Sanders vs. Clinton: Hard Hitting Final Pitches to Iowa Voters
The hope of the campaign trail and the pragmatism of governing clashed at an Iowa town hall meeting Monday night, as both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton each said that they had the better judgment and experience to be the 2016 Democratic nominee and nation’s next president.
It was an impressive display of two strong candidates, who, despite sharing many goals such as lessening the many forms of inequality afflicting the country, are offering decidedly different paths to achieve them. Sanders called for a political and economic revolution, where the money to meet many of America’s needs would come from confronting the wealthiest interests and using the full force of federal government to redistribute that money to benefit middle and working classes.
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton battle in Iowa ahead of next week's state caucus https://t.co/xVFAnajXCQ https://t.co/zCi8PgWvAJ— Financial Times (@Financial Times)1453812904.0
Clinton, for her part, emphasized that she wanted to continue the progress made under President Obama—from the Affordable Care Act at home to resurrecting a diplomacy-centered foreign policy abroad. She poignantly said that she has been fighting all forms of inequality for decades, starting with her work as young lawyer representing jailed youths to her efforts as Secretary of State championing women’s and LGBT rights.
She said Democrats are starting to realize that “the stakes in the election are really high” and that they cannot let the GOP “rip away the progress” of the Obama years. When asked by college students why she hasn’t earned their trust and affection like Sanders, Clinton replied that she sees plenty of young people working on her campaign and she simply keeps going and ignores the naysayers, because, she said that’s what she has learned to do in decades on the public stage.
“I have been on the front lines of change and progress since I was your age … I have taken on the status quo time and time again,” she said to a student before turning philosophical. “You have to keep going. Don’t get discouraged. It’s not easy.” Clinton said being president is the hardest job in the world and “you have to have a proven fighter, someone who has taken them [all the adversaries] on.”
But Sanders, in his 40 minute segment in the town hall, brushed away Clinton’s critique of his call for a political and economic revolution by reassuring Iowa voters that his career was filled with pivotal moments that showed he had the better judgment and experience to be president. In short, Sanders said that when he faced the same tough calls as Clinton, that he made the correct decision—as proven by the events that followed—and she did not.
Sanders said that he voted against the war in Iraq, while she voted for it. He said that he opposed deregulating Wall Street financial institutions before the activity that led to the global recession in 2008, while she did not. On climate change, he said that he did not hesitate to oppose the Keystone XL and other pipelines, while she dithered. And he opposed international trade agreements that cost American jobs, while she hasn’t.
“Yeah, I do think I have the background and the judgment to take on this very difficult job of being president of the United States of America,” Sanders said, responding to the CNN moderator who played a Clinton ad that said she was “prepared like no other.”
When CNN’s moderator played a Sanders ad for Clinton to respond to—the one with faces of Americans and a soundtrack of the Simon and Garfunkel song America, she replied, “I think that’s great. I loved it.” But Clinton continued, “You campaign in poetry and govern in prose. I love the feeling, I love the energy [of Bernie’s supporters] … But I believe that I am the better person to be the democratic nominee and president of the country.”
She then told everyone in the room that all of them would be needed to defeat the Republicans in the fall.
Making Their Closing Arguments
The town hall meeting at Drake University was the last major forum for the candidates seeking the Democratic nomination before Iowa’s 2016 caucuses on Monday. The format was a moderated discussion, where the candidates made opening and closing statements and answered audience questions pre-screened by CNN. A third segment featured former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who trails in the single digits in polls, compared to a virtual tie between Sanders and Clinton.
Sanders used the forum to sum up his campaign thus far by striking hopeful but serious notes. He said that he was surprised that his message of ending economic inequality and promoting better social safety nets has “resonated much faster (and) much farther than I thought it would.” He said that the response to his talk about confronting inequality, the rigged economy and other injustices showed that “establishment politics are just not good enough. We need bold changes. We need a political revolution.”
When asked what he meant by socialism, he said that “democratic socialism” means that people have economic rights. He gave an example from an earlier town hall meeting held Monday, where a woman stood up and cried, saying that she could not make it living on $10,000 a year. Sanders said “something was wrong” when millions of seniors faced that very situation, when the obvious solution was expanding Social Security by raising what Americans pay in payroll taxes—now only the first $118,000 in income is taxed.
