Politics is an ugly game. In an ideal world people would simply be upfront, honest and run on what they want to do and that’s all that people would care about. Thankfully, when it comes to the battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders we’ve seen less of this than normal, but it’s still there. Though when it comes to clashes between the supporters of each candidate, things have gotten pretty heated over the last few months.
I’ve made it clear from the beginning that, while I am a Clinton supporter, my number one priority is to make damn sure Republicans don’t win the White House in November. In fact, I’ve stated my opinion that anyone who’s planning to throw a hissy fit and not vote for the eventual nominee this November because they didn’t get their way forfeits their right to ever call themselves a progressive, liberal or any supporter of causes for the left. If you’re so immature that you’d risk health care for millions (many of whom are children), gay rights, women’s rights, our advances on climate change and the Supreme Court for the next 20-30 years because you’re a self-absorbed child, then I have no respect for you. To me, you’re nothing but absentee Republicans giving the GOP exactly what they want.
As a straight white Christian male – I’ll most likely be just fine under a Republican president. In fact, as someone who covers politics, I would probably make more money with Republicans running things. But I damn sure don’t want that to happen because I know what’s at stake. I will gladly vote partially against “my own interests” if that means my vote helps others. I vote for Democrats and fight for progressive causes to protect the rights of women, atheists, Muslims, homosexuals, transgender people, minorities, the poor and everyone whose lives might be instantly impacted by the bigotry and ignorance that drives the Republican party.
That being said, I thought I’d list a quick summary as to why I would gladly vote for either candidate and also what each candidate does that annoys me the most. I’ll stay away from actual policy positions and stick to the personal qualities or behavior of each candidate.
I’ll start out with what I like first:
Hillary Clinton: While I’ll be the first to admit she’s not perfect, I admire Hillary Clinton. This is someone who’s been relentlessly bashed and attacked by Republicans for over two decades – especially the last few years. While some might argue that President Obama has been scrutinized more than she has, I don’t think it’s even close. She can’t say or do anything where it’s not dissected and torn apart by the media mostly because negative stories about Hillary drive revenue. She can’t even raise her voice without being accused of “yelling.” Yet despite all of this, she’s still here – fighting. She’s devoted most of her career to defending women’s rights, education, and to break down barriers for women in politics. She redefined what it meant to be a “First Lady.” I don’t care how big your ego is (and every presidential candidate has to have an ego), you have to be one strong person to endure what she has over her career and volunteer for more. Many Sanders people have said she clearly feels “entitled” to the Democratic nomination – that’s ridiculous. If anything, should she become the Democratic nominee, she will probably have endured more hateful and hostile attacks than any other candidate before her.
Despite what many people think, she is probably one of the most qualified candidates to ever run for president. She has a career fighting for liberal causes despite what some say about her (and the facts back it up even if those pushing the anti-Clinton rhetoric don’t want to believe in those facts) and I think she would make an incredible president.
Bernie Sanders: Like Clinton, Bernie Sanders is also flawed, but overall I think he’s a good man. I think in a lot of ways his ideas are where the Democratic party – and this country – is headed. Unfortunately for him, progress in this country moves like a glacier, not a rocket. If he were to become president, I have no doubt that he wouldn’t hesitate to stand up to Republicans or call them out on their obstructive shenanigans and petty partisan politics, which is something I wish President Obama had done more of during his time in office. He has a long career of mostly being on the “right side” of the issues and in many ways exemplifies what politics should be about by focusing on grassroots support and campaigns funded by people. While I have concerns about what he would actually be able to accomplish as president, I have no doubt that if his goals were to fail, it would be because voters didn’t give him the Congress he needed to succeed (which is the problem for many Democratic presidents), not because he didn’t fight for those policy changes.
Now on to what I don’t like:
Hillary Clinton: I get it, she’s a woman. But that doesn’t mean a single woman “owes it” to her to support her simply so she can become our nation’s first female president. While it would be incredibly historic, and I can understand why many want to see this nation elect a woman, this subtle “women owe it to her” message that’s prevalent with some of those who’ve supported her does seem condescending at times. When I voted for Barack Obama I didn’t do that because he would be our nation’s first black president – I did it because I thought he was the better choice and the person I wanted to see as our next president. Just like I don’t support Hillary because she’s a woman.
However, I do fully admit that there has been plenty of sexism thrown her way during this campaign. As I’ve said before, if she made the faces Sanders makes during these debates, as well as wagging her finger at debate moderators, she would be crushed by the media whereas it’s almost never brought up with him. But I think it’s a bit disingenuous for this message to be put out there by some of those supporting her that all women should support her because she’s a woman.
Hell, I’ve even been called “sexist” recently by a Hillary supporter because I told this particular woman that she was trying too hard to find sexism in any criticism, which wasn’t fair and it did a disservice to real sexism. I quickly got accused of being a sexist and sarcastically thanked for “mansplaning” life to her.
Yup, that actually happened.
Bernie Sanders: While his supporters will clearly disagree, I believe Sanders is a bit of a hypocrite. He’s said for months that he’s going to run a campaign on the issues, which he mostly has. However, while he’s spent months attacking Clinton’s vote on the Iraq War, or her ties to Wall Street, whenever her campaign has brought up his five votes against the Brady Bill (which is a policy issue), his vote to deregulate Wall Street (which did happen in 2000) or the fact he voted to protect gun sellers from legal consequences (also happened), he’s painted her as “going negative” and “desperate.” Yet all she did was use past policy stances that he’s supported – just like he’s done to her.
Or just look at the comments he made about her cozying up to President Obama being about “pandering to black voters.” First, all politicians – including Bernie Sanders – pander for votes. Let’s not forget that Sanders has been dragging Cornel West and Killer Mike around with him through southern states for a reason. So for him to accuse her of doing something that he’s doing (he said this on BET in an interview he clearly did to try to pander to black voters) is incredibly hypocritical. Especially considering the Clintons have been supported by African Americans long before Barack Obama became president.
But this also ties into the attitude Sanders has where he doesn’t say he’s better than other people, but he often implies it. If someone doesn’t support him, such as Planned Parenthood, he labels them “part of the establishment.” He also gave his “litmus” test on what is or isn’t a “progressive” – as if he defines progressivism. And if you look at what he listed as part of his “qualifications” to be called a progressive, guess what? He was essentially the only person in all of Congress who met every single one.
Alright, I’ll wrap it up there for the sake of time.