Zimmerman Decision Starts to Impact Hillary Clinton, 2016 Democratic Field

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: July 18, 2013 3:55 AM

Hillary Clinton and Trayvon Martin

Clinton photo credit: Dana Nalbandian / Shutterstock.com

While Democrats are upset about the recent jury decision that found George Zimmerman not guilty, the field of candidates considering running for the presidential nomination in 2016 have been quiet on the issue.

A Rasmussen Reports poll released on Wednesday finds 48 percent of American adults agree with the decision while 34 percent disagree. The poll shows that Democrats sharply disagree with the decision. While 76 percent of Republicans agree with the decision, 59 percent of Democrats disagree with it and only 25 percent of Democrats agree with it.

Democratic officeholders across the nation have weighed in on the decision, expressing their disagreement with it. For example, U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., offered her thoughts in a statement Monday.

“I am heartbroken and angered by the verdict in this decision,” Brown said. “My prayers go out to the Martin family in their grief as they are faced to live with a justice system that has failed them, a system that did not exact even minimal punishment on the man who killed their 17-year-old son.

“This is a blatant example of our justice system being entirely broken,” Brown added. “Along with the NAACP and other civil rights groups, I pledge to fight for the removal of Stand Your Ground laws here in Florida and across the nation, and do everything within my power as a member of Congress to put an end to racial profiling. Last year, an innocent young man was killed in Sanford, Fla., while returning from a 7-11 grocery store, and the perpetrator was not even convicted of a crime ... clearly, there is something very wrong with a system of justice that legally sanctions such a heinous act.”

But there has been one group of Democrats who have generally been silent on the issue -- those who are angling for their party’s presidential nomination in 2016. There have been some exceptions but, for the most part, the possible White House hopefuls have remained silent.

On Tuesday night, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nomination if she enters the race, said Martin’s family was in her prayers but did not offer her take on the decision. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, who could run if Clinton stays out, had harsh words for the verdict but added the legal process must be respected. Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachuetts criticized the decision but, on Tuesday, announced he had no interest in running for the Democratic nomination. The rest of the possible hopefuls -- including the likes of Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland and others -- said even less.

They might not be able to stay on the sidelines much longer. Al Sharpton has announced that he plans to lead protests, including a march on Washington, demanding justice. While he took only 2 percent of the vote in the Democratic presidential primaries in 2004, Sharpton remains something of a power broker in the party and continues to influence public debate from his various media perches, including his show on MSNBC. With Sharpton and other prominent Democratic leaders continuing to focus on the aftermath of the Zimmerman decision, Democratic presidential hopefuls can expect to feel more pressure on the issue in the coming days. 

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at 904-521-3722.

Comments (14)

9:50AM JUL 18TH 2013
I keep hearing people refer to the Stand Your Ground law when discussing this case. This is incorrect, SYG was never argued as a defense. Self-defense was the argument. Repealing SYG will have no affect on self-defense cases in the future. As far as the prosecution team, I believe they could never overcome reasonable doubt for self-defense simply because they had no actual evidence to show otherwise.
I will agree with the numerous arguments that the whole incident could have been avoided if GZ had stayed in his truck. But, if that is true then it must also be true that TM could have also avoided it by continuing home instead of circling back to confront and batter GZ. When that occurred, TM lost 'victim' status and became a physical aggressor.
10:32AM JUL 18TH 2013
Yes, you must be far right . . . .SYG had NO IMPACT on this case . . . just like juror B-37 never said on CNN that they found Zimmerman Not Guilty "Because of the heat of the moment and the Stand Your Ground" . . . . nor did she make it clear that that not only was the Stand Your Ground law included in the jury instructions, but that the jury heavily considered that law in its deliberation . .

Nor do you KNOW how the fight started or what may have triggered the fight (e.g. a racial slur from Zimmerman, or Zimmerman knocking the cell phone out of Trayvon's hand, grapping his hoodie, etc. . . .) . . . .

