I don’t intend for this blog to be political on a regular basis, with the exception of women’s rights topics that more closely relate to sisterhood. However, I’ve had a political storm a-brewin’ in this brain of mine for several months now and I just need to get it out and be done with it. And this is the venue I have available, so . . .
Disclaimer: If you’re a political conservative, please feel free to just skip this post all together or skip to the conclusion. I am primarily writing this for readers with a progressive bent. I am in no way, shape, or form trying to convince you that Hillary Clinton is the best choice for established political conservatives. That’s not to say that you are not welcome to read on. Please just know that once I have this off of my chest, I will return to my regularly scheduled program exploring sisterhood and connection in the modern world.
All right. So a little background. I feel like I was one of the only Dems I knew this year who really had no clue who I wanted to vote for in the primary. I agonized over my choice. I’ve never warmed up to Hillary, but I couldn’t quite shake my feeling of unease that Bernie’s more progressive policies were based on a hypothetical revolution that I saw very little evidence of. I read articles. I consulted people I trust. I finally came to the conclusion that given the role of the legislature vs. the President, the policies that were ultimately passed would most likely be remarkably similar regardless of which one was elected. So when it came time for the Wisconsin primaries, I ultimately voted for Bernie based on the fact that he was polling better against Republican candidates.
However, the primary went in a different direction, and given that I wasn’t super committed to either candidate, I’ve been comfortable with the idea of voting for Hillary Clinton. Well, you can imagine how that’s gone over with the significant number of Bernie or Busters that a young progressive gal such as myself knows. Every post I look at, every article I read, echoes with angry cries of “Sellout!” every time another progressive gets behind Hillary.
You know what? I’m not even trying to convince anyone that they should vote for Hillary. Y’all need to vote your conscience. I truly believe that. But I’ve reached the end of my sanity with the implication that nobody could ever possibly find a reason to vote for Hillary. The woman was a U.S. Senator and Secretary of State and has decades of progressive work to her credit for crying out loud. So I set out to create a list of 50 reasons I personally am choosing to vote for Hillary Clinton.
Here were my rules: 1) None of my reasons could be that she’s not Donald Trump. It’s an insult to Hillary and all of her accomplishments to imply that that’s the only thing going for her. 2) None of my reasons could be based on her being a woman. Yes, they could be feminist reasons – because there are some awesome male feminists out there, too – but no reasons that are based purely on her sex. 3) None of my reasons could be based on her husband’s record as President. Again, it’s an insult to imply that she hasn’t accomplished enough on her own professionally to make her a qualified candidate. Also, I tried to include documentation where relevant, but I do have limitations on time. So if you need proof to believe that she supports common sense gun legislation, you can look that up on your own.
Again, I’m not trying to sway anyone’s vote. But given the aggressive and often nasty atmosphere out there, I do feel like I’ve been put in a position of needing to explain how a young(ish) progressive female could choose to vote for Hillary. So here we go:
1.When I took an extensive quiz during the primaries to see which candidate I best lined up with, Hillary was the candidate who best represented my values and political priorities.
I don’t remember the exact percentages, but I scored above 80% with both Clinton and Sanders, but I was 1% closer to Clinton. I think this goes to show how close their general policies are.
2.She was raised in a Republican family, considered herself a Republican in early adulthood, and was brave enough to question her beliefs and begin identifying as a Democrat.
I can personally identify with that. Funny story that makes this entire post super ironic: When Bill Clinton was elected in 1992, I was nine years old. Based on the rhetoric I heard from my Republican family during the election, I actually started sobbing when I heard the election results because I thought it meant we were facing certain apocalypse. Oh, how times have changed . . .
3.She is intelligent and well educated.
She got her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College and her law degree from Yale.
4.She has a history of fighting for children.
6.She was rated the most honest candidate of the 2016 primary season by Politifact.
I’m not saying you have to like the lady, but #crookedhillary? Not so much.
I also liked this article: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/28/hillary-clinton-honest-transparency-jill-abramson
7.She knows exactly what she’s getting herself into. And she wants it anyways.
8. She understands the American political system and how it works.
While some people consider Trump’s total lack of political experience an advantage, I feel safer and more secure having a President who is familiar with at least the basics of the U.S. political system. Her experience as a Senator for the state of New York and Secretary of State will serve her well as President.
9.When she lost the 2008 primary to Obama, she threw her support behind him and worked to get him elected.
10.She supports down ballot candidates.
I feel like both #9 and #10 speak to her being a team player, and I really like that.
11.She has relationships and connections with Democrats throughout the government that will allow her to get the job done as President.
I think this letter signed by female Dems in the Senate asking her to run for President is a great example of the network she has available to help her get things done.
12.I especially appreciate that Elizabeth Warren signed the above letter asking her to run for President.
Because, really, how do you NOT love Elizabeth Warren?
I inherently trust Obama. (I know that will make conservatives shudder, but it’s true. I do.) If Clinton had been a horrible, incompetent Secretary of State, he could have gotten away with a halfhearted endorsement, but he seems to be genuinely supportive of her candidacy. And that makes me trust her more.
