She has made a national crusade of the Flint crisis, seizing on it as a matter of racial and economic inequality and government malfeasance. It is also a cause celebre for liberal activists that Clinton has harnessed faster than Sanders, and one that allows her to leverage her advantage with black voters whose support comes into play more heavily in the states that vote after heavily white Iowa and New Hampshire.
“Clinton intends to use her trip to Flint to discuss the urgent health issues confronting the city's residents and to urge the Republican-led Senate to approve the Senate Democrats' $600 million amendment to help Flint,” a Clinton aide said Thursday.
Clinton highlighted the Flint crisis during a Democratic debate last month in South Carolina, alleging that if wealthy white children were being poisoned the crisis would be getting more attention. Earlier, she had dispatched two top aides to the rust-belt city to meet with the mayor and begin a lobbying effort for money and attention.
“Clinton's visit follows several weeks of action to help bring attention to the crisis in Flint,” said the aide, who requested anonymity to discuss some details of Clinton’s previously unannounced visit.
Clinton had called on Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) to agree to accept federal resources from the Obama administration, and she takes credit for his reversal on that point. Her campaign also alleges that while Sanders called for the governor’s resignation he did little or nothing to resolve the underlying problem.
Flint, which is predominantly African-American, also figured in a bureaucratic tussle over adding debates to the previously thin democratic primary calendar. Clinton proposed that if debates were to be added, one should be in Flint. Sanders initially balked but then agreed. That debate will take place next month.
“While she will leave New Hampshire on Sunday to make this trip to Flint, Clinton will still be campaigning in New Hampshire every day between now and the primary,” the aide said.