On today's episode of Democracy Now!
A year ago today, President Obama sought congressional approval to attack the self-proclaimed Islamic State. The request came six months after the U.S. began bombing Iraq and Syria. The resolution imposed a three-year limit on U.S. operations but did not put any geographic constraints. It also opened the door for ground combat operations in limited circumstances. However, Congress has yet to hold the constitutionally mandated debate and vote on the war against ISIL. Instead, the strikes have been carried out using an outdated authorization passed by Congress in 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Now, over 20 members of Congress have sent a bipartisan letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan calling for a debate and vote on the multibillion-dollar war raging in the Middle East. We speak to one of the signatories, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). She’s the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Peace and Security Task Force and the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
After the New Hampshire vote, the focus of the Democratic race has largely become South Carolina. Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are making concerted efforts to win the state’s African-American vote. The Congressional Black Caucus PAC is expected to endorse Clinton today. Meanwhile, on Wednesday Sanders met with the Rev. Al Sharpton in Harlem and received an unexpected boost when acclaimed writer Ta-Nehisi Coates announced on Democracy Now! that he would vote for the Vermont senator. We talk to Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) about why she has not yet endorsed either candidate. She also points out today’s Clinton endorsement is coming from the Congressional Black Caucus political action committee, not the Congressional Black Caucus.
With Bernie Sanders’ double-digit victory over Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary and near tie with her in last week’s Iowa caucuses, it would seem that the race for the Democratic nomination would be neck and neck. But that is not the case. In New Hampshire, Sanders trounced Clinton 60 to 38 percent—but they split the delegates evenly thanks to unelected superdelegates siding with the former secretary of state. Overall, Clinton sits far ahead of Sanders when you factor in these superdelegates—the congressmen, senators, governors and other elected officials who often represent the Democratic Party elite. We speak to Duke professor David Rohde and Matt Karp, assistant professor of history at Princeton University and contributing editor at JacobinMag.com.