Hillary Clinton declared Monday that “black lives matter,” using the benefit of time to avoid the bitter responses her Democratic foes faced at a liberal conference over the weekend for their answers on racial justice.
In a Facebook chat, Clinton was asked what she would have said to the protesters had she attended Netroots Nation in Phoenix, Arizona.
“Black lives matter. Everyone in this country should stand firmly behind that,” she said.
With two days to gauge the reaction to former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s on-stage declaration that “all lives matter” – which protesters perceived as a slight to the issues they wanted candidates to address – and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ frustration with the protesters, Clinton took advantage of that hindsight and the more cautious medium.
“We need to acknowledge some hard truths about race and justice in this country, and one of those hard truths is that that racial inequality is not merely a symptom of economic inequality,” Clinton wrote. “Black people across America still experience racism every day.”
Her Facebook comments come a month after Clinton was criticized after saying at a historically black church in Missouri that “all lives matter” – which has been used to push back against use of the phrase “black lives matter.”
She said Monday police officers everywhere should wear body cameras and called for alternatives to jail time for “low-level offenders,” more money for early childhood education and automatic, universal voter registration.
In the question-and-answer session, Clinton revealed clues about her forthcoming Wall Street reform, student debt restructuring and capital gains tax policy proposals. She also offered glimpses of what it’s like to get ready each morning and where she likes to go in Arkansas, and took shots at some of her Republican rivals on immigration.
1. “Short-termism has grown in urgency.”c
Clinton’s campaign is evaluating a proposal to incentivize more long-term investing by raising the capital gains tax, an aide said Monday.
In particular, Clinton is expected to raise the tax rate for the shortest term investments – currently 24% – to above 28%, her aides said. During a 2008 debate, however, Clinton said that she would only raise the rate “above the 20% if I raised it at all. I would not raise it above what it was during the Clinton administration.”
Clinton responded to a CNN question during the chat about the change, stating that “the increase in short-termism has grown in urgency since 2008, and the urgency of our solutions has to match it.”
She pointed to an economic speech at The New School, a university in New York City, last week, during which she decried the short-term thinking of some corporations.
“Later this week, I will be outlining a number of proposals, including capital gains reform, to promote long term investment that will strengthen companies, workers, and communities,” she wrote on Facebook Monday. “Both business leaders and labor leaders have been speaking out about this in recent years.”
President Barack Obama proposed raising the investment tax rate for high-income households in his 2015 State of the Union speech to 28%. Clinton’s aides said she would go higher.
2. “Give people a reason to improve the culture of their firms.”
Asked about how she’d curtail Wall Street misconduct, Clinton offered a few specific policy proposals – noting that Tuesday is the fifth anniversary of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform law, and saying she wants to go further.
She said she would prosecute individuals responsible for fraud and other misdeeds, rather than just taking on their firms. She also called for an increase to whistleblower caps, which are currently limited to $1.6 million or less – far less than the bonuses many Wall Street executives earn.
And she said that when firms are forced to pay fines for wrongdoing, those amounts should come out of the bonus checks that go to their executives.
3. “Amen, sister.”
It wasn’t all serious, as Clinton – whose three decades in the limelight have hardened many Americans’ views of her – sought to show a more human side.
She said she loves Dickson Street in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She said she’s “never met a pantsuit I didn’t love.” And she posted an image of Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon playing Clinton.
She also took a question about how she handles the daily task of getting ready in the morning – which, the questioner said, generally takes women longer than men.
“Amen, sister – you’re preaching to the choir,” Clinton wrote. “It’s a daily challenge. I do the best I can – and as you may have noticed, some days are better than others!”
4. “Good to see you in Arkansas on Saturday.”
One of the biggest takeaways to the chat was the fact Clinton did it at all.
Since leaving the State Department in 2013, Clinton spent most of her time keeping the press – and questions in general – at arm’s length. She did paid events where moderators asked her questions and she almost never spoke with reporters.
Since launching her campaign in April, though, Clinton has slowly grown more to the media. She held her first press conference in New Hampshire last month and conducted her first national interview with CNN earlier this month.
Monday’s Facebook chat, her first as a candidate, is part of that evolution, particularly with the press. Clinton took four questions from reporters on Monday, including one from CNN. While the format is admittedly safe for politicians, the fact she answered questions from reporters is notable.