Clinton vs. Sanders: Why I support Hillary

Patrick Murray's picture

Clinton vs. Sanders: Why I support Hillary

For over three decades she's been in the public eye fending off so-called scandal after scandal. She's fought off those who threatened to bring down her husband from her early days on the campaign trail all the way to the White House. She's fought off her Republican opponents who worked every step of the way to destroy her as First Lady to Secretary of State. And now she's trying to fend off a democratic-socialist who has the incredibly powerful grip of young people in the palm of his hands. Who is Hillary Rodham Clinton? What does she stand for? And why do I support her?

I've been a long supporter of Hillary Clinton going back as far as 2008. I am a political centrist. The word centrist terrifies the extreme left wing of the Democratic Party. But the truth is Clinton is going to win this nomination process outright because she has the most votes and the most pledged and super delegates. I'm bringing this up because if most Democrats are supporting Clinton that means a majority of the Democratic Party is still centrist. In fact, a majority of the country is still centrist. We still remain a very purple country that happens to lean to the left. This scares Bernie Democrats because they see the idea of centrism as surrender to all convictions. They see compromise as the enemy. They believe in order for there to be change it must be radical and it must be quick. The problem with the idea of running on ideological purity is that it defies reality and doesn't take into account the way the world or government works. Bernie Sanders has run on a hard left platform that has threatened and attacked the centrist wing of the Democratic Party. In 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama ran on a platform against the Patriot Act and against the Bush era tax cuts. But when he came into office he continued the tax cuts and the Patriot Act. But why did a Senator who was strongly against these things continue them? It was because he realized that it was easier to "run for office than to run the office". President Obama was dealing with a fractured foreign policy involving the war on terror and an economy on the verge of collapse. That caused the President to abandon what he ran on. Does that make him a liar? Not necessarily because he realized the job was more than just about political ideology. It meant he was a servant to protect the American people and to ensure the economy rebounded. The problem is Sanders supporters don't agree with the idea of centrism or compromising on anything. They believe in getting everything you want or nothing at all. But that's not how you run a country. Sanders supporters like to use the word "establishment" to describe Clinton. But what does that really mean? Does it mean someone who's been in public life longer? Because that would be Hillary Clinton. Does that mean someone who's been in elected office longer? Because that would be Bernie Sanders. Does it mean a philosophy that is against the usual ways of Washington? But then you have to ask how do you define usual? The truth is there isn't really a definition. And depending on whom you're talking to the definition varies.

I support Hillary Clinton because she understands it's not easy to do all the things Sanders wants to do overnight. It takes slow and meaningful change. Not because that's what Clinton supporters want. I'm sure if anything could be done overnight it would've already been done. But because most change in this country has taken years and even decades to achieve. She supports universal healthcare, but doesn't support Sanders's plan exactly because she saw how difficult it was to get the Affordable Care Act passed through the Congress. She understands the Congress and government is not ready to get thrown back in to a contentious debate on healthcare. Healthcare is an issue that every President since Harry Truman has had to tackle with. Clinton's foreign policy record might be mixed, but so is Sanders's record on foreign policy. After all, he supported a resolution to oust Gaddafi from power in Libya with Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ). He voted for a NATO-led effort to bomb Yugoslavia. He voted to go to War in Afghanistan, which was disaster just like Iraq. He supported getting rid of Saddam Hussein in 1998 while in the House of Representatives. These votes and his record don’t mean he's a bad guy. It just means he's not very honest about his record. If he wants to tout being against regime change his record should show that, but it does not. She voted for the War in Iraq like the 29 other sitting Democratic Senators including our own Vice President Joe Biden at the time. And Biden ran for President in 2008 as well and that vote wasn't questioned. But for Clinton it was. So it's essentially hypocritical.

Clinton also voted to negotiate a seize fire between Israel and Gaza. She worked hard to get LGBT families more rights and opportunities at the state department. She was also responsible for the first LGBT rights resolution put forward at the United Nation's and made it a top priority by the organization. She stood down the President of Uganda and said gay rights must be respected. In 1995, in spite of calls by the Clinton administration to not let her go to the women's rights summit in the People's Republic of China she went anyways. While she was there she famously said "Women's rights are human rights, and human rights are women's rights once and for all". That moment captivated a country and the world. She deserves credit for helping put women's rights at the forefront of China's human rights violations. Clinton also helped create an office at the Department of Justice to fight violence against women. She helped secure financial aid the helped to rebuild New York with help from the Bush administration in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. She helped the first responders get the healthcare they needed and deserved. She authored the Pediatric Research Equity Act, which required drug companies to put the impacts of medications for children on the bottles. She helped to raise the living standards at adoption centers for orphaned children. Plus, she fought to give eight million children healthcare through the Children's Health Insurance Program during the Clinton Administration. In 2009, when she came into office as Secretary of State she was told to visit the Middle East by the Obama Administration. This was a part of the world the Bush Administration had a badly strained relationship with. But instead she looked to the west towards the Asia-Pacific and decided to go to Japan, China, and India to express President Obama's efforts to rebuild our frayed alliances in that region. The Asia-Pacific was a deeply neglected part of the world during the Bush years. And President Obama and Secretary Clinton not only understood that, but also decided to go after the opportunities that the Asia-Pacific could provide to the United States. She also led the way to capture and kill Osama bin Laden. She helped the President form a plan and an operation in getting the former Al Qaeda leader. She helped create the Iran Nuclear Deal that took years to hash out. That deal will test Iran's nuclear capabilities and it's road to a nuclear bomb. She also fought to reduce Russia's nuclear stockpile through the START program.

