Declassified: NEA’s Case for Hillary

You probably thought we were all done with the Podesta e-mails, but here is a final foray into the stacks, at least as they relate to the National Education Association.

This one was forwarded by NEA executive director John Stocks to Podesta on October 7, 2015. It was a memo with an attachment from NEA president Lily Eskelsen García to the presidents of AFSCME, SEIU and the AFL-CIO. It read:

Subject: CONFIDENTIAL: NEA’s Presidential Primary Recommendation


It was nice to see you this afternoon to discuss our collective efforts to prepare for Friedrichs. I just came through a week of leadership meetings with our State Presidents and Board of Directors as you may know. While our conversations over here about the Presidential primary were not without thoughtful dissention (sic), at the end of the day, my leaders were convinced that recommending Secretary Clinton was the right choice. I know that you all are facing very similar dynamics in your own houses that we are facing inside ours, so I wanted to share the PowerPoint that I used to walk through the argument in case it’s useful to you. I ask that you not post it externally, but rather use whatever is helpful to you.

As an aside, Secretary Clinton hit it out of the park over here. She was gracious and personable and didn’t hesitate when I asked her to come. And our folks saw what they needed to see and have been waiting for: a strong leader who has four decades of experience and passion for the issues they care about most. On the pragmatic side, one of the most compelling arguments that folks repeated again and again was the impact of the top of the ticket on down ballot races. All of my folks are tired of living in the post-2010-Walker-Kasich-Snyder-et al world and certainly don’t want to lose more ground in gubernatorial and state legislative races in 2016.

I am convinced that the longer the progressive community waits to make a choice, the longer the Koch Brothers’/GOP have to weaken the strongest candidate in the field.

In unity,


I have posted the PowerPoint as a PDF file on my site, and you can also access it through EIA’s Declassified page.

There was never much chance that NEA would endorse Sanders instead of Clinton, but the union accomplished none of the things it promised by endorsing Clinton so early.

It is often said that generals are always fighting the last war, even though circumstances have changed. NEA’s leaders were determined not to repeat the experience of the 2008 primaries, when they failed to choose between Obama and Clinton until the race was decided. This time they committed the union to the logical candidate, but also to a flawed campaign strategy. Now the union will suffer the consequences of their leaders’ miscalculation.