Hillary Clinton talks democracy in NWA
Former first lady of Arkansas, presidential candidate and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art on Wednesday night.
- Her appearance, for which Angie Maxwell, director of the Diane Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society at the University of Arkansas, moderated, was part of the museum's "We the People: The Radical Notion of Democracy" exhibition.
The big picture: Clinton touched on misinformation about the integrity of elections, social media attacks by foreign interests and the country's polarized political landscape, which, she said, if allowed to go unchecked, will erode democracy.
- While she and Maxwell noted that election processes are largely not included in the constitution, thus leaving room for states to gerrymander, Clinton said she's changed her mind on more checks and balances regarding elections being codified, saying they should.
- Clinton called the U.S. Supreme Court's Dobbs decision reversing the constitutional right to abortion a "results-oriented outcome."
- She mentioned Ireland's now-reversed abortion ban that resulted in a woman with a wanted pregnancy dying because the hospital refused her an abortion when she began miscarrying, calling it "profoundly sad" that similar situations will probably happen in this country.
- "[Abortion] is a very complicated legal situation, which I think needs to be dealt with politically," she said, noting it will be a top priority politically for years to come.
- Society has to figure out a way to “deprogram” people who buy into disinformation. "It's a dagger in the heart of democracy," Clinton said.
Zoom out: As the U.S. continues to debate who "we the people" includes, Clinton said some people in power want to minimize the voices of those who don't support them through means such as voter suppression, disinformation and threatening election integrity.
What she said: "It's very troubling to see our elections, which have already been viewed as the centerpiece of our democracy, being so targeted."
- She said former President Trump broke norms of national leaders who historically endeavored to unify the country and accept defeat when they lost elections. She recalled that she conceded to Trump when she lost in 2016, even as she won the popular vote.
The bottom line: Maxwell asked if she thinks democracy will survive. "Absolutely," Clinton said.
- She pointed to the November midterms, noting some people were willing to speak up for facts and there were "little glimmers of fact-based reality."
Go deeper: Watch the full discussion.
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