The Progressive Case for Hillary Clinton | News

The Progressive Case for Hillary Clinton

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Editor’s note: The author, David Faris, is a professor of political science at Roosevelt University in Chicago. The views expressed herein are his own and not necessarily those of the university. Tomorrow, if all goes to plan, we’ll be publishing a Bob Geary–penned case for Bernie Sanders. The
INDY’s endorsements in this and other primary races will be released Wednesday. 

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Since the Iowa caucuses, Democratic primary voters have reminded everyone that the GOP isn’t the only party holding together a political coalition with staples and cardboard. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent initially given Kucinich-level odds to derail the campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, effectively tied her in Iowa, clobbered her in New Hampshire, and finished a close second in Nevada. While the candidates themselves have maintained civility during their substantive debates, the race is causing enormous rancor on the political left. Facebook friends accustomed to chorus-like agreement on the evils of Republican policy are using invective with each other that they usually reserve for Donald Trump, or the people who canceled Freaks and Geeks. Supporters of Hillary Clinton are starting to accept the fact that she will not be unfurling any Mission Accomplished banners in the near future, and backers of Sanders who regard Clinton as a demonstrably nefarious neoliberal sellout have had to reckon with the fact that the former secretary of state has committed partisans who support her not just because they think Sanders is unelectable, but also because they genuinely like her.

I am one of those Clinton partisans. Bernie Sanders has run a superb campaign—one that has energized the left and brought young people into politics in numbers not seen since the meteoric rise of Barack Obama. He has been invaluable in pushing Clinton to adopt better progressive positions. His popularity among millennials—based largely on his policy positions but also his perceived incorruptibility—should be seen as an incredibly positive sign for the future of progressive politics. For older progressives steeped in a reflexive antipathy to full-throated leftist policies, the overwhelming support that young voters have given Sanders should serve as a wake-up call. Yet putting Bernie Sanders forward as the Democratic nominee in 2016 would be a grave mistake, one that would jeopardize not just the progressive gains of the Obama years but also usher in a nightmare scenario of New Deal rollback whose damage would take a generation to repair. Bernie Sanders is unelectable in the America that actually exists in 2016, and he would not just get trounced in a general election—the galaxy-sized negative gravitational pull of a socialist candidate at the top of the ticket could take enough Senate seats down to allow a GOP president to bring back what the Ammon Bundy crowd calls the Constitution in Exile, eviscerate the safety net, and hand the Supreme Court to the conservatives until most Sanders supporters are nearing middle age. Last month’s death of Antonin Scalia and the looming showdown over his replacement only underscores the need to present a general election candidate who has appeal beyond the Democratic Party base.

But there are two progressive cases for Hillary Clinton, and only one of them is about the electability of Bernie Sanders. The other is about Clinton herself—a much-maligned, misunderstood public figure whose twenty-five years in the public gaze, role in her husband’s presidency, and relationship to finance capitalism have transformed her into a symbol for everything the Democrats’ left wing loathes about its right. Without glossing over her weaknesses and past mistakes, is it possible to argue that Bernie Sanders is doomed in the general election while simultaneously supporting Hillary Clinton with enthusiasm and a clean conscience? I think it is. Here we go.

I: Bernie and the Problem of Electability

The most problematic aspect of the Sanders candidacy so far has been his refusal to move on from or find another way to describe his “democratic socialism.” Over the summer Gallup conducted an enormous poll that found 50 percent of Americans would not vote for a socialist if their party nominated one. Many more people would be willing to vote for a Muslim—think about that for a second given the current climate for Islam in the United States. Crucially, 41 percent of Democrats won’t vote for a socialist. Will many of these wavering Democrats come around when faced with a choice of Sanders or one of the Republican candidates? Perhaps. But if even 10 percent of Democrats cross over or stay home, we’re talking about an electoral tsunami for the GOP the likes of which we haven’t seen since 1984. This is to say nothing of how Sanders might trigger the entry of a Michael Bloomberg figure into the race, potentially scrambling the Electoral College and granting the GOP House the right to choose the next president.

The most frustrating aspect of this is that Bernie Sanders is not actually a socialist. He is a “social democrat”—a completely unproblematic term that accurately describes both the mainstream European left as well as Sanders himself. How is it possible that six months into this campaign, Sanders cannot be bothered to pivot away from such a politically toxic term that doesn’t even accurately describe his positions? For many Clinton supporters, it raises difficult questions about his political instincts. Sanders hasn’t had to run against a plausible opponent in the other party since the midnineties. That’s a long time to spend in a Vermont echo chamber where Hillary Clinton represents the far right. Can anyone say with confidence that Sanders is prepared to defend his proposals against the kind of criticisms they are likely to receive from the right? The way he dodged the question about the size of government posed to him in the Milwaukee debate last month suggests that he is not.

About those proposals. Like all candidates, Sanders has views on myriad issues, not all of which can be discussed here. Let’s focus on the three that appear to be the most important ones separating him from Hillary Clinton in this race: health care, student debt and “Wall Street.” Supporters of a single-payer health care system like to make the point that it polls well with the American people. But this is true only if you don’t drill down into the questions too far. Gallup has also been surveying Americans about health care systems for well over a decade, and the findings have been consistent: when asked whether the government should be responsible for providing healthcare, majorities consistently say yes. But when asked if they’d like a government-run system to replace private insurance, the answer is consistently no. While the percentage of respondents who say support a government-run system has fluctuated over time, it has never been more than 41 percent since Gallup started polling. And of course, this is how the GOP will define it—a government takeover of the system. Most people have no idea what single-payer even means. In America, a safe bet is that the single payer for anything is you.

