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Hillary Clinton Makes a Comeback to Campaign for Hochul and Criticizes the GOP

In an unexpectedly challenging campaign for Governor Kathy Hochul against her Republican opponent, Rep. Lee Zeldin, Vice President Harris and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton teamed up on Thursday. They strongly focused on abortion rights.

The occasion highlighted the growing Democratic worry over Hochul’s race and was Clinton’s first candidate-focused appearance of the midterms. The event, which was hosted by a women’s college and featured an all-female lineup of surrogates, was intended to inspire women to support Hochul.

Zeldin and other Republicans came under fire from Clinton, who also criticized Republican candidate for governor of Arizona Kari Lake for making light of Nancy Pelosi’s husband’s violent attack at home. The speakers brought up the subject of abortion rights frequently.

“Be careful not to take anything for granted; I overheard my opponent say, ‘Oh, don’t worry. Nothing changed in the state of New York the following day as a result of the Dobbs ruling. So, don’t worry,” Hochul remarked in reference to defending abortion rights and the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June. “Do you know why New York state hasn’t changed at all? I’m the governor, therefore.”

The fear of losing the right to an abortion is shaping up as a less motivating factor in blue states such as New York, according to some in the party, because of existing protections and a Democratic-led state government committed to preserving it. This is despite Democrats across the country running heavily on abortion since the high court reversed the decision ending the constitutional right to the procedure.

Students who attended the event expressed their worries about Democrats’ chances in the midterm elections in interviews with The Washington Post. They also noticed that their peers seemed less motivated than in previous elections.

Mia Davidson, a Columbia University student, noticed a spike in young voters’ fury following the Dobbs ruling, but she said that enthusiasm has waned as Election Day draws near. “I don’t know that the Democratic Party did a lot to actually keep young people active, but at the same time, some of that is on us, we sometimes decided not to be,” she added. “I think the energy faded away.”

Hochul’s troubles coincide with the struggles of Democratic congressional candidates in New York and other blue states, pushing party officials to focus time and resources on certain contests that earlier this year appeared to favor Republicans more.

In her remarks, Clinton, the Democratic candidate for president in 2016, mirrored Hochul’s argument, criticizing Republicans for opposing abortion rights and attempting to connect Zeldin to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Clinton remarked of Republicans: “Of course, they want to turn back the clock on abortion, they spent 50 years trying to make that happen. But they want to roll back LGBT rights, voting rights, civil rights, and women’s rights in general. They’re determined to exert control over who we are, what we think, feel, and do in ways that I had believed we had left behind a long time ago.

The first female governor of New York is Hochul. She was formerly the lieutenant governor and assumed office last year following the resignation of Democrat Andrew M. Cuomo. Clinton emphasized Hochul’s stint in the state’s top position as being remarkable.

As the state that gave birth to the women’s suffrage movement, Clinton remarked, “I particularly admire the way she’s bringing new leadership, stability, and fresh hope for our future to New York. I think it’s about time.” As she ran through a list of Democratic victories with the Biden administration, Harris criticized Republican attempts to limit access to abortion.

Speaking at the event were Democratic women in New York’s political leaders who emphasized the importance of people turning out to support Hochul and not taking the election for granted. In some recent polls, Hochul is ahead of Zeldin by just a few percentage points in a state that leans solidly Democratic overall.

Zeldin has praised the Dobbs ruling but has also stated that he would not amend the law in New York. He stated, “As governor, I will not change and could not modify New York’s abortion legislation,” in a campaign ad that was released last month.

The Republican has concentrated on the state’s rising crime rate, which is a concern Republicans have raised elsewhere in the nation. In her statements in response, Clinton charged the GOP with inciting fear. I have to also consider what I’ve seen, and I’m sure you have to if you watch television. If you did, you would see what I see, which is 30-second advertising about crime. No answers, just a bunch of incredibly ominous, spooky visuals and ominous music,” declared Clinton.

She made reference to the assault on Paul Pelosi, who was hit with a hammer by an intruder last week and criticized some Republicans, including Lake, for trying to make light of the incident. In a recent statement, Lake stated, “Nancy Pelosi, well, she’s got protection while she’s in D.C. — obviously her house doesn’t have a lot of protection.”

“An 82-year-old guy who is married to the House speaker is struck in the head with a hammer by an intruder, and the Republicans make fun of it. In Arizona, a female candidate for governor makes jokes about it, according to Clinton.

Now, why would any sane person want to grant authority to someone who finds it amusing when someone is attacked in his or her own home? They don’t care about keeping you safe, so you know that. They aim to keep you afraid so you won’t be able to think clearly.

The speakers here again painted Republicans as a threat to Social Security and Medicare, echoing other Democrats. I want you to feel the weight on your shoulders as you march out of here, Hochul said at one point in a direct appeal to young voters. All those who came before us passed on this gift to us with that resolve, guts, and fortitude.

Considering Hochul’s connections to her home state, Columbia student Emma Sherman-Hawver expressed her appreciation for Clinton hosting an event for Hochul. Sherman-Hawver remarked, “I think if she can play it tactically, then it helps a lot. “Of course, there are areas of the nation that might not be as encouraging, but I believe here is like if you were to travel anywhere, I think it’s a really excellent option that she came here,” said the speaker.

But according to Jack Lobel, a fellow Columbia student, and representative for the organization Voters of Tomorrow, which targets Generation Z, Democrats need to do more to engage young people in the political process.

Democrats should not expect young people to vote when they do not invest time, money, or effort into outreach, according to Lobel. “It appears like Gen Z is the only group focused on Gen Z outreach, and that’s just not going to work if Democrats want to maintain winning in the future.”

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