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Chad Blair: Aloha everybody and welcome to another installment of the Pod Squad, as always Chad Blair with Honolulu Civil Beat. It’s election season, it’s in the air, everyone across the country is talking about the presidential campaign. And today we are going to focus on the Democratic Party, the candidates that are running to be president of the United States.
Representing the Hillary campaign here in Hawaii, Hillary Clinton, is Dylan Beesley. Dylan how are you?
Bart Dame: Good to be here with you Chad, second time.
Blair: Good to have you hear. Yeah, second time that’s right, I completely forgot. And Rebecca Soon.
Rebecca Soon: It’s a pleasure, thank you for having us.
Blair: Absolutely, good that you’re here.
And on the Bernie Sanders side, Bart Dame, long time stalwart of the party. Hi Bart.
Bart Dame: Aloha.
Blair: Good to see you again. And Cameron Sato, first time for you correct?
Cameron Sato: Yes, thank you for having me, Chad.
So let’s make that clear; for Bernie it’s Bart and it’s Cameron, and for Hillary, it’s Rebecca and it is Dylan.
And let me just make clear; the presidential preference poll, otherwise known as the caucus for the Democratic Party is Saturday, March 26. It begins officially at 1 p.m. with the voting, but we’re advised, Bart, am I correct, to get there early?
Dame: Yes, especially people who – at the caucus you can register to vote and you can join the party. Those are both two prerequisites to be eligible to vote. But you can do it right there on site, so come early, consider the fact that parking may be a problem. I would say aim at 12:15 or so.
Blair: Good idea. And a photo ID driver’s license sufficient?
Dame: Actually there is no ID requirement, but it will expedite things if you actually have a photo ID.
Blair: Ok, terrific. And the list of the polling locations, you can find that at the Hawaii Democratic Party’s website, just google it. You can also find that on Civil Beat, I’ve written about the Democratic caucus as well as the Republican caucus which was held earlier this month, but all the information is there. A whole bunch of places state wide that you can show up and vote.
Well let’s start with the Bernie Sanders campaign. Bart and Cameron, I’m going to ask each of you to tell me why should Bernie Sanders be the pick of Hawaii voters for our president. Bart, let’s start with you.
Dame: There are multiple reasons and I can tell you why I’m supporting Bernie. I’m supporting Bernie because I think that the country is simultaneously facing multiple challenges, crisis – the United States, Hawaii and the world. Whether they’re economic injustice, inequality, stagnation, bad future for our people, especially for the young people, globally we have this never ending non-stop war that’s spreading throughout the greater Middle East region, and I think Bernie is the one who offers a solution. In my view as a Progressive, behind each one of these problems you will often find powerful corporate interests that affect government policy, and the root cause of their influence is the private campaign finance position. They underwrite political candidates, and Bernie is free from those influences, his opponent – not so much.
Blair: Ok, Cameron, jump in.
Sato: We have an opportunity right now. In terms of geopolitically, we have had the Arab Spring, we’ve had Occupy Wall Street, we’ve had a lot of things where people are coming together and saying enough is enough with the way things are, and Bernie Sanders galvanizes all our aspirations in terms of standing up to corporations and representing our values, not just this election season, but since he was a college student. So we sympathize him as a Progressive, that he really represents our values and we relate to that.
Blair: Of course he’s an Independent senator from Vermont running as a Democrat, a former mayor of Burlington, long time experience, but generally votes with the Democrats when he is in the Senate.
Alright, let’s turn to team Hillary. Dylan, why should we vote for Hillary Clinton?
Beesley: I think I’ll also talk about why I’m supporting her. I’m supporting Hillary because throughout her entire life she’s worked to help those that have been left out and left behind. And I know as president she’s going to be able to deliver the results for Hawaii in the White House. You know, her deep personal ties to this state, visiting rural communities, Hana Maui for example.
Blair: Did she actually ride that road to Hana?
Beesley: She was in Hana, she walked around with her mother in Hana, yeah. She understands some of the unique issues that we face here, but also some of the opportunities. And so I think she’s going to be the one to help us protect the progress that we fought so hard for under President Obama.
Blair: Ok. Rebecca?
