We had high hopes for Bernie, the Occupy candidate. He brought new topics to the stage like wealth disparity, rent-seeking banksters and the corruption of politics through massive anonymous donations. He became the figurehead that leftie protesters had been missing and a rallying point for an otherwise disorganized anti-establishment movement.
But Sanders lacks the coalition building skills Clinton has demonstrated over the years. His only major piece of passed legislation required multiple runs and the eventual co-sponsorship of Republican war hero John McCain. He has bolstered his campaign by submitting lofty bills and posting Facebook memes, but none have passed. His foreign policy perspectives are naive; he knows few leaders even by name, and less about their complex agendas and alliances.
Clinton has served in an impressive number of roles, from First Lady to Senator to Secretary of State, and been effective in each job. Internationally, she was a key player in the successful Iran sanctions, bringing China into the Paris climate treaty, negotiating down Russia’s nuclear arsenal, nurturing a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, and rebuilding ties with Europe and other nations damaged by Bush era unilateralism. She’s a vocal proponent of women’s rights, children’s rights and basic human rights on the most resistant international stages like China and Russia and Uganda.
Domestically, she’s been a champion for health care — especially for children — for decades, contrary to current insinuations. She was instrumental in the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Adoption and Safe Families Act. Her work with the State Department has earned her continued praise from Sanders’ fellow Senator from Vermont.
Many of us would like to see Bernie’s “political revolution” but it’s not in the cards. Without sweeping changes to Congress next election he is in a position to accomplish less than Obama in his worst years dealing with Republican obstructionism. His plans don’t stand up to economic scrutiny, and they don’t take into account how markets will react to his policies. From health care to education to jobs, he is promising a chicken in every pot with no idea where to get the eggs. His posted “plan to pay for all this” is riddled with holes. His rhetoric is jingoistic, populist, and laced with toxic identity politics. Banks are evil, rich people are evil, every person deserves X, Y and Z.
If his revolution did occur, a Democratic Congress wouldn’t need him; any liberal stuffed shirt with a pen would do.
Hillary doesn’t promise the moon. Her platform includes realistic goals like appointing Supreme Court justices in favor of overturning Citizens United and forcing political contribution disclosures; her health, college and job proposals don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, nor require a trillion dollars minted from thin air. There’s overlap between her stated goals and Bernie’s, but she puts forth a progressive agenda that can be pursued even without a brand new Congress, and has demonstrated her ability to bring opponents together for the common good.
For these reasons and more, we reluctantly notch down our expectations of Sanders and endorse Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party nominee and the next President of the United States.
A saddening facet of this election is how much Sanders supporters play into Republican hands, denigrating Clinton at every opportunity. Benghazi, email servers, the other hogwash. It’s my personal hope that they don’t torpedo her hard-earned credibility to the extent Trump wins the general election.
Previously: steeleweed’s Populism for the coming darkness
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