Sanders also defended his Medicare-for-all health care proposal, when asked by a nurse how he could be promoting that idea when the federal healthcare program for seniors was filled with problems—like patients of hers who could not afford medicine they need. He replied that no program was perfect, but said that under his proposal—that takes private insurers out of the health care system—people would pay far less in out-of-pocket costs. He also said drug companies, which made $45 billion in profits last year, would have to be reeled in. The CNN moderator pressed Sanders, saying that he was calling for a giant tax hike. “We will raise taxes, yes we will,” Sanders said. “But also let us be clear … we are also going to to eliminate private health insurance premiums for individuals and for businesses.”
Democrats woo Iowa’s remaining undecided ahead of the Iowa caucuses. #DemTownHall https://t.co/FwpRdNZi1y https://t.co/F5tWK8LPRR— ABC News (@ABC News)1453819078.0
Sanders was also asked about how he would pay for other proposals. He replied that a tax on Wall Street speculation—high-volume stock trades that profit from market volatility—would more than pay for making undergraduate education free and for lowering student loan interest rates. He said he would pay for a $100 billion national infrastructure project, creating 13 million jobs, by banning the current corporate practice of keeping profits in offshore tax havens. When the moderator accused him of punishing people who’ve been successful in business, Sanders replied, “If that's the criticism, I accept it … I demand that Wall Street pay its fair share of taxes.”
Sanders also replied to criticism by the Clinton campaign and abortion rights groups that he was not sufficiently pro-choice, because he said the leadership of Planned Parenthood was out of synch with its rank and file. He said that comment in a TV interview was not well-said, because he meant to point out that he has long had a 100 percent pro-choice voting record and women across America who care about reproductive rights know it. Sanders said that “of course” he understood that having a woman as president would be historic, but he said that his efforts to fight for economic equality would likely help women more than men, especially women of color, because of historic disparities.
During Clinton’s 40-minute segment, she emphasized that she, too, has been a lifelong fighter against various forms of inequality, saying, “I have a 40-year record of going after inequality: sexist inequality, racist inequality.” As a young lawyer, she said that she tried to help young people who were imprisoned and “went after” private schools in the south that tried to remain racially segregated. Clinton said that she did not focus “just narrowly” on economic inequality and her record was “not talk” but “action.”
But her most surprising remarks concerned the use of military force abroad. Unlike 2008, when she ran ads featuring a red phone ringing at 3 a.m. in the White House and saying that she was prepared to be the military commander in chief, she told the Iowa town hall that she saw herself as having a “non-interventionist” philosophy of using military force abroad. “You do your very best to avoid military action,” she said, saying it was “the last resort, not first choice” and she was committed to “slow, boring, hard” diplomacy.
Clinton then shared some anecdotes from inside the Obama White House. After she took office as secretary of state, she said that she and the president discovered that Iran was well on their way to making nuclear weapons—despite all the Bush administration’s bluster. She said that she ignored pressure from Israel to bomb the Iranians and instead embarked on a “new strategy” that came to fruition with Secretary of State John Kerry finalizing a nuclear disarmament deal. Clinton said that she spent 18 months putting an international coalition together to impose economic sanctions on Iran, another year to get allies to implement the sanctions and then 18 months starting the disarmament talks.
“You cannot imagine how tense it was, because a lot of our friends and partners in the region just wanted to end the [Iranian] program by bombing,” she said, offering that as an example of the “success of diplomacy.” She also said that her shuttle diplomacy between Israel and Egypt prevented an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza in 2011. “I want to stay as close as possible to non-intervention,” she said. “Special forces, yes. Air forces, yes. No ground troops.”
When pressed by CNN’s moderator to respond to Sanders’ critique that she botched key votes on going to war with Iraq, on Wall Street, on trade and climate change, she quickly dismissed the criticism. “I have a much longer history than one vote [on Iraq], which I said was a mistake,” she said. “I think the American public has seen me exercising judgment in other ways … There is no time in human history where everything is going well. We now live in an interconnected world where everyone knows what is going on … We have to be constructive.”
Clinton ended her remarks by telling the audience that her favorite president was not her husband, Bill Clinton, nor her friend, Barack Obama, but Abraham Lincoln. “When I think about his challenges, I think they pale next to anything we can imagine,” she said. “He kept his eye on the future while summoning better angles of our nature.”