Soon: So I really resound with Hillary’s message because I believe that she cares about the things that I care about deeply. She’s been really clear for decades now, we know exactly who she is. We’ve been able to engage with her on issues for a long time – disagreeing with her, agreeing with her, and I think at it’s core, she always shows that everything she fights for she’s fighting for the people of this country and I believe they represent Hawaii’s values as well. She’s been on the forefront of women’s issues for a long time. She was one of the first to say that women’s issues are human rights issues, and really put that dialogue on the map in an international context. She has recently come out very strongly in support of ending homelessness for veterans. That’s something that hits very close to home with Hawaii’s people, where 14 percent of our homeless population are veterans. So these are real issues that we care about deeply. Her recent statements in support of the Native Hawaiian community are especially important for me as a Native Hawaiian individual, but I think that Native Hawaiian issues are Hawaii issues as well. And I think that in her being so clear and unequivocal, that she’s going to stand behind the Native Hawaiian community in whichever direction we decide to go in, that’s really important for our people.
Blair: Ok. Well, Bart and Cameron you just have heard the pitch for Hillary Clinton, tell me why that’s wrong, why you don’t support Hillary Clinton. What’s wrong her candidacy, Bart?
Dame: Despite my personal affection for Rebecca and great respect for her skills, she’s a behind the scenes person who makes a lot of good things happen in this society, I just can’t believe that Hillary can be described as somebody who has a clear record of standing up for working people and for regular folks. Actually her record is quite mix. Her position on all the multiple issues has changed repeatedly depending on what audience she’s facing, what political condition she is facing. We can talk about the Trans-Pacific Partnership – it wasn’t until she was faced with Joe Biden possibly entering the race, that she finally found her voice to allegedly oppose the TPP, saying that she denied that she had ever called it the gold standard for trade agreement for example, when the record is clear that she has. She hadn’t just said she hoped it would be. She couldn’t come up with any criticism of it, how it had changed in a way it was different from when she was celebrating it. A wide range of issues on gay marriage. She didn’t support gay marriage until a gallant poll showed that majority of the American people support it for example. So her record has not been consistent. Bernie has had a consistent record. I really think that she basically has been dependent upon corporate financing for so long that she serves their interest and the interest of Wall Street much more than the interest of working people.
Blair: And of course that’s at the core of the Sanders campaign that pitch. Cameron jump in here.
Sato: Hillary – you just have to read the Internet. We have the ability to fact check things instantly. We can go on YouTube, we can find clips of what she exactly said, what people have said in the past, and we can also go back and see what Bernie has said. He has consistently stood for working people, he’s consistently spoken out against trade deals. And that’s why us young people, you know we’ve registered hundreds of people on campus who have not been involved in the political system and not really cared, now wanting to do that. We have people who are older in their 60’s or 70’s who have not volunteered before, who have not make contributions, but now they’re some of the most active people on our campaign. So we bring forth a combination of people who are disaffected by political establishment and want to see a different system.
Blair: Ok quickly, Dylan and Rebecca, you just heard some jabs at your candidate; not really for the working families, late to gay marriage, changing her mind on trade. Sanders really appealing to a lot of people, first time voters. Counter, rebuttal.
Soon: So I think one of the really great things about this particular election is that the Democratic Party and the people of America have two really great options of people who really do care about issues that are affecting people on an everyday level. And I think that is in stark contrast to what the GOP slate is offering for example. So when you’re talking here about the different distinctions between he two candidates, I think where Hilary has really demonstrated that she’s the right person at this time, is because she really has put forward a specific plan about how we’re going to get to the benchmarks that our people need to get towards. And so when you think about just the logistical and sheer magnitude of work that it takes to move forward a country with the hundreds of millions of people and diverse opinions in our country, understanding the role from every angle that she has, I mean there’s literally no on in the history of the world that has the experience that she has as FLOTUS, as secretary of state, as a senator, she has seen what it really takes to actually make those changes on all levels of government, and I think that really is the distinction for her plan.
Blair: And First Lady of Arkansas too for that matter like you said.
Beesley: If I can just say Chad, I think we have also laid out a specific plan to move Hawaii forward, talking about different issues that we’ve touched on already; ending homelessness, increasing opportunity, dealing with affordable housing, dealing with the pay gap, you know there are very specific things that she’s put forward. If you look at her proposal, she also talks about incentivizing local companies to share wages with their employees. This is a way increase wages, which she has said is one of the defining economic challenges of our time.
Blair: What’s wrong with Bernie Sanders, why wouldn’t you support him Rebecca?
Soon: I couldn’t say that I wouldn’t support him. I think that he offers a message that does touch on what kind of future people are looking for. And I think that’s why you’ve seen a lot of positions that Hillary has had for a long time coming out and making it’s way in a much more forward why than they had before. He’s command a conversation that we’ve never had before. So I can’t say that I wouldn’t support him, what I can say is that Hillary is a better fit for what we need right now and able to actually deliver on some of the changes that we’re looking for.
