Saying Yes to Hillary Clinton: Part One
Reason: I am a Democrat and so is she.
Before and during the primary season, I voted for Bernie Sanders. I always knew that Hillary would be the one to get the nomination, but I voted for Bernie because I liked him, I liked his policy ideas, and I wanted the Democratic Party to become more progressive. I knew that supporting him would encourage that progress more than simply supporting Hillary from the start. And it did.
When it was officially time to shift to the party’s nominee, I didn’t have an issue with voting for Hillary. I know a lot of people who did and who still do. Most have shifted to her since then, but some will not shift to her. I understand why they feel that’s necessary and I respect that they have made that decision. That being said, I was always going to go with the Democratic nominee. That’s not because I’m a turncoat, a “neoliberal” or a fake progressive or any of the things that some former Bernie supporters have chosen to label people who are now “with her” campaign. It’s because I am a Democrat. Sorry, but that’s what I am. I am extremely far-left on political and economic issues, but when it comes to my party identity, I am a Democrat.
My parents are Democrats — though my father once identified as a very liberal Republican until around the time that Barack Obama was elected — and members of my family have been in the party since the first years of the nation after the Revolutionary War. I know this because many in my family have either helped to found it or have helped run it throughout the centuries. I descend from several prominent families from the Democratic Party and its antecedent the Democratic-Republican Party. (Yes, I know that the split was related to Andrew Jackson, who was close friends with an uncle of mine, Judge John Overton.) I do not agree with all of the things that my Democratic relatives have supported over the years. But my ties to the Democratic Party are extensive and they are a key part of who I am. Even though a majority of the people that I know in my life in Alabama are conservatives who identify as Republicans, I am a Democrat and, unless the party has a significant shift or unless I have one, I will be a Democrat until I die. I will admit that this might lead some to believe I am hypocritical because I tell Republicans that it is okay to vote against their party, but I do, on occasion, refuse to vote for certain Democrats. A major example of this in Alabama elections is if Parker Griffith is running. I don’t trust him and refuse to vote for him again. (He was a Democrat before becoming a Republican and then switching back to the Democratic Party again.) So this is not me being hypocritical, as I hold myself to the same standards that I ask those Republicans to hold themselves to.
I think that I could have seen myself voting in the general election for any of the primary candidates that were in Democratic presidential primary, but there were absolutely no Republican or third-party candidates that I could justify voting for.
Many within the Green Party push the idea of Hillary’s history as a moderate as being a reason against voting for her. While I understand why they feel that way, I also understand why being a centrist is key to winning this election. In a race when you’re fighting to appeal to people who aren’t on the far-right, it can actually be more appealing to the majority of Americans if you are known for being more to the center. I know that it may seem surprising to some people on the left that someone who identifies as far-left would happily endorse a centrist over someone who asserts herself as being more liberal, but Hillary and the Democratic Party can appeal just as much as the Green Party to some of us. I’ve even done the completely unscientific thing of taking an online quiz to figure out who an algorithm thinks I should vote for. And I am familiar with those who are on the left and right telling me that no true liberal or leftist would vote for Hillary Clinton. Well, sorry, guys, but this one will be voting for her.
I do not believe that Jill Stein is fit to be the President. I have read about her positions on things like vaccines, autism, and the dangers of WiFi signals, and I’ve seen her paint Vladimir Putin as a valuable ally to have. She doesn’t seem to be as pro-science and pro-civil rights as she claims to be. Besides that, she also engages in antics that are great if you’re an activist, but irresponsible as a politician.
Libertarians need not even try to convince me to sway to their side. While they claim to be for more social freedoms, the tendency toward siding with Republicans on economic issues is where they lose me. I do not believe that getting out of paying taxes while sacrificing the well-being of neighbors who depend on programs paid for by those taxes is a just idea. So I cannot justify to myself and my conscience voting for a party where the good of one person or one person’s family is automatically valued more than that of the rest of the community. I’ve had Libertarians try to explain the party’s worth to me, but I just can’t see it.
I’m also of the opinion that if a party’s nominee cannot identify where or what Aleppo is and the name of at least one foreign leader, then they are lacking in the basic knowledge you would hope that a President would have. Gary Johnson, to be honest, scares me whenever he’s interviewed because he doesn’t seem to understand what he’s talking about no matter the subject.
Republicans often suggest that the main reason I don’t support their candidate is that it is Donald Trump. While it is true that I cannot recall every liking Donald Trump, and can specifically recall that I thought he was an awful person when I was a child, I’m not not-a-Republican because of him. And I am not voting for Hillary Clinton because I do not like him. Aside from having Republican friends and knowing that there is a certain level of social pressure from people in my geographical area and people in my religion, I have absolutely no reason to vote for the Republican Party. I am a liberal, not a conservative. The Republican Party has no place for someone who is anti-death penalty, anti-war, pro-choice, pro-social programs, anti-gun, etc. The Republican Party has made that message clear of the years with its desire to court an increasingly conservative group of voters. When a party’s favorite argument is to denigrate liberals and their morals, it cannot hope to court them.
Donald Trump…How do I even begin to explain Donald Trump? Donald Trump is flawed. He’s been involved in thousands of lawsuits and doesn’t pay his taxes. I hear he’s been accused of multiple sexual assaults. I hear he doesn’t pay his employees, in this country and in places like Dubai. His favorite movie character is probably Gordon Gekko. One time, he paid a state attorney general who was investigating him for fraud. And she dropped the investigation not long after that. One time, he encouraged a supporters to punch people in the face. It was unpresidential.
Sorry, but sometimes Mean Girls says it best.
Hillary is a center-left candidate for a center-left party, and that might seem to be ill-fitting for me, but the Democratic Party and its candidates are the best shot that liberals/left-wing politics have on the national stage to effect progressive policies. She is running on the most progressive platform that this party has ever had. That is important. She did so with the help and the coordination of her primary season opponent, and the man I voted for at that time, Bernie Sanders. That sort of coalition is important, especially when you see other parties, i.e. the GOP, falling apart over their differences.
Unlike a candidate from another party, Donald Trump, Hillary has the support of the living Presidents — not just Democrats — including her former rival, Barack Obama, and one of the most liberal presidents ever, Jimmy Carter — but Republicans as well. That’s significant because it means that she can represent the needs of the Democratic voters while appealing to people across the aisle. That improves the likelihood of having a successful presidency in case that Republicans maintain control of the House and Senate. It also means that she can mend fences with individuals that she’s had previously adversarial positions against, whether those were on the campaign trail or during her time in the Senate under President George W. Bush. I know her ability to attract Republicans to her campaign is slightly off-topic here, but many on the left and right who don’t support her have suggested that her long-time ties to the Democratic Party and her temporary and/or long-term adversarial roles against Democrats and non-Democrats is a reason to vote against her. She has shown she can work with people who she doesn’t agree with 100% to help out her party and her country; and that is something that is almost essential in a national leader. Her ability to advocate on behalf of her party, while being respectful when working with members of opposing parties is definitely essential to a national leader.
With a Democratic president, I feel like, as a Democrat, I have representation in the highest office in the United States. I believe that Hillary would be an effective and great President for people within my party and for people outside of it. The nominees of other parties do not seem like they would represent me as a Democrat or as an American. That’s why, as a Democrat, I must support Hillary Clinton to become the 45th President of the United States.
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