In a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Women’s Equality Day, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) drew a stark contrast between Republicans’ refusal to support legislation to ensure equal pay and their relentless efforts to turn back the clock to a time when women often died if they needed an abortion.
During the call the Senator, who was championing 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Secretary Hillary Clinton’s policies for women and men (equal pay, income inequality, affordable college, etc.), was asked about how 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was doing and if there was tension between them.
Boxer said there was “no” tension, noting the “difference between Republican field and Democratic field.”
The Democratic California Senator made the case that both candidates agree on the issues and there is no animosity there, “You hear Republicans going after each other with fierce animosity. What you hear when you hear Bernie Sanders talking about income inequality, student loans, Hillary Clinton shares those views, Bernie Sanders shares those views. There is no animosity there. He’s a good friend of mine, he says it straight from the heart and that’s all good for us. He likes to pound the table and she likes to bring people along.”
Boxer continued, making the point that the Democratic candidates all want the same thing and are focusing on issues, “The message is the same. Income inequality, voting rights, immigration reform, good jobs, clean energy, student loans — we want all of these things. It’s a question of a different way to approach the issue. We all stand for the same thing. Whereas the Republicans are just in a different attack mode against each other.”
Senator Boxer raised a point that will become more obvious over time. Republicans are fighting a war of personality and mud in their primary. They are a hot, disintegrating mess right now; whereas Democrats agree on the actual policies they are advocating for. As I’ve been writing from the beginning of this primary, this is an unprecedented opportunity to elevate the status of these issues. The press has never cared about most of these issues, but with Sanders and Clinton committed to fighting clean, the issues get the attention.
If the issues get attention, democracy wins.
Asked about a potential run by Vice President Joe Biden, Boxer said, “As far as my friend Joe Biden is concerned, if he wants to run I think he should.”
This reporter asked how Senator Boxer, and by proxy Secretary Clinton, plan to make young women aware of these policies that would benefit women, as there seems to be a huge disconnect between the personal and political with a lot of younger people. She responded by reminding us all of what is at stake — of the time when women died from abortions:
“We’re going to do it by having a great grassroots effort, I’m going to be traveling to Las Vegas -exciting race, you raise a good point, a lot of young women don’t realize that what they count on could be taken away from them. I remember when women died from abortions. We don’t want to go back to those days.”
That wasn’t a fear bomb, as Republicans are actively running on taking women’s right to make their own medical decisions away from them. Boxer also pointed out that men who love women also care about these issues, as well as husbands whose family is impacted by economic inequalities in women’s pay.
When asked about Sec. Clinton’s emails and her “falling” in the polls, Boxer responded, “She’s had to fight hard, you’re saying her poll numbers have slipped, she’s got 18 Republican candidates attacking her constantly, the media attacking her for a baloney issue.”
Boxer pointed out that Sec. Colin Powell addressed his emails same way, except he destroyed emails, whereas Hillary Clinton turned hers over. The California Senator said the media pounding is a test, “I was pounded over and over from right wing press, the people want to see if you can take it and she can take it.”
If Democrats are successful in reaching out to younger people and showing how politics are personal, it could have a relevant impact on turnout.
Democrats need to keep fighting for high ground, focusing on the issues. On the issues, they can’t lose. In contrast, we get distractions and personal bombs from Republicans, who can’t share their policy stance with the public without terrifying the majority. If VP Biden joins the Democratic primary, there will be a group of great potential choices, all of whom care about the issues that matter to most Americans. No Ted Cruzes or Donald Trumps, but rather devoted public servants who actually care about the people. This is a win for democracy.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.