The Diva & The Dems: My 1st Live Debate

The Diva & The Dems: My 1st Live Debate

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Candidates getting ready to begin. 

 

Last night, I attended my first live debate. I witnessed Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders do battle as to why they should be the Democratic nominee at Miami -Dade College.  It was a rowdy, raucous atmosphere.  The energy was electric, and we were all ready for the fireworks that were going to erupt on stage.

 

 

 

 

Now I’m no pundit or pollster, but these are my takeaways as a layperson/political news junkie.

 

 

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The millennials love Bernie.

The energy for him was strong, he had rock star status for sure. They screamed, stomped and urged him on. The establishment Dems, however, weren’t so enthusiastic. Idealism vs Pragmatism? Maybe.

 

 

 

 

Jorge Ramos 

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Moderators Karen Tumulty, Maria Salinas and Jorge Ramos

Ok I’m obsessed.

The moderator who was representing Univision (and was notoriously told by a certain candidate on the other side to “go back to Univision”) was tough as nails. In another life he would have made an amazing defense attorney with his masterful cross examinations, holding the feet to the fire of the candidates (mostly Hillary).

But Hillary did clap back when he asked her if she would step down if she was indicted over her emails. “That’s ridiculous, I’m not even going to answer that!”

Boom.

I’ll be watching more of him for sure.

I guess my Spanish will have to improve though.

Biggest laugh of the night?

Bernie demanding the transcript of Hillary’s infamous $225,000 speech — “I’d think a speech so great, you’d want to share!!” 

Who won?

The crowd was more in favor of Hillary but the Bernie group was strong. Bernie BOMBED the question on if he regrets praising dictators like Fidel Castro and the Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega back in the ’80s. That was the wrong place and crowd to say ANYTHING nice about Castro. The same themes came up over and over — Bernie really despises Wall Street. He’s radical to the core. Hillary wants to work within the system to change things. So, complete anti-establishment in Bernie vs. middle of the road in HRC.  I don’t think many minds were changed last night.

I’m still undecided

To be blunt, it has been said that both candidates are tone deaf to the concerns of African Americans.  It’s more of we weren’t even part of the conversation. Granted, last night’s focus was immigration. Both candidates pretty much agreed, with onion thin differences. But Bernie weaves in his plan every chance he got to regarding getting Wall Street to pay for his lofty goals. He talked about investing in jobs programs, free public college, raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and universal health care. He briefly mentioned the high level of unemployment of African American young people (51%). Hillary discussed breaking down barriers. But there was no discussion of public safety, criminal justice, investing in drug/mental health treatment, and other than Bernie’s jobs program, no specific details of how more jobs will be created. I question Bernie’s practicality; I question Hillary’s resolve to get things done. Will she back down in the face of adversity, or fight?

 

In closing..

Last night, I met some amazing people. It was so awesome to be a part of our process, and watch how it works. I was truly honored to be in attendance.

But will I #FeeltheBern or #StandwithHer when I early vote in Florida this weekend?

I still don’t know. There will be a lot more research in the coming days. But rest assured, your Resident Legal Diva will be voting, because your vote is your voice. Too many people died for me and you to have the right to vote!!

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#votingmatters
Legal Divas of Color: Cheryl Mills

Legal Divas of Color: Cheryl Mills

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The second Legal Diva of Color to be featured in this month’s series is Cheryl Mills.  Ms. Mills set the world on fire with her impassioned defense of then President Bill Clinton during his impeachment hearings in 1999.  In doing so, she became the first African American to address the Senate at such a hearing.

Cheryl Mills was born to a military family. Her father was a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army.  As a result, she moved quite a bit as a child.  She received her Bachelors at the University of Virginia, graduating as part of Phi Beta Kappa (exclusively for those who have high grades and good moral standing).  Ms. Mills went on to Stanford Law School, where she was selected to join Stanford Law Review. Again, this is an honor saved for the most gifted in the law school class.

Upon graduation, she worked at the Washington D.C. power broker firm Hogan and Hartson.  In 1993, Ms. Mills became the Associate Counsel to President Clinton. Her role was quiet until Ken Starr, the independent prosecutor, filed charges of obstruction and perjury against President Clinton, in part for the handling of his affairs with Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky. It was the second day of the hearings in January of 1998 that brought Cheryl Mills to center stage.  She presented President Clinton as a flawed human being, but not a criminal.  She is often remembered for stating:

“I stand here before you today because President Bill Clinton believed I could stand here for him … I’m not worried about civil rights, because this President’s record on civil rights, on women’s rights, on all of our rights is unimpeachable.

Obviously, what she said worked,  because the Senate voted not to impeach President Clinton.

Her path continued with a break from the practice of law to become the Senior Vice President for Corporate Policy and Public Programming at Oxygen Media. Ms. Mills then went to work at (my alma mater) New York University, handling labor related matters.  DC kept calling — she returned to Washington to serve as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Counselor and Chief of Staff in 2009.  She was called to a Senate hearing yet again as part of the Benghazi inquiry.

Currently, she is the founder and CEO of the BlackIvy Group, which builds businesses in Africa.  Her philanthropic endeavors also include sitting on a number of boards in the Washington DC area.

Thank you Cheryl Mills for being a Legal Diva of Color!