I called it. I said Hillary Clinton was going to wear a blue pantsuit. Blue is very fitting for a Democrat (it’s the “unofficial” party color), and she already had a lot of symbolism in her speech because of its location, Four Freedoms Park at Roosevelt Island. With Bernie Sanders finally being seen as a serious contender against Clinton, now more than ever was the time for her to lay out her progressive agenda.
Saturday’s official launch showed America a more progressive look into Clinton’s vision of America, a vision that is indeed very progressive. Echoing the words of Franklin Roosevelt, Clinton said the mission for her candidacy is to give “Equality of opportunity… Jobs for those who can work… Security for those who need it… The ending of special privilege for the few… The preservation of civil liberties for all… a wider and constantly rising standard of living.”
Saying she was excited “to be in a place with absolutely no ceilings,” Clinton tackled a multitude of Democratic ideas, from paid sick/family leave, same-sex marriage, higher taxes for the rich to immigration reform.
She also paid a rousing tribute to President Obama, saying “When President Obama honored the bargain, we pulled back from the brink of Depression, saved the auto industry, provided health care to 16 million working people, and replaced the jobs we lost faster than after a financial crash.”
A major theme for the speech centered on promoting the rights for working families. Clinton talked in detailed length about her plan to bring paid sick, family and maternity lave to millions of Americans. Employees, Clinton contended, should not have to pick between getting a paycheck and raising a child:
“I believe we should offer paid family leave so no one has to choose between keeping a paycheck and caring for a new baby or a sick relative…This isn’t a women’s issue. It’s a family issue. Just like raising the minimum wage is a family issue. Expanding childcare is a family issue. Declining marriage rates is a family issue. The unequal rates of incarceration is a family issue. Helping more people with an addiction or a mental health problem get help is a family issue.”
Clinton passionately reiterated her commitment to electing anti-Citizens United justices and her support for overturning the Supreme Court, expanding comprehensive immigration reform, and expanding voting abilities:
“I’ll fight back against Republican efforts to disempower and disenfranchise young people, poor people, people with disabilities, and people of color. What part of democracy are they afraid of? No matter how easy we make it to vote, we still have to give Americans something worth voting for.”
As many Americans come to doubt her ability to be a true progressive and reformer, Clinton’s campaign launch seems to be a refresher on why she’s in this race. Her second go-around also showed us a more comfortable, relaxed Hillary Clinton, one that Politico said is “comfortable in her skin.” Some see Clinton as non-relatable, too elitist, or too self conscious. But the Hillary Clinton on the stage last Saturday proved all that wrong. Clinton reminded the voters what’s at stake in this election: it’s either her (as she’s naturally hoping it will be), or the guys who “twice cut taxes for the wealthiest, borrowed money from other countries to pay for two wars, and family incomes dropped. You know where we ended up.”
Clinton says she wants to be the people’s champion. Based on her official campaign launch, that includes just about everyone from children to the elderly to school teachers to retirees. While America still waits to see what her positions are on the TPP and Wall Street, the campaign launch certainly gave us a very intimate look on a broad spectrum of other issues. She still has some catching up to do with Sanders.
Featured image via Ryan Denson