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Hillary Clinton Can No Longer Play it Safe

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_cropAccording to a recent CNN poll conducted September 1- 4 of this week, Donald Trump is in the lead for the Presidential race. All other recent polls show that Hillary Clinton is in the lead and in some polls leading by a decent margin. However in politics as in sports, apparently most voters and especially the media hates a run-away game. If the game is too close to call, it becomes more exciting. CNN’s poll may be a good thing for Hillary Clinton. It shows Trump’s lead by 2 percentage points- albeit within the margin of error.  Despite the polls, most voters, myself included, are somewhat apathetic to this election.

The apparent reality is most voters, except perhaps the minority of fear mongering Trump folks, appear lethargic by this election cycle. Voter apathy is an understatement. Who the apathy curve will benefit remains to be seen. The media is trying to infuse some excitement in an otherwise dull apathetic election by constantly putting Trump on display and bringing up Clinton’s past issues with the private email server or the Clinton Foundation. Meanwhile Trump is playing by his own racist, narcissistic, misogynistic and xenophobic rules. And Clinton is playing by her own play it safe rules. Clinton unlike Trump tries to remain out of the media’s way for likely possible fear that the media will badly misquote her or do even worse harm to her election chances.

 

An election win for Trump is a scary proposition, one that could become true. November in political days is still a long way away. But what is even scarier is Hillary Clinton playing by her own old rules. Avoiding the media by refusing to give press conferences and answer questions in over 275 days and counting.

 

In politics, as in sports, one does not usually end up winning by playing it safe. In my sport of choice, football, the Super Bowl is not won by the team that plays it safe. It is usually won by the team that goes all out and plays to win at all costs and against all odds. Hillary is playing –not to lose. And there is a difference as many sports aficionados know. The one who plays it safe in a championship game is often the one who loses the game.

Hillary Clinton needs to step up her game. Unfortunately, the stakes are way too high for the country for Clinton to play it safe or by the old Clinton set of rules. Staying away from the media while Trump bombards the airwaves with mostly false propaganda is not being safe. It’s running scared. Whether one calls it running scared or playing it safe, Clinton must change her strategy.

My advice to Hillary Clinton and her team is that she must change. All this talk about change for the country and the one person who seems adverse to any change is Hillary Clinton. If Clinton is going to change, the time is now.  The best sports team as judged by sports analysts does not always win. It is not enough to be the best team or candidate. Hillary Clinton needs to be winning candidate in November.

I suggest that Hillary Clinton bring her “A” game in the remaining days. A “B” game is not good enough. The stakes for our country are way too high for Hillary Clinton to continue to play it safe.

Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a trial lawyer, legal and political analyst and former prosecutor. She often appears on Al Jazeera, BET, CBS, C-Span, PBS, Fox 5 DC, MSNBC among others. Her writings appear in the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun and Huffington Post.

Gun Violence, Gun Control and Gutless GOP Politicians

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Gun

A week following the Orlando Pulse nightclub mass shooting and killing of 49 persons, it’s business as usual for many of our GOP politicians. Despite four Senate bills advanced by both parties, no gun control law passed this week. A homegrown terrorist living in the U.S. may still buy an assault weapon and hundreds of cartridges to kill innocent Americans. And many of our Republican lawmakers lack the guts to pass any common sense laws to protect innocent lives from being taken at the hands of a mentally ill or homegrown terrorist. Inaction means more lives will be taken.

The bills voted down on Monday ranged from the tepid GOP bill to ban potential terrorists from buying a gun but here’s the caveat—only if, a judge found probable cause to determine the person is actually involved in terrorist activity. Of course, by then, the alleged terrorist would have sufficient time to buy guns and take multiple lives. Our lawmakers couldn’t even agree to bar persons already suspected of terrorist activities or on the “no fly” list from buying guns. Of course, the bill to ban assault weapons failed.

The context of guns and gun violence is deeply embedded in our country’s DNA. Mass killings by guns didn’t just start in the 21st century. Our country was founded on gun violence, beginning with the American Revolution. And although the National Rifle Association (“NRA”) bears a lot of responsibility for our present day gun control failures, the NRA is not wholly to blame. A great share of the blame goes to the NRA and GOP politicians’ reluctance to make any meaningful reforms. The NRA is in the back pockets of many politicians who might vote on gun control. And despite the fact that politicians should represent their constituents’ interests, many politicians represent their own self-interest in staying in office albeit with the help of the NRA. And so now we live in a country where no one is immune from mass gun killings whether in churches, elementary schools, colleges and universities, airports, clubs and bars, movie theaters, shopping malls and everywhere people congregate.

