The man set to lead Senate Democrats Tuesday tells delegates at the Democratic National Convention he supports Hillary Clinton for president because, unlike Donald J. Trump, she has the right vision for America.
“Clinton sees a different America,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D.-N.Y.), now chairman of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. When Minority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) retires, Schumer will leap frog Sen. Richard Durbin (D.-Ill.), who remains Minority Whip.
“Most elections are about two different visions for America,” Schumer said. “This election is about two different visions of America. Donald Trump can only see an angry America, fearful and small, closed to the world and suspicious of our friends and neighbors.”
The senator said Democrats want an America that strives to live up to that promise written here in Philadelphia that every man and woman has a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
“An America where we don’t build walls, we break down barriers and shatter ceilings. An America that’s stronger because of our differences. Stronger Together,” he said.
Hillary Clinton has the right vision of and for America, but she cannot do it alone. She’s going to need a majority in the United States Senate. A Senate majority that puts a new Supreme Court justice on the bench who will protect women’s rights, voting rights, and finally undo Citizens United. A Senate majority that will raise the minimum wage and ensure equal pay for women.
In the Senate, Schumer has a reputation for being a cut throat operator in the service of the liberal agenda. But he presents himself, especially back home in New York, as the defender of the middle class. Over the years, Schumer has even carried on a political narrative about a fictional middle class family he calls “The Baileys.”
Speaking to delegates, Schumer did not conjure up The Baileys, but he did frame his case for Clinton in the context of her being the champion of the middle class.
“I saw it: her remarkable ability to listen, internalize the concerns and fears, hopes and dreams of everyday Americans, and then get things done for them,” he said.
“My friends, Hillary understands what middle-class families need better than anyone. I know because I know Hillary. I worked by her side for eight years as Senators representing the great state of New York,” he said.
Now, I’m from Brooklyn. It’s in our blood to sniff out bull. There’s a lot of that in politics, but there’s not an ounce of it in Hillary Clinton. When she tells you something, take it to the bank,” he said.
It may not make much of a difference, but in his prepared remarks that were released to the media, the senator is supposed to say: “empty bravado.” Kudos to the senator from Brooklyn that he was able to make the quick edit on the fly.
Another kind of edit, the response to Donald J. Trump, the GOP nominee. His presence hangs over the convention like the Great and Wonderful Oz. The Democrats try establish their own story line, but their have no conscious control over their reflex reactions to Trump. One example was Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who spoke earlier than Schumer, made a point to say that Clinton was the right woman to take the fight to the army of the Islamic State. This was after the Trump campaign and the Republican Party’s own rapid response team pushed out to reporters that the threat of Islamic State was AWOL from the Monday’s convention programs.
One section of Schumer’s remarks seems to be another response to Trump’s rhetoric about bringing corporations to heel.
She listened to the worker at the Bechtel plant in Schenectady, worried sick that his company was leaving town. Hillary got tough and read the corporate honchos the riot act until they agreed to keep their plant open, saving his job and many others. She listened to the first responders and union workers who rushed to the Pile after 9/11, searching for signs of life in the smoldering rubble, breathing in toxic fumes with every breath. She championed their cause and fought to get them the health care they deserved. That’s the kind of leadership this country needs, and the stakes could not be higher.
In the end with Schumer it is all about the agenda, though.
Schumer said Americans need to put Clinton in the White House and give Democrats control of Congress, so they can pass comprehensive immigration reform, make substantial investments in infrastructure, and give every student a shot at affording a college education.
“With Hillary Clinton as President and a strong Senate majority by her side, we’ll keep the American Dream alive for a new generation,” he said.