they’re going to get, so why bother asking for it? The point, I guess, is to make her show that she cares enough about the shooting to suffer a few hours’ worth of agita from critics who’ll inevitably pick apart her statement after she puts it out. Or, possibly, this is just a trap in which progressives themselves will pick apart her statement to prove that she’s not progressive enough and therefore Elizabeth! is the only solution. They’re concern-trolling her, basically. If she says the politic thing, no one will care. If she says something bolder, she’ll be beat up for it. She’s in the same position, in some ways, as Obama himself is.
But it’s perfectly obvious why she, among other Democrats, is keeping her mouth shut. Josh Barro:
You can start with the fact that blacks and whites tend to view the situation in Ferguson very differently. According to a poll conducted this month by the Pew Research Center, 80 percent of black respondents say the shooting “raises important issues about race,” but just 37 percent of whites do. Whites are much more likely than blacks to have confidence in the police investigation. A New York Times/CBS poll on Ferguson released Thursday finds a similar divide.
Democrats win elections by building coalitions of white and nonwhite voters, and for decades, Democrats have used “tough on crime” stances as a way to build support with whites. The Missouri governor, Jay Nixon, spent 16 years as his state’s attorney general as a strong proponent of capital punishment.
Democrats have bad memories of the Willie Horton ad and other Republican campaign messages that used “law and order” issues to consolidate white voters. So faced with a policy issue that places a crowd of angry black people on one side and the police on the other, it’s not surprising that Democratic politicians would be wary of siding with the crowd.
Not only is there a sharp black/white divide on Ferguson but, per YouGov, it got wider as the protests wore on. Hillary’s dilemma is that if she puts out a statement that seems to side with the protesters, she risks alienating some whites. If she doesn’t put out a statement, she risks alienating some blacks. I think she’s calculated, rationally, that it would be worse to alienate the former than the latter for the simple reason that the latter, as dependable Democratic voters, will turn out and vote for her anyway in 2016. They may not turn out in numbers as high as they did for O, and they may not vote for her in quite as lopsided a manner as they did for him, but she’ll have plenty of surrogates, including Obama himself, to help goose turnout among blacks when the time comes. The special appeal of the Clintons to Democratic power brokers is that they can play with whites, especially working-class whites, nationally in ways that few other Democrats can. Hillary shifted emphatically to a strategy aimed at whites near the end of her 2008 campaign against Obama, and it paid off. If Democrats are destined to see a falloff in black turnout in 2016, then they need someone who can make up the difference by pulling votes from demographics that are more competitive. That means whites, and that means Hillary is going to lie low on Ferguson — especially since no one knows what’ll happen if Darren Wilson isn’t charged or is acquitted at trial. If she says something now that’s foursquare on the side of Wilson’s critics and then they riot, she’ll pay for it in 2016. I think she’ll have no choice ultimately but to cave and issue something pro forma, just to appease progressives like Hayes and Hill, but otherwise she’s staying far, far away from Ferguson. Wisely.