BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Hillary Clinton told a gathering of young Democrats in Lower Manhattan Thursday night that “voter suppression” by the Republicans will be more extreme than ever before in the 2020 presidential election.
An enthusiastic crowd of members of Arena — an organization promoting young progressive candidates to “jump into the arena” and run for office — convened at Convene, at 32 Old Slip, to hear Clinton’s remarks.
The former secretary of state said she was “optimistic” after seeing the work of Arena and similar groups that have launched in the wake of Donald Trump’s winning the presidency. Arena runs a “training academy” to help get people involved in political campaigns.
“But,” Clinton added, “I also have to say I’m also realistic about what we’re up against.”
She noted, to laughter from the crowd, that she had met with “18 or 20 or so of the candidates” running for the Democratic nomination.
“I told them that,” she said, “based on my own experiences, you could not only win the nomination, you could win the popular vote, but not get the job because of all these other forces and activities we are up against.
“Voter suppression is going to be even worse coming up in 2020,” she warned, pointedly. “It will absolutely be front and center.”
The former New York senator predicted with assurance that the Republicans will resort to “the misuse of information, whether it is online propaganda, disinformation.”
“I believe that the other side is really geared to do that,” she asserted. “And I think we’re going to face even more doubts about our electoral machinery.”
In addition, in the wake of last weekend’s mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Clinton slammed Republicans for continuing to stand in the way of sensible gun control.
“The refusal of the other party to step up and take responsibility for keeping people safe is outrageous,” she declared.
Clinton said political change won’t come overnight, but will take a long, determined slog, or, as she put it, “the hard boring of hard boards.”
“It doesn’t happen overnight,” she said. “It happens day after day.”
Also speaking at the event was Tiffany Caban, who had conceded the Queens district attorney Democratic primary race to Melinda Katz the day before, as well as Comptroller Scott Stringer and Council Speaker Corey Johnson, plus Alvin Bragg, a candidate for Manhattan district attorney. Bragg is a visiting professor at New York University School of Law and co-director of its Racial Justice Project.
Chris Marte, the Lower East Side Democratic State Committeeman for the 65th District, who leads Arena’s New York community and candidate support, also gave remarks.
“The event was a great success with over 300 people in attendance,” Marte said. “It was the first public appearance from Tiffany Caban since her concession speech, and Alvin Bragg’s first public speech as a Manhattan D.A. candidate. In addition to having the frontrunners of the mayoral race, Scott Stringer and Corey Johnson, Hillary topped off the night by inspiring everyone to remain engaged in politics and build the Democratic bench for staffers to take on Trump in 2020.
“In addition, it was the launch of our Five Borough Future Project, which is a three-part program to write bold polices, train the future staffers of New York City progressive campaigns, and educate individuals on how to achieve government reform and claw back power to New York City from Albany.”