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By Eric Tate and Christopher Emrich
Disasters stemming from hazards like floods, wildfires, and disease often garner attention because of their extreme conditions and heavy societal impacts. Although the nature of the damage may vary, major disasters are alike in that socially vulnerable populations often experience the worst repercussions. For example, we saw this following Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey, each of which generated widespread physical damage and outsized impacts to low-income and minority survivors.
Mapping Social Vulnerability<p>Figure 1a is a typical map of social vulnerability across the United States at the census tract level based on the Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI) algorithm of <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1540-6237.8402002" target="_blank"><em>Cutter et al.</em></a> . Spatial representation of the index depicts high social vulnerability regionally in the Southwest, upper Great Plains, eastern Oklahoma, southern Texas, and southern Appalachia, among other places. With such a map, users can focus attention on select places and identify population characteristics associated with elevated vulnerabilities.</p>
Fig. 1. (a) Social vulnerability across the United States at the census tract scale is mapped here following the Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI). Red and pink hues indicate high social vulnerability. (b) This bivariate map depicts social vulnerability (blue hues) and annualized per capita hazard losses (pink hues) for U.S. counties from 2010 to 2019.<p>Many current indexes in the United States and abroad are direct or conceptual offshoots of SoVI, which has been widely replicated [e.g., <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13753-016-0090-9" target="_blank"><em>de Loyola Hummell et al.</em></a>, 2016]. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) <a href="https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/placeandhealth/svi/index.html" target="_blank">has also developed</a> a commonly used social vulnerability index intended to help local officials identify communities that may need support before, during, and after disasters.</p><p>The first modeling and mapping efforts, starting around the mid-2000s, largely focused on describing spatial distributions of social vulnerability at varying geographic scales. Over time, research in this area came to emphasize spatial comparisons between social vulnerability and physical hazards [<a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-009-9376-1" target="_blank"><em>Wood et al.</em></a>, 2010], modeling population dynamics following disasters [<a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11111-008-0072-y" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Myers et al.</em></a>, 2008], and quantifying the robustness of social vulnerability measures [<a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-012-0152-2" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Tate</em></a>, 2012].</p><p>More recent work is beginning to dissolve barriers between social vulnerability and environmental justice scholarship [<a href="https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2018.304846" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Chakraborty et al.</em></a>, 2019], which has traditionally focused on root causes of exposure to pollution hazards. Another prominent new research direction involves deeper interrogation of social vulnerability drivers in specific hazard contexts and disaster phases (e.g., before, during, after). Such work has revealed that interactions among drivers are important, but existing case studies are ill suited to guiding development of new indicators [<a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2015.09.013" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Rufat et al.</em></a>, 2015].</p><p>Advances in geostatistical analyses have enabled researchers to characterize interactions more accurately among social vulnerability and hazard outcomes. Figure 1b depicts social vulnerability and annualized per capita hazard losses for U.S. counties from 2010 to 2019, facilitating visualization of the spatial coincidence of pre‑event susceptibilities and hazard impacts. Places ranked high in both dimensions may be priority locations for management interventions. Further, such analysis provides invaluable comparisons between places as well as information summarizing state and regional conditions.</p><p>In Figure 2, we take the analysis of interactions a step further, dividing counties into two categories: those experiencing annual per capita losses above or below the national average from 2010 to 2019. The differences among individual race, ethnicity, and poverty variables between the two county groups are small. But expressing race together with poverty (poverty attenuated by race) produces quite different results: Counties with high hazard losses have higher percentages of both impoverished Black populations and impoverished white populations than counties with low hazard losses. These county differences are most pronounced for impoverished Black populations.</p>
Fig. 2. Differences in population percentages between counties experiencing annual per capita losses above or below the national average from 2010 to 2019 for individual and compound social vulnerability indicators (race and poverty).<p>Our current work focuses on social vulnerability to floods using geostatistical modeling and mapping. The research directions are twofold. The first is to develop hazard-specific indicators of social vulnerability to aid in mitigation planning [<a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-020-04470-2" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Tate et al.</em></a>, 2021]. Because natural hazards differ in their innate characteristics (e.g., rate of onset, spatial extent), causal processes (e.g., urbanization, meteorology), and programmatic responses by government, manifestations of social vulnerability vary across hazards.</p><p>The second is to assess the degree to which socially vulnerable populations benefit from the leading disaster recovery programs [<a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/17477891.2019.1675578" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Emrich et al.</em></a>, 2020], such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) <a href="https://www.fema.gov/individual-disaster-assistance" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Individual Assistance</a> program and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) <a href="https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/cdbg-dr/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Disaster Recovery</a> program. Both research directions posit social vulnerability indicators as potential measures of social equity.</p>