14.She has strong foreign policy experience. She’ll be able to hit the ground running on day one.
Personally, I’d prefer for her to be less interventionist, but I don’t think the “hawk” label fits. I believe she prefers diplomacy as a first course of action, and that’s more than I can say for who I consider the true hawks.
15.She was the lead author on the Iran sanctions that ultimately made them willing to negotiate with the U.S.
Conservatives don’t like this deal, but I read into it at the time and the majority of nuclear experts were strongly in favor of it. Go, Hillary.
16.According to Harry Reid, she used her position as Secretary of State to advocate for women’s rights on a global level.
17.Because she has a vagina. Just kidding. That’s not a good reason to vote for someone. But you know what is? She plans on having half of her cabinet positions filled by women.
You don’t need a vagina to do this. Justin Trudeau did it in Canada, and it’s the right thing to do. Why? Because women are drastically underrepresented in government . We’re half the population and that should be reflected in leadership positions.
18.She will fight for equal pay for women.
Seriously, I can’t even believe this still needs to be a conversation.
19.She will nominate justices for the Supreme Court who will protect women’s sovereignty over their own bodies and healthcare.
20.She has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood for her commitment to women’s healthcare.
21.She put her reputation and career on the line to fight for universal healthcare in the 1990s.
22.If elected, she will work to extend healthcare coverage to those Americans who still don’t have it.
I’m seriously concerned about the health and well-being of the millions of Americans with preexisting conditions who might lose healthcare coverage if the ACA is repealed.
23.She wants to guarantee 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.
Let’s catch up with the rest of the world, shall we?
24.When she was in the Senate, she helped to expand FMLA to wounded soldiers and their families.
25.As a senator, she worked in favor of healthcare and quality of life issues for military veterans. To do this, she sometimes collaborated with Republicans.
We need to take better care of our veterans, and it’s going to take collaboration between both parties. Compromise is not the dirty word that modern political values have made it out to be.
26.She wants to make college more affordable for working and middle class families.
27.She supports less standardized testing in K-12 schools.
28.She supports better pay for teachers.
29.I don’t completely agree with her stance on charter schools, but I appreciate that she has called out the double standard of charter schools not being obligated to educate our most challenged students.
30.Under her platform, my family’s taxes would stay the same, but we would have increased help and services like college affordability and paid family medical leave.
Sanders plan would have raised our taxes. This would have been manageable if all of his campaign promises passed, like free college for my children and universal healthcare. However, those policies depended on state cooperation. Coming from Wisconsin, where the governor has already turned down federal dollars, there is a decent chance we would have seen increased taxes but still been bearing a financial burden for college and healthcare. This could have seriously hurt us financially. While Hillary’s plan also requires state cooperation, at least we’re not at an added financial disadvantage due to higher taxes.
Our taxes would be slightly lower under Trump’s plan, but I believe that his financial policies would hurt the economy sufficiently that it would more than cancel out whatever small sum we would save. I don’t mind paying taxes in return for services that help the American economy and community, but I couldn’t have afforded to pay higher taxes for services that might not have been available in my state.
31.She will raise taxes on the very wealthy.
Given the uneven distribution of wealth in the U.S. right now, I think it makes sense for our country for the people who have most benefited from the system to invest back in it.
32.She supports increasing the minimum wage.
Yes, there was a raging debate regarding Hillary’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $12/hour vs. Bernie’s platform of $15/hour. I actually agreed with Hillary on this one in terms of a federal baseline. While $15/hour is probably totally appropriate for some areas of the United States, I believe it was high for places with a more reasonable cost of living. And it makes more sense to me for the federal minimum wage to reflect the lower end and then allow communities with a higher cost of living to raise the minimum wage locally.
This is a moot point now that Democrats have compromised and agreed to advocate for the $15/hour minimum wage, but for me, the important point is that Hillary – regardless of whether the platform states $12 or $15 – supports a more reasonable wage for American workers.
33.She believes in unions and wants to restore collective bargaining rights.
This is huge for states like Wisconsin, where unions have been under attack from Republican governors.
34.She wants to promote immigration reform that will make it easier for families to stay together.
35.People of color overwhelmingly support her.
One of the most disturbing things to me during the Democratic primaries were the myriad comments I witnessed from white Bernie supporters that boiled down to something like this: “If black people knew what was best for them, they would vote for Bernie.” There was also the corresponding, “If women knew what was best for them, they would vote for Bernie,” but that’s beside the point here.
The point is that people of color in America are at a turning point in their fight against systematic discrimination. As a middle-class white woman, I can’t completely understand everything they’re going through right now, but racial equality is a priority for me, and I believe that people of color are in the best position to choose a President who can lead our country through this time of transition. And Hillary beat Bernie (and is now wiping the floor with Trump) when it comes to people of color.
36.She told white people – correctly – that they need to listen better when people of color share their experiences with racism.
