My Endorsement of Hillary Clinton and My Plea to Protect Progress

What I am about to do may upset some people. I know that for a few of you, I am a source of political advice and a useful tool for keeping up with current events. While I am just a student and an occasional volunteer (for now) and my political opinion is negligible in the long run, I take what I put on social media very seriously. I put the utmost care and consideration into what I give opinions on and what those opinions and views are. Politics is the biggest part of my life. It’s a big reason as to why I wake up in the morning, and besides friends and family it’s what will get me through life. As many of you know, I have spent this primary season passionately supporting Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination. His views on healthcare, education, labor relations, and a host of other issues have inspired me because…well…they are my views. And I want to begin this post by saying that I am thrilled to hear that Senator Sanders will stay in the race until every state has voted. I believe his candidacy is more than a person. I believe it is a movement that will have both far-reaching and long-lasting impacts. I am a proud Democrat, and I hope that the Democratic Party will take on some of his platform after the primary is over. But this is not about Bernie Sanders for me any longer. This about my ideology. This is about my country and what I have wanted since the day I got into politics. I started this journey as a 14 year-old kid who was confused about his sexuality. I was worried about myself, but I was also worried about other LGBT people. After learning about their struggles, I chose a life of activism. It was all I wanted to do with my life. My past dreams of teaching English or becoming a game developer became so small when I felt the call to go into politics. My activism and passion for the LGBT community grew into a passion for the labor movement (especially after my father lost his job and I saw firsthand the struggle of economic disadvantage). That passion grew into another and into another until I knew I could no longer ignore the issues of the day and still be happy. That is why the 2016 election is so important to me. It feels like a culmination of all the struggles various groups have faced over the last several decades. The struggles that modern America faces, from climate change to LGBT discrimination in the workplace to the destruction of unions and workers’ rights to the erosion of women’s rights, show that this election is not about a person, but about a fundamental structure for American progress. The foundation that provide us the opportunity to move America forward, ones that our Founding Fathers, Democratic (and even some Republican) presidents have created, are about to be under attack from a viciously radical right-wing Republican Party led by a pathetically uninformed and dangerous populist named Donald Trump (or Ted Cruz if we are truly struck by terrible luck). Their destructive ideologies are fueled by discrimination, will set our hard-earned social progress back so many years, and include dangerous views on trade, international relations, economic fairness, labor rights, and rights for every minority that does not include the rich and white to name a few.

It is because of these threats and the current primary delegate math that I offer the strongest endorsement possible of Hillary Clinton. She is the only candidate remaining in this race who can win and will hold up the foundational pillars of progress that are steadily making America a true place of opportunity. While I understand better than anyone that she is not perfect, from her Hillary-come-lately views on LGBT rights to trade, she has done what so many politicians have done (including Barack Obama). She has made the right decision in the end. Latecomer to the right answer or not, coming to the right answer is the important part. While I wish President Obama and the Democrats would have gone further on issues like healthcare, foreign relations, and civil rights, I would be lying if I said I was not happy with the progress that was made. And I trust Hillary Clinton to not only uphold that progress in the face of Republican attacks, but to possibly extend it. Many will disagree with me on this entire premise. They will think I have backpedaled on my values. Well I would not make a political decision unless I believed in it 100 percent. Do I think Hillary Clinton will be efficient on issues of campaign finance or rejecting special interests in areas like Wall Street or fossil fuels? Possibly not, and that is why I continue to value the Democratic Socialist movement of Bernie Sanders and will carry its banner throughout my career, whatever path it may take me down. But despite Clinton’s political shortcomings, the alternative to her is so bleak it would break my spirit to see it infect the White House. I truly do not believe I am being overly dramatic when I say that. Other solutions to the radical right’s insurgency have been proposed, from staying home to writing-in Senator Sanders’s name on the ballot to urging him to run as an independent. These are false and politically misguided solutions. These “solutions” serve only to scatter votes and increase the likelihood of a Trump (or Cruz if God is the Devil in disguise) presidency. Our political revolution will never see the light of day if we split our efforts and open the Executive Branch to radical right-wing populism. If misguided uses of our right to vote contribute to the destruction of the pillars of progress, then the political revolution that Bernie Sanders proposes will be struck at the knees and will take many more elections to heal. If nothing else, Hillary Clinton will secure the foundation for future progress, and I happen to believe she will make the pillars stronger. I do not expect many to agree with my assessment here, but I plead that you at least consider my argument. This is my plea for the future of the country I love so dearly. This is my plea for what I believe is the country with the most potential on Earth.