Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Why I've Decided to Remain Undecided or: I Titled this Piece Before I Finished It

I've voiced these issues with friends, family, and even Facebook, yet I still haven't come to any conclusion.

Clinton vs. Sanders.
Establishment vs. Populist.
Pragmatist vs. Progressive.

I can't freaking decide.

I'm a progressive and a liberal so I should vote for Sanders.

I'm a realist and a feminist so I should vote for Clinton.

I distrust populism in any form so I shouldn't vote for Sanders.

I distrust being unethical so I shouldn't vote for Clinton.

That was zero help.

Let's break this down:

Bernie Sanders - I've been a fan of his for a very long time. I walked past him once in the senate office buildings and was elated. I was riveted by his filibuster in 2010 and I bought The Speech. I think he speaks for the poor and middle class and truly has their best interests at heart. I admire that he was pro-LGBT rights (or at least LG rights) long before anyone else was. I admire that he has fought for the rights of women and minorities. Ideally, I'd like to see most of his domestic policies enacted.

We don't live in an ideal world. If Sanders tried to enact his more extreme policies, he'd only cause more gridlock since Executive Orders only go so far. I don't think he would do a great job at negotiating. Other than the fact that he voted against the Iraq war, I have heard very little about his foreign policy. That could be my fault, but it just doesn't seem like there's much out there. However, what little I have heard (like his rhetoric about preserving manufacturing jobs in America) seems misguided. Although I think I like that he is anti the Pan Pacific Partnership.

Hillary Clinton - I've been a fan of hers for a very long time, too. Growing up, she was the only prominent woman in politics I remember hearing about. She did more policy work as First Lady than probably anyone that came before her. She has a background in advocating and working for people in poverty. She proved to be a great politician and statesman in her own right as Senator. Sure, she always had presidential aspirations, but most presidents do. And yes, she voted for the Iraq war, but think back to 2002. According to Pew, over 70% of the country was in favor of the invasion. She's a self-described progressive but understands the need for pragmatism and negotiating. While a bit hawkish, I've generally been a fan of her foreign policy and her domestic policy is left of center, thereby making it easier to enact.

On the flip side, you can't ignore the emails. At best, she was lazy and didn't want to carry around two phones. At worst, she felt entitled enough to break the rules. Either way, she was unethical (I think it's still TBD if it was criminal) and made a very stupid decision. If anyone lower on the totem poll had done the same thing, they would have been fired, their security clearance revoked, and wouldn't be able to find another job in the federal government. There have also been whisperings about her political donations from Wall Street, foreign governments who contributed to the Clinton foundation, etc. etc. etc. Some of these are without foundation, some of them have very strong foundation. She has a history of bending ethics and that worries me. Although, I have to say, it doesn't worry me all that much because every president in the history of presidents has had similar shady deals, so why hold her to a different standard?

Here's my real beef with Bernie. Listen, I get the whole wanting a political revolution thing. My senior capstone course was essentially about how to fix the Constitution. (Because it sucks. It was great back in 1787, but it sucks now. So much.) But even if Sanders is elected and people starting saying, "you know what? I want a different way of doing government," is the House gonna change? The Senate might, but from where I'm sitting, the House has next to no chance of changing hands until 2022. The reason our House is SO conservative and so unwilling to compromise right now is because in 2010, when the census was taken and districts redrawn, legislatures all over the country were more right than usual because we were in the throws of a massive Obama backlash. Republicans gained control over legislatures, legislatures redrew their districts to unfairly favor Republicans, and Republicans gained massive majorities. It would take huge record breaking number of people voting to change that before districts are redrawn in 2020. Assuming that, Bernie wouldn't have a Democratic majority in both houses until half way through his second term, at which point he will either be 82 or dead unless he is voted out of office.

Yes, Clinton will face the exact same issue (except she'll be how old Bernie is now - 74 - in 2022), but she's not asking for as much as Bernie is. She'll be able to work better with a more moderate Senate. And because she's more moderate, there's a smaller chance that the pendulum will move back to the far right. With a democratic socialist in the Oval Office, do you not think that the backlash of the Tea Party (that has lead us to the utter train wreck that is the current state of presidential politics in the GOP) will rise again? At least with Clinton, there's a chance that people won't notice so much and we can elect someone like Elizabeth Warren next, who will probably be working with a much easier Congress.

I think I've answered my question.

1 comment:

  1. Just to add to your confusion, Sanders does have a good record of getting things accomplished.

    And a point someone made to me was that Sanders high hopes gives much more leeway for negotiation.

    (and you can thank your sister for the extra traffic) ;)