Coming to terms with Hillary: what anti-Clinton Democrats should know about the current state of the election
Last Tuesday, at the New Jersey Democratic Presidential Primary, I cast my vote for Bernie Sanders, along with 323,258 other New Jerseyans. But with a 26% deficit against Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state ended up clinching the nomination as the presumptive Democratic nominee, by both bound delegates and unbound superdelegates.
I’ll avoid taking the holier-than-thou “I supported Bernie before it was cool” route in describing my support for Sanders, but I’ll say that I’ve planned on voting for him since his campaign was officially announced in the spring of 2015. My support for him was never based in any way on a distaste or dislike of Clinton. Though I acknowledge she’s hardly a perfect candidate — heck, is anyone? — I’ve always thought the hatred for her was undeserved, if not rooted in the fact that her career has been built on being a strong female voice in a system of male ones.
So here, I’m going to take a stab at several claims I’ve seen in the last week or so all over social media — claims which either belittle Clinton’s status as presumptive nominee, argue for Sanders’s continuing candidacy, and statements which generally show misunderstanding in the electoral process as a whole.
Case 1: Hillary Clinton isn’t the “first female presidential nominee”
So right off the bat, I’ll say that I have no problem with her using her status as “first female presidential candidate for a major party.” But several people take issue with this label; some third-party-inclined voters point to candidates like the Green Party’s Jill Stein as proof of this as Yet Another Clinton-Manufactured Lie!™
But if a candidate gets on a state’s presidential ballot and no one is there to see it, does it really matter in the end? Sure, female candidates like Stein launched third-party presidential bids and got their names on ballots, but if they don’t make a difference in the greater electoral process, what relevance do they have in political history at all?
As for arguing that other countries like Germany, India, the United Kingdom or Israel did the same feat well before Clinton ignores her entire point. Women in America haven’t even had the right to vote for 100 years, and the fact that it’s taken us this long to get a major party candidate a nomination for president says a lot about the achievement that this news was.
An achievement that’s, unfortunately, still being ignored by some.
Case 2: Hillary Clinton hasn’t clinched the nomination yet
This one argument has gone on for seemingly this entire electoral process, and I’m sure won’t be over even after the convention.
In the wake of Clinton clinching both the amount of pledged superdelegates as well as bound, elected delegates, the only argument people have left to make for the fact that it’s not technically over for Sanders is that the delegates haven’t voted yet.
Come December, when we’ll likely already know who the winner of the general election is, no
Case 3: Hillary Clinton might get indicted
And Trump might get lost in the Himalayas.
Really, there’s no evidence that Clinton has anything to be indicted on. People said the same thing about Benghazi when those hearings dominated the news and, sure enough, the prosecution had no real dirt on her.
That looks like the case with her email account too. Sure, there are a lot of unknown factors in this case still, but as far as the information that’s been released so far, all of the classified information discussed on Clinton’s private email account was done so retroactively. And as such, nothing tells us that fact is about to change.
Most of the charges you see brought up against her on this topic, like with the Benghazi investigation, was from opponents of hers specifically looking to discredit or undermine her political career. Even Bernie Sanders has publicly refused to talk about them much. So, as such, refusing to vote for a presidential candidate because she did something a little irresponsible (but hardly criminal) is probably more irresponsible than anything she did in this case.
Case 4: Hillary Clinton is a worse candidate than Bernie Sanders against Trump
This is the most factually-based argument of this bunch, since according to current polling data, this fact holds true.
But general election season has just started to heat up, and the Democratic race still technically has two candidates campaigning for the same nomination. A lot of Sanders supporters haven’t resigned yet to the fact that Hillary Clinton is the presumed Democratic nominee, and many haven’t yet begun seriously thinking about shifting their support over to Clinton yet.
In short, a lot of Sanders voters are still undecided over whether or not they can come around to vote for Hillary, since many of them are still in denial over whether or not she’s clinched the nomination.
And besides that, it’s still June. There are still five months separating us from the general election — that’s almost the length of two trimesters. The embryo of this year’s general election has hardly taken a distinct shape yet.
On Tuesday, if the news punditry and internal Washington speculation holds true, Bernie Sanders will suspend his campaign, with a win or loss in the D.C. primary. And if you’re supporting Sanders and his beliefs at all, you’re more than likely (hopefully) repulsed by the idea of Donald Trump stepping foot in the Oval Office. So put away whatever negative feelings you’ve built up for Hillary Clinton, and maybe even look into the fact that maybe your dislike of her isn’t so warranted after all.
If you’re not completely ready for Hillary yet… well, maybe it’s time to get used to her.