The internet exploded last night with news that Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s husband, former president Bill Clinton entered four polling places in areas around Boston. People on facebook complained that they were cordoned off and kept from voting as the royal procession of Clinton, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh their assorted security entourage were given way into the polling places.
Major news outlets have hounded the Secretary of State’s office with questions about how they interpret Clinton’s behavior or intentions. Unbelievably, as the Boston Globe quotes, Secretary of State Galvin didn’t seem too bothered by it all explaining, “He can go in, but he can’t approach voters,” Galvin said. “We just took the extra precaution of telling them because this is not a usual occurrence. You don’t usually get a president doing this.”
But Brian McNiff, the assistant for the Secretary had a different take earlier in the day, according to Boston.com, “McNiff was asked if Clinton’s presence would, on its own, constitute a solicitation.
“He’s a well known person. And he’s a spouse of a candidate,” McNiff said. “That should answer the question.”
He declined to further elaborate.”
Unfortunately once Secretary Galvin made his judgment clear to the press, the press then backed off and the dismissal was no more apparent than the top-running story on Google this evening posted by CNN Politics wherein Mr. McNiff, clearly stepping back in line told CNN that “…shaking hands alone isn’t prohibited. Explicit campaigning is what’s banned within 150 feet of a polling places.
“Just meeting people doesn’t constitute campaigning,” McNiff told CNN. “We received no information that anything like that happened.”
His office said it reached out to the Clinton campaign Tuesday “just to remind them about the 150 foot rule.”
So long after the fact, long after Clinton and his entourage had paraded through polling places barricaded to enable him to shake hands, kiss babies and little old ladies, coming into the polling places to thank poll workers, Clinton was kindly reminded of election law. Just in case this beginner in the ways of electioneering might forge, we suppose.
As Galvin admitted, one doesn’t usually have the experience of a presidential candidate having a spouse that ran the country as president for two terms. No other presidential candidate or figure has ever had a spouse that just by virtue of their presence sends a message of Democratic and presidential power like Bill Clinton, much less the typical controversy and celebrity. No other individual, certainly not a first lady, acting in such a close relationship to a candidate has gone and “worked” the polls the way Clinton did.
And on Super Tuesday, one could argue that there was no more contested or symbolic state than Massachusetts. No other state could, if turned to Sanders, signal their possible defeat in all of New England. No other state in the union has the legacy of Democratic power and strength than Massachusetts, no other state holds the tradition of establishment liberalism, than possibly California.
The Clintons knew they would have the south in the bag, but they knew that Massachusetts, as shown the night of the election as the returns bounced back and forth between Sanders and Clinton would be a bitter fight to the end. They also knew they had an advantage; a tag team that could make that personal appearance, jump in the ring at the last minute and put the Sanders campaign in a twist with that final deadly move.
What’s most disturbing remains the fact that despite this flagrant violation of standard election law, officials decide to turn a blind eye. With Trump’s making his presidential pitch sound more and more like a fascist take-over by an infomercial star and now this, one has to wonder does the slide down the slope get faster from here?
The Democratic National Committee has started a petition with Change.org to demand that Clinton’s forfeit their Massachusetts delegates: