The New York Times reports that Hillary Clinton is campaigning in upstate New York, a region that helped her win the Senate in 2000.
Hillary Clintonâ€™s political ascent can be traced to the time in 1999 when she expressed her support for dairy farmers in the upstate New York village of Endicott. And the summer that year when she shunned Marthaâ€™s Vineyard to vacation in Skaneateles, and promised voters in the depleted industrial city of Schenectady that as a New York senator she would revive the upstate economy.
The strategy helped Mrs. Clinton win her 2000 Senate race by double digits, a victory fueled by the unlikely support of white working-class voters in upstate New York who had previously voted Republican but were won over by the first ladyâ€™s attention to their underserved area.
But there’s a problem.
Now, 16 years later, Mrs. Clinton is again promising to bring jobs back to the region as she courts the people who helped secure her first election victory….
…But Mrs. Clintonâ€™s critics say that she failed to deliver on the centerpiece of her 2000 push â€” a promise to bring 200,000 jobs to New York â€” and many cities upstate have higher unemployment than when she became a senator. The number of private-sector jobs in upstate New York remained virtually stagnant in the eight years Mrs. Clinton served in the Senate, according to state Department of Labor statistics.
Fool me once, shame on you, etc.
To combat Mr. Sandersâ€™s message, Mrs. Clinton and a lineup of influential New York surrogates, including Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, plan to take voters down a memory lane of proposals, from the quirky to the conventional, that she advanced to spur the upstate economy.
And, you know, she really can list a number of jobs initiatives she brought to the region.Â And when you see all these initiatives on a piece of paper, it looks pretty impressive. But her initiatives amount to tweaks when the region needed an overhaul. And Hillary doesn’t do overhauls. She tweaks. Instead of rebuilding broken systems, she works within the limitations of the broken system. Which is why she fights and fights and fights and doesn’t deliver all that much.
Robert Hockett, a professor of law at Cornell who specializes in financial regulation and is supporting Mr. Sanders, said his anti-trade message would resonate as it has in other economically ravaged areas.
â€œUpstate New York is the classic Rust Belt on the one hand and the classic working-poor rural population on the other hand,â€ Mr. Hockett said. â€œThe things Bernie wants to do are things this population generally agrees with.â€
Christopher Ryan, president of the Communications Workers of America Local 1123, which represents Verizon and American Red Cross workers in Syracuse, said that he backed Mrs. Clinton in 2000 but that the area had been eviscerated by jobs moving overseas. He plans to vote for Mr. Sanders, whom the union has endorsed.
â€œYou see the weeds growing through the parking lots at factories,â€ he said.
Bottom line, all of Clinton’s heartfelt little tweaks that created a few jobs here and there couldn’t override the damage done by trade deals.Â She’s repudiating trade deals, you say? She loved ’em when she wasn’t running for office. And if you think she won’t push for more trade deals once she’s POTUS, you aren’t paying attention.