The daughter of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke to Madison supporters at length about her mother’s multifaceted strengths Thursday.
At the Clinton campaign’s Madison field office, Chelsea Clinton’s speech pulled heavily from her mother’s achievements as former secretary of state and U.S. senator from New York. With an intimate 100-person crowd, Chelsea Clinton painted an unusually candid picture of the political outlook for the Democratic party.
From beginning to end, Chelsea Clinton’s remarks highlighted a broad range of issues her mother looks to address as president, such as womens’ rights and immigration reform. She repeatedly highlighted that the U.S. is not “a single issue country,” indirectly disparaging rival U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, who has focused heavily on income inequality.
Sam Park, University of Wisconsin sophomore, and one of the few college students in attendance, said Chelsea Clinton’s focus on breadth of issues was in line with the Clinton campaign’s narrative so far.
Park said he does not agree with that portrayal of Sanders, but acknowledged this perspective has taken root in mainstream political consciousness.
Park said he attended the event because “as a Democrat, it’s important to support either candidate.” He said he is also attending Sanders’ events.
Sanders enjoys widespread support among young people, in part because of his pledge to make college tuition free.
But while Chelsea Clinton acknowledged this pledge makes him attractive to students, she questioned his ability to fund such a program. She said her mother understands what she can and cannot change, and such an initiative to make tuition free would be unlikely to succeed in the current political climate.
“For Wisconsin alone this bill would cost $11 billion on day one and the Legislature just cut $200 million from funding in 2015, so it’s hard to see them having the will to find those funds,” Chelsea Clinton said.
In talking about this climate, she said the outlook for Democrats in the coming decades is grim — she does not believe Democrats will regain a majority in the Legislature until 2028. Because of this, she said it is vital to elect a Democratic president to ensure the progress made by liberals thus far is not undone.
Key to cementing these gains, Chelsea Clinton said, will be the nomination of the next three Supreme Court justices expected to take place during the tenure of the next president. She said the Supreme Court’s decisions on issues, like voting rights, are examples of the progress Democrats stand to lose in the coming election.
“It matters who gets elected at every level of government,” Chelsea Clinton said.