Blair: Ok, let me bring up the baggage question. Both candidates have some challenges. These things are out there, I’m going to be the devil’s advocate.
Bart and Cameron, you must be counting the delegates here or nationally. Just this last Super Tuesday Hillary took four states, Missouri still being counted at this timing of this podcast. But, what about that argument that it’s too late to do anything now, this thing is a done deal. It’s just a matter of time before she wraps up the nomination.
Sato: That’s not at all true. There are over 2,000 delegates left, we’re at halftime. We’re not even a full 50 percent of all the delegates. Sure we’re down 300, but when you’re done, are you just going to give up when it’s halftime? No. We’re going to keep fighting. We still have people who are energized, who are still enthusiastic and are going to make a difference.
Dame: Yeah, actually the primary schedule was structure in such a way to reward exactly a candidate like Hillary Clinton. Super Tuesday in particular was designed to increase the influence of southern states over the selection of the Democratic nominee – never mind that almost all those states are going to vote Republican in the general election.
Now we are turning to states that are much more favorable to Bernie. Bernie will have to win 58 percent of the votes cast in subsequent primaries and causes. That’s a challenge but you know, I got on board over a year ago with Bernie’s campaign, at that time the odds against Bernie were a hell of a lot worst than they are now, so I think we’re in a position here yes, it’s a long shot, yes it’s against the odds and against all kinds of structural problems, but I think it’s possible still yet for us to do it, we’re just going to be determined, keep calm, and do the work.
Blair: Ok. Rebecca and Dylan you know the rap on Hillary Clinton, I’ll just name a couple of things; Benghazi Libya while she was secretary of state, the problems with her husband during his time not only as governor, as president, I’m talking about the way he has behaved towards women. We can name any number of things that have followed Hillary Clinton for any number of years. She’s even now being looked in as a possible indictment. I hope I’m not overstating that, but the FBI has been looking into the email situation. Response to that?
Beesley: Sure, I think I’ll start by saying that the Hillary for Hawaii campaign is not going to take anything for granted. We’re going to work hard to earn every single vote at the presidential preference poll on March 26th. I will say, just step back to what I’ve said before, I think Hillary is going to be the candidate that will deliver for Hawaii and that is really what drives me to select her as my candidate, and where I think many people from across the state will be looking too.
Blair: Ok, Rebecca?
Soon: You know I think that to have someone that’s been in the limelight for as long as she has, I’m quite frankly, impressed that she’s been able to stay above board, and above the water, in not only her message, but her continued fight for the people of America. And I agree with the message that this is in no way, shape or form over and the Democratic Party and people who affiliate themselves with these messages have to come out and have to participate. There is immense respect I think on both sides of the table here. And I appreciate Bart’s nice comments for me, I feel the same way. I mean, genuinely we all care about what happens in our communities and that’s reflected in both of these candidates.
Beesley: We all want to see young people get engaged and register as democrats – every single person at this table, I can assure you.
Dame: And on the off chance that Hillary gets the nomination, I will support her over any of the Republican clowns that are within distance. She may be a corporatist, but she is a moderate corporatist okay. And she’s a hell of a lot better than any of those Republican candidates.
Blair: And am I hearing, Dylan and Rebecca, you would vote fore Bernie if he’s the nominee over Donald Trump?
Blair: Cameron, you would vote for Hillary if for some reason your guy doesn’t make it?
Sato: Uhhh…no, I wouldn’t.
Blair: I can see it’s hard to swallow.
Yes, alright you guys have been great. Dylan Beesley and Rebecca Soon with Hilary Clinton campaign here in Hawaii. Bart Dame and Cameron Sato with the Bernie Sanders campaign. You can go online and find out more information.
Remember the presidential preference poll, or the Democratic caucus as some call it, is Saturday, March 26th.
Did you know there’s another candidate on that ballot by the way? Real estate developer, and I hope pronounce this right, Roque De La Fuente. We weren’t able to find a Roque supporter.
Dame: He bought his way onto the ballot.
Blair: Yes he did. He paid the fee and you will be able to vote for Roque.
Remember to subscribe to us on iTunes and Stitcher, visit our site at civilbeat.com, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. As always, Chad Blair with Honolulu Civil Beat’s Pod Squad, take care and aloha.
Sato: Aloha. Thank you.