Oregon is unique in its system of voting: everyone votes by mail without long lines, inaccessibility to the polls, discriminatory mandatory IDs, poll workers who turn people away, shortened hours for voting that may not mesh with voters working schedules, etc. Sometime before May 17, I will mark my ballot and put it in a convenient drop box. This year I’m marking the box beside Hillary Clinton’s name for president.
Bernie Sanders has many commendable attributes. He was 100 percent right when he said that Clinton needed competition, and he has changed the conversation surrounding what it means to be a Democrat and a progressive. For too many years, the Democratic party has moved to the right, largely from fear of failure at the polls. The Supreme Court’s support of big business, blatantly shown in Citizens United, has warped the campaign process and twisted politics into working for corporations instead of the people who elect lawmakers.
People who plan to vote for Sanders want what he offers—big business out of politics, free college tuition, single-payer insurance, $15 minimum wage, return of the middle class, carbon tax to slow down climate change, etc. I want the same thing, but I’m voting for Clinton because I think she has a better chance moving toward progressive success.
Sanders shows rigidity in his policy of “my way or the highway.” When George W. Bush had this approach, we hated it. Sanders focuses on one solution; Clinton looks for alternatives. He pushed her to support his one position on Social Security and then ridiculed her because she provided alternatives. Clinton looks for compromises; Sanders has said that compromise is important, but he refuses the middle ground.
Clinton knows that passing a $15 minimum wage for the entire country when the federal wage is currently $7.25 is impossible without increments, but Sanders ridicules her when she says that $12, a 40 percent increase, could be a beginning. Oregon, for example, discovered that even with a Democratic legislature and governor, the importance of a compromise to put the minimum wage at a sliding scale from $14.75 in the largest urban area to $12.50 in rural areas. We hate Congress because it won’t compromise; we need to accept it in a president.
Every speech that Sanders makes incorporates his complaint that Clinton takes money from Wall Street, but he never explains how she has supported Wall Street. As far back as 2007 Clinton introduced the American Home Ownership Preservation Act to try to save people from the housing bubble that most politicians refused to recognize. At the same time, she warned about the danger of derivatives and issued calls to eliminate the so-called carried interest loophole, roll back the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy, and place limits on chief executives’ compensation. She still has plans to regulate Wall Street, but they are complicated. The slogan of “takes money from Wall Street” is easier as a sound bite.
Sanders has no plans on how to carry out his visionary, grandiose plans. In every Clinton town hall, she addresses questions from the audience in how to accomplish her plans, but Sanders has no suggestions beyond how important his ideas are. Yes, they are vital to the survival of 90 percent of people in the United States, but the problem is how to achieve them.
Sanders doesn’t do his homework. The Washington Post ran the headline “Clinton questions whether Sanders is qualified to be president,” but she didn’t say that. Yet Sanders leaped on the media’s translation of Clinton’s carefully parsed answer on The Morning Joe Show and accused Clinton of being unqualified—useful fodder for the GOP if Clinton should become the Democratic presidential candidate. Her conclusion was that “I think he hadn’t done his homework,” and Sanders proved this with his response. Clinton’s actual statements are here.
Most recently, Sanders accused Clinton of an illegal fundraising scheme, using “proof” from a Washington Post article from two years earlier than doesn’t list any specific misdeeds. Yet he didn’t take his complaints to the FEC, the appropriate agency to investigate election wrongdoings, but instead contacted the DNC. Thirty minutes after his accusations, his campaign used the allegations in a new fundraising message. Now the issue has disappeared.
Early in the campaign, Sanders appeared reasonable, and the two were able to discuss issues in their debates. The more votes that Sanders got, the angrier he became. In the most recent debate, he consistently interrupted her after waving his hand in the air and failed to let her answer questions directed to her while ridiculing her, and repeating his standard one-issue position that she takes money from Wall Street. The Washington Post described Sanders with such terms as “caustic, angry and bitter” and “dripping sarcasm and ironic snark.” Unfortunately, it lowered the debate to the level of the Republicans’ cage fights.
Sanders admits that he is a one-issue candidate—income inequality. (Actually, two issues when one considers his positions with his concern about climate change.) He made that obvious after Donald Trump’s far-right statement about punishing women for having abortions by criticizing Trump’s comments as a distraction from the “serious issues” facing the country. Sanders didn’t address concerns from minorities until he was pushed into doing so, and, despite his high record in voting for women’s rights, has not shown himself a leader in this area. he also demonstrates ignorance about foreign affairs, something about which Clinton is well versed.
Someone else is always to blame for Sanders’ losing votes—the media ignores him, blacks support Clinton, closed primaries, the poor don’t vote, etc. He was highly critical about Clinton collecting super delegates early in the race, a technique that she learned after Barack Obama did the same thing in 2008. More recently, however, Sanders’ campaign said that he would try to get these delegates even if Clinton won the popular vote and the assigned delegates.
Sanders has a big problem with his “passionate” followers trolling women journalists who support Clinton and call them sexist terms. They also harass delegates, threatening them if they don’t vote for Sanders. A speaker at Sanders’ Manhattan rally lambasted “corporate Democratic whores.” Sanders isn’t responsible for his followers, but he also doesn’t criticize them.
The “political revolution” can’t happen without support at the polls, and some of his followers aren’t helping him there. In Wisconsin, he warned against electing a far-right state supreme court justice who applies her religious views to her judicial rulings and protects Gov. Scott Walker from any judicial problems, but 15 percent of voters for Sanders ignored everyone else on the ballot. Young people promised a revolution in 2008, and they allowed the Tea Party to take over two years later. These Sanders’ supporters couldn’t even be bothered to help with the revolution when they had their ballots in their hands.
While Sanders and others decry Clinton’s “honesty,” Politifact judges Clinton higher on the Truth-O-Meter. In True or Mostly True, Clinton has 95 ratings, and Sanders has 49. Although more of Clinton’s statements have been rated than those from Sanders, she still comes out with higher ratings.
When I told a young woman I was voting for Clinton, she said, “But Clinton voted for DOMA (Defense of Marriage).” I pointed out that she was First Lady, not senator, when that passed and that women should not be blamed for what their husbands do. The woman said that it was still Clinton’s fault because she had a great deal of influence over her husband. During the Clinton administration, however, the First Lady was constantly criticized for being too liberal, a socialist when compared to her husband’s centrist agenda. She and her aides were known as “the Bolsheviks” by economists.
One problem I have with Clinton is her strong support of Israel and its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Yet Sanders has been very neutral until his supporters gave him the go-ahead to support Palestine. He was praised for not speaking at the AIPAC meeting, but he requested that he address the meeting via video link. AIPAC President Robert Cohen refused. As Nicholas Sawaya pointed out, “[Sanders] record on key issues in support of the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice falls well short.”
When my ballot arrives, I’m marking it for Hillary Clinton. She’s careful, doesn’t jump to conclusions, and has a wealth of information to use in making decisions. She considers alternatives and doesn’t lose her temper. Her diplomacy is known throughout the world. She also stands for the same things that Sanders does, but she will be better at accomplishing these tasks. Forty-one senators have endorsed Clinton, showing her potential for working with Congress. Only one senator has endorsed Sanders. (A list of Clinton endorsements are here.) More of my reasons for voting for Clinton.