Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed an NAACP audience in Detroit Sunday night and sounded like she was running as the next African-American president.
Employing a full embrace of President Barack Obama’s agenda, she targeted Donald Trump and attempted to strike fear into the hearts of the attendees at the Fight for Freedom Fund dinner by proclaiming: “We cannot let Barack Obama’s legacy fall into Donald Trump’s hands.”
That one-liner was greeted by a standing ovation by the thousands of supporters. She also blew plenty of racial dog whistles by raising Trump’s interest in the “insidious birther movement” and his recent refusal to repeatedly disavow David Duke every time a reporter demanded he do so.
According to the Washington Post, Clinton continued her direct appeal to the NAACP audience by suggesting she was the only candidate who truly understood “systemic racism” in America:
“Imagine if white kids were 50 percent more likely to die from asthma than white kids,” she said. “Imagine if a white baby in parts of this country was twice as likely to die before her first birthday than a black baby. Imagine the country and resources that would flood in to save those children. These inequities are wrong, they’re immoral, they’re un-American, and they have to end.”
Clinton promised to ease prison sentencing reforms, student loan debt and work on gun control.
“I want you to know that I get it and I see it. And it’s important that we have this conversation. For many white Americans, it’s tempting to believe that systemic racism is largely behind us. But anyone asking for your vote has a responsibility to see things as they actually are, not as we wish them to be.”
This is clearly a concerted attempt to revers recent headlines that made Hillary Clinton appear to be on the wrong side of American black activists. Over the course of the last several months, the Clinton campaign has gotten along with the #BlackLivesMatter movement about as harmoniously as Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan these days:
The fact is, if Clinton can’t secure the same level of energy and commitment from African-American voters as Obama did in 2008 and 2012, she’s going to have a real challenge locking up some of the swing states like Ohio and Florida that she needs to win the White House. That’s why we’re seeing Clinton bend over backwards to accommodate black activists as she heads toward the general election.
It’s ironic that Clinton is waxing poetic about the Obama legacy considering eight years ago she was fighting tooth and nail to block Obama’s path to the presidency. If Clinton had had her way back in 2008, there wouldn’t have been an Obama legacy.
But now, she needs to run on the notion of “four more years” and she needs to cast terror in the minds of black voters that a Republican president would undo whatever they think Obama has achieved.
Given the rhetoric and pandering we are already seeing, you’d think Hillary was running not to be the country’s first woman president, but to be the second black president. Or is that the third black president?