So yes, you must be far right . . . peddling far right talking points and politics of the "Big Lie" . . . .

Pathetic . . .
12:51PM JUL 18TH 2013
My bad, I didn't realize you were an eye witness. I must have missed the day you testified.
4:53PM JUL 18TH 2013
The issue was whether SYG had any influence in this decision . . . it did . . . sorry you apparently can't read and comprehend . . . . perhaps you'd like me to quote the jury instructions that directly mention SYG . . . but then, I'm not you'd comprehend that either . . . . and perhaps you'd like to enlighten me on who besides the killer saw Trayvon start the fight . . . . oh that's right, we only have the word (but not even the testimony in court) of the killer that the other side started the fight . . . . that's why this law is so evil in its intent and merits . . .

Pathetic . . .
11:16AM JUL 18TH 2013
Your entire comment is "PATHETIC!"

It was OK when the jury found OJ not guilty, but not now?

The jury has spoken, get over it. Don't like our system? Move.....
4:56PM JUL 18TH 2013
Obviously you're not very well read on SSN the last few days or you'd be aware that I've already raised the OJ decision in a negative light . . . . and as to the love it or leave it shrill nonsense rhetoric, I'm sure there are many aspects to the laws in this country that you disagree with . . . which just makes you such a sad blundering hypocrite . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
11:06AM JUL 18TH 2013
The facts spoke loudly for this verdict. They had no case. You and the media so very much enjoy not discussing that TM was a hood. He had been suspended from school for fighting and truancy and had a violent nature and was a drug user. In fact, he had drugs in his system when this occurred. He was confirmed to have drugs in his blood when he attacked GZ plain and simple. But accepting the truth and the facts are so very difficult for the left leaners....and the left media which is most of it.

Sadly, the media is fanning the flames of racial tensions. The media is so unAmerican to do these things. They should be ashamed...
4:57PM JUL 18TH 2013
Yes, you must be far right --> "when he attacked GZ" . . . as someone falsely spun my comments on the issue, but which seem to fit right in here . . . "didn't realize you were an eye witness" . . . .

Feeble attempts all, here, guys . . . . try dealing with reality and actual facts, not easily demonstrated truthiness of the "Big Lie" . . . .

Pathetic . . .
12:53PM JUL 18TH 2013
4:42PM JUL 18TH 2013
Ah, fits right in with the George Zimmerman defense that it was all part of God's plan . . . but just to hit on your original question in this string, here's the text of a portion of the jury instructions on SYG (capitalization mine):

“If George Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in anyplace where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to STAND HIS GROUND and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

Guess you couldn't be bothered to do a little research . . . .

Pathetic . . .
9:26AM JUL 18TH 2013
The correctness of the verdict is the wrong question. Due to the inadequate, unprepared, ill-equipped, amateur and pathetic prosecution who botched the entire case and the incorrect charges leveled at "Z" there was no other possible verdict as they could no more prove their case than could a preschooler. Where was a Juan Martinez-type prosecutor? "Z" would now be in jail where he belongs never to see the light of day if they had a decent prosecutor.
10:42AM JUL 18TH 2013
Angela Corey = Mike Nifong.
7:58AM JUL 18TH 2013
The headline for the story is bogus, strictly political and thus under cuts the story. Under the current SUG law, a person can be the agressor and claim self defense. That is what Z did. If politicians, and idiots want to play politics it will shoot them in the foot.
7:10AM JUL 18TH 2013
For the past week, I have been suggesting that Republicans while running for office, challenge their Democrat opponent, and push hard for an answer to: "Was the Zimmerman verdict correct?" I think that the answer to that question will "Define the Candidate." Republicans can nationalize the Zimmerman verdict and Obama, Holder, Jesse Jackson, & Al Sharpton gave Republicans the ammunition to destroy the Democrats in almost all election. Local, school board, county, state, and national elections. Democrats and Liberals are seething venom and hate to the point they cannot reason any longer. So I guess putting the Racist-in-Chief in the White House has a silver lining.

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