Social Vulnerability as a Measure of Equity<p>Given their focus on social marginalization and economic barriers, social vulnerability indicators are attracting growing scientific interest as measures of inequity resulting from disasters. Indeed, social vulnerability and inequity are related concepts. Social vulnerability research explores the differential susceptibilities and capacities of disaster-affected populations, whereas social equity analyses tend to focus on population disparities in the allocation of resources for hazard mitigation and disaster recovery. Interventions with an equity focus emphasize full and equal resource access for all people with unmet disaster needs.</p><p>Yet newer studies of inequity in disaster programs have documented troubling disparities in income, race, and home ownership among those who <a href="https://eos.org/articles/equity-concerns-raised-in-federal-flood-property-buyouts" target="_blank">participate in flood buyout programs</a>, are <a href="https://www.eenews.net/stories/1063477407" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">eligible for postdisaster loans</a>, receive short-term recovery assistance [<a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2020.102010" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Drakes et al.</em></a>, 2021], and have <a href="https://www.texastribune.org/2020/08/25/texas-natural-disasters--mental-health/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">access to mental health services</a>. For example, a recent analysis of federal flood buyouts found racial privilege to be infused at multiple program stages and geographic scales, resulting in resources that disproportionately benefit whiter and more urban counties and neighborhoods [<a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/2378023120905439" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Elliott et al.</em></a>, 2020].</p><p>Investments in disaster risk reduction are largely prioritized on the basis of hazard modeling, historical impacts, and economic risk. Social equity, meanwhile, has been far less integrated into the considerations of public agencies for hazard and disaster management. But this situation may be beginning to shift. Following the adage of "what gets measured gets managed," social equity metrics are increasingly being inserted into disaster management.</p><p>At the national level, FEMA has <a href="https://www.fema.gov/news-release/20200220/fema-releases-affordability-framework-national-flood-insurance-program" target="_blank">developed options</a> to increase the affordability of flood insurance [Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2018]. At the subnational scale, Puerto Rico has integrated social vulnerability into its CDBG Mitigation Action Plan, expanding its considerations of risk beyond only economic factors. At the local level, Harris County, Texas, has begun using social vulnerability indicators alongside traditional measures of flood risk to introduce equity into the prioritization of flood mitigation projects [<a href="https://www.hcfcd.org/Portals/62/Resilience/Bond-Program/Prioritization-Framework/final_prioritization-framework-report_20190827.pdf?ver=2019-09-19-092535-743" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Harris County Flood Control District</em></a>, 2019].</p><p>Unfortunately, many existing measures of disaster equity fall short. They may be unidimensional, using single indicators such as income in places where underlying vulnerability processes suggest that a multidimensional measure like racialized poverty (Figure 2) would be more valid. And criteria presumed to be objective and neutral for determining resource allocation, such as economic loss and cost-benefit ratios, prioritize asset value over social equity. For example, following the <a href="http://www.cedar-rapids.org/discover_cedar_rapids/flood_of_2008/2008_flood_facts.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2008 flooding</a> in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, cost-benefit criteria supported new flood protections for the city's central business district on the east side of the Cedar River but not for vulnerable populations and workforce housing on the west side.</p><p>Furthermore, many equity measures are aspatial or ahistorical, even though the roots of marginalization may lie in systemic and spatially explicit processes that originated long ago like redlining and urban renewal. More research is thus needed to understand which measures are most suitable for which social equity analyses.</p>
Challenges for Disaster Equity Analysis<p>Across studies that quantify, map, and analyze social vulnerability to natural hazards, modelers have faced recurrent measurement challenges, many of which also apply in measuring disaster equity (Table 1). The first is clearly establishing the purpose of an equity analysis by defining characteristics such as the end user and intended use, the type of hazard, and the disaster stage (i.e., mitigation, response, or recovery). Analyses using generalized indicators like the CDC Social Vulnerability Index may be appropriate for identifying broad areas of concern, whereas more detailed analyses are ideal for high-stakes decisions about budget allocations and project prioritization.</p>
By Jessica Corbett
Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday was the lone progressive to vote against Tom Vilsack reprising his role as secretary of agriculture, citing concerns that progressive advocacy groups have been raising since even before President Joe Biden officially nominated the former Obama administration appointee.