VOL. 131 | NO. 193 | Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Cohen Describes Clinton-Trump Contest as “Armageddon”
By Bill Dries
U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen set stark terms for the presidential general election as local Democrats opened their Memphis headquarters for nominee Hillary Clinton.
U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen told local Democrats Saturday, Sept. 24, that the Clinton-Trump race for president is “Armageddon.”
(Daily News/Bill Dries)
“This is Armageddon,” he said in a small room packed with 40 supporters Saturday, Sept. 24, just east of the Parkways.
He then described Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump as “the most Neanderthal candidate we’ve ever had as a nominee of a national political party.”
“We’ve never had a candidate in our history who owed so much … to a foreign nation and particularly a foreign nation that is one of our most formidable enemies who are the antithesis of what America is about,” Cohen said referring to Trump’s financial and business ties to Russia. “His first priority has always been himself, his family and his bank account. And being President of the United States will not change that.”
The local Clinton effort comes despite the state Democratic Party’s decision in August to disband the Shelby County Democratic Party after the local party executive committee decided to pursue criminal charges against former chairman Bryan Carson over party finances.
The local party will be rebuilt later this year, Tennessee Democratic Party chairwoman Mary Mancini has said.
Meanwhile, Clinton’s national campaign and the Democratic National Committee had already decided to work around the local party in what is not a battleground state for Clinton or Trump.
In a November appearance in Memphis in advance of the March presidential primary elections, Clinton talked of trying to carry a state that has gone to the Republican presidential nominee in the last four general elections.
“I’m going to campaign in Tennessee to try to turn it blue in November of 2016,” Clinton said at LeMoyne-Owen College.
But that was very early in the process, with lots of twists and turns, ups and downs to come for all of the contenders.
It’s common for national campaigns to shift their strategies in particular areas. During the Democratic primary campaign, Clinton’s challenger for the nomination – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders – initially sent a campaign team from early primary states to Memphis with a goal of courting African-American voters for Sanders. The goal was quickly abandoned before it ever took shape as Sanders focused elsewhere on the map in his unsuccessful search for delegates to secure the nomination.
Clinton carried Shelby County in the primary with 80 percent of the vote.
Democrats at Saturday’s campaign opening were told their phone banking efforts will be aimed at voters in North Carolina, which is a battleground state.
Memphis Democrats phone-banked voters in other states during the 2012 presidential campaign as well.
When the local Trump headquarters opened earlier this month in East Memphis, Trump supporters at the opening were told by West Tennessee Trump chairman Terry Roland that they, too, will be phone-banking voters in other states.
The state Democratic Party has a “Swing the State” fundraiser in Nashville next month. The fundraiser’s goal is to “elect Democrats to all levels of government,” according to Mancini, who did not mention the presidential race in the press release.
Some at Clinton’s campaign headquarters opening Saturday wanted to know about outreach, specifically to Memphis millennials, and expressed a desire to see Clinton emphasize specific issues.
The Clinton campaign leaders for the region emphasized talking points for those working in the campaign that focused on a comparison of Clinton to Trump.
“All of this talk about Hillary not being perfect – perfect should never be the enemy of the good,” Cohen told the group. “And I’m telling you Hillary Clinton is very, very good.”
Cohen also linked Clinton’s success to the legacy of President Barack Obama.
“Everything he’s accomplished will be repudiated if we don’t win this election,” Cohen said. “The last glass ceiling has to be broken. This election is so consequential. … We don’t need to continue the Trump line about Hillary. We need to find the positives. … There’s lots of positives about Hillary Clinton.”