03 May 2016

Approaching a Hillary Clinton Candidacy as a Bernie Sanders supporter.

I was a Bernie Sanders supporter. I argued for him in my state caucus. I still like the guy and think, of the two Democratic candidates, he had the better direction as well as philosophical commitments to altering the status quo. For whatever reason, the democratic powers that be (both in its elite leadership and at the grassroots level) favor Hillary Clinton for president of the United States. I could essay a great many reasons why I think she is a poor candidate. But that has been done elsewhere. I will simply say this. Her political leanings are not exactly progressive. She and her husband Bill used to describe themselves as Eisenhower Republicans and would assure center right colleagues that "there are no leftists" in the Clinton administration. Hillary herself was a Goldwater Republican and that is largely how I continue to think of her. She is as hawkish as any center-right republican. In this way she will be not very different than Obama. But she will not likely embrace even a facade of strong liberalism. In a Hillary Clinton presidency, I would predict triangulation on the Affordable Care Act, followed by a weakening of the Act itself.

Neither she, nor her husband have done especially well by the poor, or the disenfranchised. On the other hand, they haven't exactly been as bad as nominal republicans of the center or far right. There will be some lip service paid to these groups obviously, but I don't see much being done to actually advance the cause of such groups. I would love to be proven wrong, but I suspect a Hillary Clinton presidency to be long on rhetoric and short on substance. And behind it all, will be the polarizing figure of her husband. The best I feel I can say about her is that she is a smart, shrewd and fairly savvy political operator who has a wealth of ambition and resilience. I don't think she will be an especially grand champion of political causes that I find important (elevating education reducing student debt loads, creating an culture that fosters the best in science, engineering and the arts in which many more people get a chance to partake, addressing our environmental crisis, creating a renewable energy economy, and providing incentives and research dollars toward the development of safer, more reliable nuclear power, and using evidence based approaches increasing opportunity and access for disenfranchised peoples to name a few). On the other hand, I expect a continued strong economy, and at least sound, predictable domestic and foreign policy out of a Clinton White House. Aside from potential triangulation on the Affordable Care Act, I don't see too many backwards steps. So I feel comfortable voting for her in an election in which she will be opposed by Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.  If she was running against a Bush, or McCain, or a Romney I would probably feel comfortable voting for different candidate as there are few significant differences among such centrists. In fact if it were a choice between Hillary and a Bush, McCain or Romney, I would probably vote for the Republican -note to the many Republican power brokers who must be reading this blog. The main difference is that the Clintons choose to call themselves Democrats. The crucial difference in this election cycle though is that Hillary isn't running against a person with whom she has more similarity rather than difference. She will be running against two uncommonly ugly egomaniacal candidates, one  a wildly unpredictable demagogue whose self-confidence is rivaled only by his ignorance of matters both foreign and domestic (Trump) and his contempt for much of the electorate, while the other is an equally disconnected ideologue whose commitment to his father's Christian Dominionism trumps any oath to protect and respect the US constitution he has made or will make (Cruz). Cruz and Trump (though Trump is the more guilty party here) embrace a machismo, and bravado that is dangerous in world where nuclear weapons exist. Both candidates Trump and Cruz share an uncommon commitment to ignore evidence in favor of their own, uninformed views of reality. Cruz has adopted a running mate who shares this commitment. Trump and Cruz share a disdain for the overwhelming evidence of global warming. Cruz and Fiorina both continue to believe the now debunked Planned Parenthood fraud. Neither Trump, nor Cruz will be good for anything most Americans, when polled on individual issues support. The environment will suffer. The progress of minorities will suffer. Education will suffer. Given both candidates embrace of the utterly exploded theory of trickled down economics we can bet that the economy will suffer, growth will reverse and unemployment numbers will probably rise.

The goal of this election must be, I think, to prevent either of these dangerous Republican candidates out of office. At the end of the day whatever Hillary Clinton may be be, she is at least a sound, rational candidate, who may not be as progressive as some on the left would like (I'm looking at you fellow Sanders supporters).  However, her centrist, Goldwater Republican leanings also make her an ideal candidate for centrist Republicans who are looking at their own candidates in disgust right now.

My advice?
Vote Hillary in November. She isn't dangerous and the other guys clearly are.


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