Emanuel Cleaver, longtime Congressman from Missouri’s 5th district and now head of the Congressional Black Caucus, paid a visit to our campaign headquarters in Davenport, Iowa yesterday. He was there to give a pep talk to those of us who are volunteers in the Hillary Clinton campaign, and to implore us to work hard in what he called “the most significant presidential election perhaps in our nation’s history.”
This is not a man given to hyperbole. He is a United Methodist pastor who grew up in public housing in Wichita Falls, Texas. He served on the Kansas City Council from 1979 to 1991 when he was elected as the first African American major of that city. He is now the ranking member of the Banking Committee and has fairly recently been named chair of the Black Caucus.
On September 11, 2014, around 2:50 a.m. a Molotov cocktail was thrown through the window of Cleaver’s Kansas City office. Fortunately, he was in Washington at the time and no staff members were injured.
So, I have to take this man very seriously when he expresses his genuine fear that Donald Trump might be elected President of the United States. He believes the presumptive Republican nominee to be not only unqualified, but dangerous. Traveling across the globe on Congressional business, he told us he has found, wherever he goes, foreign leaders and ordinary citizens aghast at what is happening in America, not least in this political season. “What is happening in your country?” Cleaver said he is often asked.
After a passionate and moving address, he went on to his next campaign headquarters stop (he had just come from Cedar Rapids) and many of us began making phone calls on behalf of Hillary Clinton and indeed the entire Democratic slate which will appear on the ballot next November. I found lots of support for Secretary Clinton, a few Trump supporters, and some who — unbelievably to me — are undecided!
Of all years to be “undecided” at this point, this is patently not the one. Some simply don’t trust either candidate, a few are therefore looking to Gary Johnson (the Libertarian Party candidate) as a way to express their displeasure with the two traditional parties. I guess I can understand that, but I encouraged them at least to vote for Democrats “down ballot” if they could not bring themselves to vote for Hillary Clinton.
While, on the one hand, I think she may win an overwhelming victory in the Fall. Yet, on the other, this is an unbelievably unpredictable electoral cycle. I will continue to work as hard as I can to get out the vote and encourage people not to vote against their own self interest, simply because we have two flawed candidates from which to choose. When has this not been the case? It’s just more evident this time.
But the stakes could not be higher, as a very wise man reminded us yesterday.
I invite you to join me in defeating Donald Trump by working and voting for Hillary Rodham Clinton.