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Clinton needs to embrace grassroots

For months, I’ve helped run a weekly phone bank, knocked on doors, and annoyed the hell out of my friends and family while campaigning for Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton’s historic primary win is now a certainty. But I believe that ending our corrupt campaign finance system — an idea at the heart of Sanders’s campaign — must become central to Clinton’s campaign, too, because it is indispensable for victory in November. 

{mosads}This is the year of the outsider. Donald Trump won the Republican nomination, and Sanders has consistently polled better than Clinton against Trump in the swing states. So instead of shifting even further to the center, Clinton must cut her ties to the establishment: renounce the big-money bundlers, the $1,000-per-plate dinners and super-PAC involvement, and rely instead on millions of small-dollar donations, like Sanders has. Bringing in Sanders and Elizabeth Warren for this effort would certainly help. But, ultimately, the strongest small-dollar fundraiser would be Clinton herself — her boldness would convince many in the progressive wing that she is their candidate, too, and it would go a long way to uniting the Obama coalition behind her. It would be one of the biggest stories of the election, worth more against Trump in the Rust Belt than any millions she could raise with the Clooneys in Hollywood. 

In short, defeating Trump in November and building a genuinely people-powered Democratic Party are not mutually exclusive goals. They are one and the same. 

From Colin Beckman, Washington, D.C.

Public coal needs proper valuation

The Hill’s May 19 article “Coal war intensifies with Obama review” covered a commendably wide variety of perspectives on the Interior Department’s first federal coal program review in 30 years. One perspective that was missing was the impact on state economies’ well-being when coal mined on public lands is under-valued.

As a Christian organization, we are deeply concerned with the under-investment in our nation’s common goods: schools, libraries, roads and other shared services. When the socio-economic fabric of our communities falls apart, churches are often the ones to pick up the pieces and fill in the gaps.

Coal extracted from public lands is an important source of energy and revenue for the United States. Yet estimates show that from 2008 to 2012, coal companies underpaid royalties to the federal government by more than $620 million. In 2013, the Government Accountability Office discovered a lack of uniformity in how states price coal, and many impoverished communities were on the losing end of the transaction.

Christians believe “the Earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,” (Psalms 24:1). Therefore, we are stewards, not owners, of God’s creation. We are responsible for ensuring the gifts of God’s creation are rightly shared with all people and all species today, as well as with future generations. Properly collecting and sharing coal royalties with local communities is part of that.

From Shantha Ready Alonso, executive director of Creation Justice Ministries, Washington, DC 

The year of the write-in candidate?

Hillary Clinton is consistently surrounded by perceptions of untrustworthiness and corruption. Donald Trump displays a brash, in-your-face, bombastic personality, and Bernie Sanders espouses socialistic principles that have proved to be unworkable. These are the candidates for president of our country! How did this happen? Did we really do this to ourselves? Is this the best we can do? 

Before November, I hope we can all consider the track we are on and honestly evaluate what is best for our country. We may see a dramatic shift in write-in voting percentages.

From Tom Tyschper, Gilbert, Ariz.

Tags Bernie Sanders Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Hillary Clinton

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