Even though it’s not a popular thing to say, it’s true. White people can’t know what it’s like to be a person of color in this country. And the only way to increase our understanding is to listen. It’s uncomfortable to hear, but – again – it’s true.
37.She supports LGBTQ rights.
Look, I would love it if Hillary had come out of the womb waving a rainbow flag and arguing for equal rights for all of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Unfortunately that’s not the case. But, like most of America, Hillary’s ideas about the rights of LGBTQ people have evolved and she is now on the right track. Again, I admit that she’s made mistakes in the past here, but when I’m voting for the President now, I’m most concerned about which laws she’ll support and which ones she’ll veto. And I agree with her current policies.
38.She has a strong record in favor of common sense gun laws.
This is one of my top issues, and Clinton was clearly the leader across both parties on this one.
39.She opposes drilling in the Arctic and developing oil and gas off the Atlantic Coast (although I wish she took a harder line on fracking).
40.She has set strong renewable energy goals.
Clinton’s goal is that by 2027 one-third of our electricity will be renewably sourced. This goal even surpass Obama’s goals for renewable energy.
41.She may get money from corporate America, but when pressed in a debate to name a vote that was affected by her donations, Bernie Sanders couldn’t name any.
42.She has committed to calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
Overturning Citizens United would be huge. And in my opinion, campaign finance reform is necessary groundwork for breaking out of a two-party system. Voting third-party in this election – before basic campaign finance reform is in place – isn’t going to create the system-wide change that people are hoping for. And you can bet your ass that Trump won’t address Citizens United.
43.She ran on a more realistic platform even though it wasn’t as exciting.
I think there is a strong element of truth telling to that. It would have been easier to excite voters with a platform based on a presumed political revolution, but she based her policies on continuing the existing trajectory. I think there is an argument to be made that this was a more honest and straightforward approach to political promises.
44.She’s willing to listen to voters and adjust her policies appropriately.
Can we cut it out with this “flip flopper” bull shit already? My first recollection of the whole “flip flopper” phenomenon is Bush vs. Kerry in 2004 and it feels like just as much bull shit to me now.
When we have a democratic system, the government is built to reflect changes in public opinion. Bernie Sanders ran as a Democratic nominee for President precisely because he wanted to affect the Democratic platform and move it in a more progressive direction. And I think we were all surprised by how much public support there was for some truly progressive ideas. So Hillary Clinton listened and adjusted her platform to better reflect the will of the American people. That’s not “flip flopping.” That’s not proof that she’s a liar. That’s the democratic system and how it’s supposed to work. Good for her for being willing to listen and adapt. Can you imagine if politicians were only able to pick their positions once and then never adjust them? It would suck and it would hinder progress.
46.If the progressive movement initiated by Bernie Sanders is able to get traction down ballot and get progressive candidates in the House and Senate, Hillary is more likely than Trump to sign the legislation rather than veto it.
I agreed with a lot of Bernie’s platforms. That’s why I voted for him. And his platforms, for the most part, were very similar to Hillary’s. If his revolution were to take off and create change in the legislature, I would want a President in office who will support it. That would be Hillary.
47.She’s cool, calm, and collected under pressure.
I don’t find her temperament very engaging, but I think it is entirely appropriate for one of the most powerful leaders in the world. That said . . .
48.She’s not afraid to fight back.
49.She’s got grit.
Say what you will, but Hillary has been through situations – the Monica Lewinsky debacle, for instance – that would leave most of us curled up in fetal position in the corner. But she keeps going and keeps pursuing a public life. That takes some seriously impressive grit.
50.I like her slogan: “We are stronger together.”
American individualism has its limits. At some point, if we’re going to thrive as a country, we need to come together and tackle our challenges collectively. I believe this wholeheartedly, and I think that Hillary does too.
There you have it. Fifty reasons why I’ll gladly vote for Hillary in November, even if I’ve never been a huge fan of hers. Is she perfect? Of course not. Bernie wasn’t a perfect fit for me either. How many candidates would we need to 100% satisfy millions of American voters? I’m guessing millions, and that’s not how our system works. So I pick the viable candidate whose policies best align with my values. Pretty simple.
More importantly, I want to take this opportunity to say that if you read this far and you completely disagree with everything I’ve said . . . that’s ok. I still consider you a sister (or brother), and I still consider you worthy of love and respect. What a boring world this would be if we all had exactly the same opinions, right?
And when it comes right down to it, as much power and influence as the President of the United States has, for many of us it doesn’t have nearly as much power over our day-to-day lives as local influences. Things like knowing your neighbor’s name and being there to help them out when they’re locked out of the house. Or having a sister down the street who you can hang out and have coffee with while your kiddos play. Or knowing a neighbor kid you trust to stop by and feed your fish when you’re on vacation. Yes, it’s good to be informed and active in national politics – it’s extremely important to me – but for the most part, our daily lives can transcend the petty nature of partisan politics and create some beautiful, truly connected communities that don’t have to be either red or blue.
Love and peace, sisters.