At Sunday night’s purely ceremonial Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton went through the motions of defending her inevitable nomination and finally called for the resignation of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in an appeal to the party’s liberal base. Before Sunday, she had been ambivalent about calling for the governor’s resignation, unlike Bernie Sanders who has been consistently calling for Snyder to step down. Clinton’s newfound epiphany is likely a cold calculation aimed at monopolizing the African-American vote. This isn’t the first time Clinton has changed her position mid-campaign. From trade to criminal justice reform, the Democratic establishment’s darling has moved far-left in response to Sanders' unexpected rise in the polls.
Speaking directly to Democratic primary voters on Sunday, Clinton aligned herself with Sanders, declaring “I agree, the governor should resign or be recalled, and we should support the efforts of citizens attempting to achieve that,” adding,“But that is not enough. We have to focus on what must be done to help the people of Flint.”
As The Daily Wire’s Robert Kraychik reported, Flint was exploited by both candidates as a racial agitprop for the primary purpose of demonizing Republicans as old white men eager to poison poor black kids with contaminated water. From the campaign trail to social media, the Left has peddled a cartoonish and racially-charged narrative, in which Synder and his ilk are fully culpable for the water crisis in Flint. Predictably, Clinton jumped on that blame train, hoping to ride it straight to the polls.
Here’s why she’s wrong about Governor Snyder.
While the Left may think that “government” solely consists of the executive branch, that’s simply not the case, in this country, at least. Flint is a major disaster, and its problems began at the local level, where Democratic politicians with guaranteed spots in city government thanks to gerrymandering ran roughshod for decades. The same thing can be said about Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Detroit where Democrats, notably African-American “community leaders,” have established single-party rule for several years without any accountability. Flint is ground zero when it comes to Leftist misgovernance.
As The Daily Wire’s Aaron Bandler reported:
Leftists blame Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R), while ignoring the fact that Flint's mayor is a Democrat and President Barack Obama's Environmental Protection Agency covered up the the water poisoning. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has called for Snyder to resign, and conspiracy theorist filmmaker Michael Moore has gone a step further in advocating for Snyder to be arrested. While Snyder certainly isn't blameless, the city knew about the water poisoning and did nothing about it until it was widespread. Flint is a city with a history of being run by Democrats, as National Review's Kevin Williamson underscores:
Its current mayor is a Democrat; so was her predecessor; the mayor before him, Don Williamson, was a career criminal (he did time for various scams some years back) and a Democrat who resigned under threat of recall; his immediate predecessor, Democrat James W. Rutherford, is a longtime politico and was elected to finish out the term of Woodrow Stanley, who was recalled because of the financial state in which he left the city.
Undoubtedly, there were oversight failures at multiple levels of government, thanks to ineffective and unaccountable bureaucracy. However, Flint’s water only became contaminated after a Democrat decided to use a new source for the city’s water supply. Writing for The Detroit News, Dennis Lennox explains:
The real culprit behind the Flint water crisis is Genesee County’s drain commissioner.
Flint’s water would have never been contaminated with lead had it not been for Drain Commissioner Jeffrey Wright’s pipeline to and from Lake Huron.
The facts are simple.
In 2009, Wright, a Democrat, sold his pipeline as a way for locals to save money — despite costing more than a quarter billion dollars — by disconnecting from Detroit’s water supply.
The federal government also dropped the ball here. Not surprisingly, the good ol' EPA failed to do its job, ignoring multiple emails about water contamination in Flint.
The Flint water crisis is complex and multifaceted. There is more than enough blame to go around, but scapegoating the Republican governor of Michigan is political expediency and hypocrisy at its worst. Undermining one-dimensional Leftist talking points, black journalist and Flint native Dennis Sanders asserts:
The water crisis is not simply about some evil, racist Republican who didn’t care about poisoning children. The governor does bear some responsibility—that I won’t deny. But the decision to use the river water was the result of smaller choices, not one master plan.
It’s easy to point the finger at one party. But the water emergency was the result of a lot of different actions. None of this means that no one is responsible. The state, in the form of MDEQ [Michigan Department of Environment Quality], is responsible. But this is the sad result of a declining industrial city with low tax revenue, a state bureaucracy too dismissive of the people it is supposed to serve, and outside government bodies that put the city in a hard position.