 

Senator Chris Murphy (D. CT) stated he intends to bring the attention of those GOP lawmakers who lack the guts to protect Americans to the public’s attention. While most Americans support common sense gun control measures, many Americans continue to vote for those same politicians who refuse to pass gun control legislation. While Senator’s Murphy stance is commendable, it will not bring reform. Ditto for the House sit-in staged on June 22 by House Democrats organized by Representative John Lewis (D. GA).

The power to change the gun control debacle lays within the same activist groups that were responsible for the passage of gay rights and civil rights legislation. It will take a grass roots effort. We can no longer rely on many of our gutless GOP and some Democrat politicians to protect us. The Human Rights Campaign (“HRC”) announced that it will become active in the gun control battle as many in the LGBT community are overwhelmingly affected by gun violence. It is the first time the HRC has taken a stance on an issue such as gun control. There are many gun control activist organizations. They must align with other major campaigns such as civil rights organizations, LGBTQ community activists, women’s rights activists, Black Lives Matter activists and many other activists who care about protecting human life.

The gun control issue can no longer be left to our politicians, particularly our GOP leaders, to lead the country in the right direction. They have failed us miserably. Our lawmakers mourn the loss of life taken by mass gun violence until the next one occurs. Then they refuse to pass laws to help prevent mass gun violence.

Common sense tells us that doing nothing will result in more mass killings. And the blood will be on our gutless GOP politicians’ hands. I urge all activist groups to take an active stand in support of gun control measures. If we keep doing the same thing, we will get the same results-the loss of more innocent lives.

 

2171_48010694635_9179_n[1]Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is trial lawyer, legal analyst and former prosecutor. She is also a gun laws expert and supporter of gun control.

 

 

Scalia’s Vacancy Brings Out GOP Rage

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

supcourt_buildingJustice Scalia’s death resulting in a vacancy to the Supreme Court brings out Republicans’ disregard for the U.S. Constitution.   In a letter that totally makes their position clear, the Senate Judiciary Republicans say they will not even meet to discuss President Obama’s eventual nominee to the Supreme Court—let alone hold a hearing or a vote on the nominee.  The position is despite the fact the U.S. Constitution makes clear that upon a vacancy to the high court, the President shall nominate with the advice and consent of the Senate.  The position is despite the fact there is almost eleven months until the next president will be sworn in.  This position is despite the fact there is no precedent for coming to their decision.

 

Republicans are now making up the rules as they go along—except this is not a game.  It makes a mockery of the U.S. Constitution and our laws.  And the only reason is to ensure the balance of the court does not change hands.  The Supreme Court is now divided and split 4-4 with Justices Sotomayer, Bader Ginsburg, Kagan and Breyer voting on the liberal wing and the remaining four usually voting on the conservative side of rulings.  With a split in decisions, the U.S. Supreme court will be at a stall-mate—possibly for over the next year.

 

Cases that have already been heard may end in a tie. This means the case decision from the lower court would stand. In some instances, that will bode well for liberals as in the case of redistricting. In other instances, it may mean the Texas abortion law will stand and all clinics will close.  In other instances, it may mean that cases will be reargued at the Court’s discretion.  And it will undeniably mean justice delayed might be justice denied. None of that matters to the Republicans.

 

Since the 2008 election and day one of his presidency, the sole goal of the GOP has been to make President Obama a lame duck president.  And despite their efforts, President Obama has always acted with grace under fire—making accomplishments for the American people.  And so, this time will be no different.

 

I predict that despite the efforts of the GOP, a nominee will ultimately be confirmed.  And no matter what happens, it will be a win-win for President Obama and the Democrats.  For starters,  “Democracy Awakening” protests are planned on the Nation’s Capitol  for three days—April 16-18.  The rally consists of a Rally for Democracy with protests, a “Congress of Conscience” sit-in, advocacy at the U.S. Capitol and teach-ins.  So far, attendees are coming from twelve states to call for the vacancy to be filled—as well as other measures such as curbing money in politics.

 

The rally’s attention will help to underscore the importance of the Supreme Court.  Until now, the average voter may not realize the importance of the Supreme Court.  And it just may give enough attention to many of the State Senate and Congressional races on ballots this year. There are five Senate seats necessary for the Democrats to win back and control the Senate in 2017.  The  GOP actions in stalling and attempting to subterfuge the President’s constitutional rights may result in backfiring on them.

 

No matter what the future holds, eleven months is a long time.  And I would bet that President Obama has something up his sleeves to get his nominee appointed with or without the Republians.

 

Washington, DC based Debbie Hines, a trial lawyer and former prosecutor, is admitted to the Supreme Court.