Clinton is a supporter of a $12 minimum wage and wants to pressure states into making their own minimum wages based on their own cost of living. Sanders wants to impose a $15 minimum wage with no plan to phase it in that would hurt small businesses in the short run adjusting to such a policy. That's a bad policy and it won't work. Clinton supports a tuition-free college program that would require students to work 10 hours a week while going to school. What's so bad about teaching students the dignity and responsibility of work while learning new skills and going to college at the same time? I don't see an issue with that. While, Sanders wants to make a tuition-free program without any work requirements and no funding for vocational and technical programs. His program would also require the states to pay a portion of up to 30% for the program. That means Republican Governors would have the option to either increase the funds for the program or not at all. That's the wrong way to go. Clinton also supports continuing our diplomatic relationship with European nations and our NATO allies. While, Sanders supports greatly reducing our NATO capabilities in the region. That sets a dangerous precedent to the likes of Donald Trump who wants to remove all our capabilities in the region. Clinton supports maintaining our military spending because she understands a dangerous world requires a nation that speaks softly and carries a big stick. Sanders supports decreasing the defense budget. That would embolden our enemies and greatly reduce our fighting capabilities militarily and diplomatically in the war on terror. I'm not a fan of former President George W. Bush, but on the night of his farewell address he said, "The United States must lead the cause for freedom or that cause will not be led." He was right. We must not be a nation that caves into isolationism and neutrality. That is the policy that Sanders believes in. And it's been a proven failed foreign policy. The United States does not need to be the world's policeman, but this is the only nation in the world that has the ability to take charge when human rights violations occur and the security of our allies is threatened by terror. We have to play a role in the world because of globalization and interconnectedness. Sanders has told his supporters "No more wars" and "Now we must take care of ourselves". That's a very populist message that resonates with young people and people who vote and think out of emotion. It makes sense at face value, but it's not a rational policy. I'm not saying war is a rational policy. I'm saying that you can and you must be able to run a country and at the same time stay involved in world affairs. When we cave into isolationism and neutrality Pearl Harbor and 9/11 are the results.

Hillary Clinton also has a record of trying to expose racism in Alabama schools when she was a young law student. She fought for criminal justice reform as an attorney in South Carolina. And she fought for voting rights by leading the charge to get thousands of Latinos to vote in Texas. Now when it comes to her private email server I don't believe this is a real issue because George W. Bush deleted over 20 million emails through the Republican National Committee, which is illegal and no one fought him on that. Former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell both used a private email server, which isn't against state department policy. In addition, when it comes to the attack in Benghazi it was a major intelligence failure. Bad things like that happen and we can't as a country ensure the utmost security of our military and diplomatic personnel 110% of the time. Thirteen U.S. embassies and consulates were attacked during the Bush Administration and over 80 people died. There were no investigations into that. As for the paid speeches Clinton has given it's a non-issue. A lot of politicians have given paid speeches and still do. It's not anything new. The idea that a certain speech she was paid to make influenced how she voted in the Senate or how she conducted business at the state department is silly. Even Sanders couldn't name one time during the New York Primary Debate when Clinton was influenced to vote a certain way based on whom she gave a paid speech to. Plus, a lot of politicians get money from Wall Street. Then-Senator Obama was a Wall Street funded candidate in 2008 and he defeated Clinton for the nomination. Nobody was fighting him on that. It's total hypocrisy.

And finally, the idea that Sanders supporters would vote for Trump over Clinton just to spite her is a middle school argument. You're basically saying you rather vote for a misogynistic, xenophobic, islamophobic, sexist, and racist man who knows nothing about American foreign policy and the economy over her. And a man who said he loves debt and would deliberately create inflation that would hurt the American people. I won't tell people how to vote, but what I will say is a move like that is ridiculous and dangerous. This isn't middle school. This is a contest for the world's most powerful office.

Hillary Clinton is not the perfect candidate, but what candidate ever was? I don't support Clinton because she's perfect. I support her for the reasons I stated and because of her judgment and experience. She's held unpopular positions, but what candidate hasn't? Bernie Sanders isn't perfect either. Clinton will be criticized for years to come. There's no doubt about that. But her message is resonating among the voters. She remains the Democratic favorite for the nomination. But she also is one of the most polarizing figures in American politics today. The question that remains for Hillary Clinton is not whether or not she can weather any so-called scandal. She's already proven that. It's not whether or not she can unify Democrats, because she did that in 2008. No, the question will be can she govern effectively and shine through the political noise even to this day? We'll find out.

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