Remember, this has nothing to do with the structural merits of single-payer and everything to do with how far the American people are currently willing to go. Bernie Sanders would be marching into the general election with a policy position that holds about 40 percent support at best as the centerpiece of his campaign, and that’s before the Republicans and their minions start hammering away at it. Even the relatively modest reforms of Obamacare remain unpopular with Americans, and it’s not because they think the government isn’t involved enough in their medical treatment. If the GOP was able to stoke populist outrage and capture both houses of Congress railing against a reform that made it illegal to discriminate against Americans with the Orwellian problem of “pre-existing conditions,” just imagine what they can do with a candidate who promises a full government takeover of healthcare. If single-payer is, as Sanders supporters who know this has no chance of ever happening will admit, just a “vision” that is supposed to move the so-called Overton window (the range of ideas that can be legitimately discussed) to the left, why not push a vision of health care expansion that could be more easily achieved, both logistically and politically, if the Democrats were to recapture congress at some point during a Sanders presidency? Under Obamacare, the U.S. has actually moved much closer to the German model, which has a role for insurance but requires those companies to be nonprofit. Improving the system we have would, in fact, be monumentally easier than tearing it down.

Sanders will have the same problem with his free college policy. The senator has clearly struck a nerve with young people who are exasperated with the current system. No one should have to head out into the adult world shouldering the equivalent of a mortgage in student loan debt. Asking students to bear the costs of complex, expensive systems of higher education drags down economic growth by robbing young Americans of spending and savings power, and the bill for this madness has barely begun to come due. But this is the trouble with American public opinion: when asked if they like a service for free, they say yes. Who wouldn’t? But when it comes down to how you pay for it—with new taxes—support craters. The distinction between taxes on the wealthy and taxes on everyone is often lost on the American voter. This will be no less true of college tuition than it is for anything else, and while there isn’t a history of polling data on this question like there is for health care, it is unlikely to be substantially different. About 70 percent of Americans don’t even have a bachelor’s degree, and will almost certainly be hostile to proposals that having taxpayers footing the bill for the whole cost of public higher education.

Then there’s his signature issue of Wall Street. Listening to the Democratic debates, you might think that banks have an approval rating somewhere near that of Congress. Sanders is at his apoplectic best when talking about wealth inequality in America and the ways that Wall Street has hoovered billions of dollars out of the middle class. However, a dive down into the polling data on this question reveals that a frontal assault on the banking sector will not pay quite the political dividends that the Sanders campaign thinks it will. Again according to Gallup, only 26 percent of Americans have little or no confidence in the banking sector, with a plurality (45 percent in 2015) responding that they have “some.” There isn’t much polling about breaking up banks, but the one most often cited by the Sanders camp, conducted by the Progressive Change Institute, asked respondents if they would be in favor of breaking up big banks “which played a big role in the financial crisis and recently demonstrated they still have too much power by lobbying for and winning the repeal of a major reform designed to stop Wall Street abuse and taxpayer bailouts.” You don't need sophisticated training in research methods to know how leading that wording is.

Step away from the polling data and think about this on a human level. In the general election, Sanders would be speaking to millions of moderates who think it’s incredibly convenient that their huge, multinational bank also holds their mortgage and has ATMs crammed into every spare crevice of commercial America. This is why Clinton’s moderation—which has been poisonous in the primary—is likely to redound to the party’s benefit in the general election. Clinton promises to build on the reforms of Dodd-Frank. She also proposes taxing certain kinds of financial transactions, voted for Dodd-Frank, and unlike certain caricatures circulating online, worked very hard to improve the notorious bankruptcy bill and in fact did not vote for the final version. If this is why you support Sanders, I respect that, but I don’t believe that there is as much daylight between their positions as there appears to be.

Taken together, Sanders’s electoral liabilities are staggering. His inability to connect with African-American voters is well known and largely responsible for his enormous loss to Clinton in South Carolina. He has also been unable to deliver on a cornerstone of his campaign strategy, which is increasing turnout. Democratic primary numbers have been down in every state that has voted so far. While this is largely a cyclical phenomenon unrelated to the candidates, it is also a problem for a campaign that will depend so heavily on delivering people who have never voted before. If there were an inbound Sanders tsunami, we should be feeling the tremors by now. We aren’t.

II: The Case For Hillary

Some progressives who support Clinton will stop right there—they may think Sanders is a difficult sell in the general election, but there is no love lost for Hillary Clinton herself. For a variety of reasons, many on the left view Hillary Clinton as a creature of the establishment—a fee-generating shill for corporate America whose past involvement in the punitive crime and welfare policies of her husband together with her support for hawkish adventurism overseas make her indistinguishable from her Republican rivals. While there are legitimate criticisms to be made of the Clinton years, they gloss over some of the genuine progress that was made in the 1990s, including restoring higher taxes on the wealthy, elevating once-in-a-lifetime progressive jurists like Ruth Bader Ginsberg to the Supreme Court, raising the minimum wage, and passing a rudimentary family and medical leave bill, to say nothing of the long economic expansion that took place under his watch.

Yes, it is painful to watch Hillary Clinton invoke the racist, discredited concept of the superpredator in the 1990s. But that was twenty-one very long years ago—a lifetime in politics and ideology. While both Clintons now understand that the 1994 crime law was a terrible mistake, there was in fact a very real public panic about violent crime based on a very real, generational crime wave that receded in the late 1990s for reasons that are still very much subject to debate. Concern about crime was so widespread, in fact, that many African-American community leaders supported those reforms. And don’t forget that Bernie Sanders voted for that bill and, unlike Hillary Clinton, was an elected representative at the time.

No one, I think, could plausibly argue that Clinton has a more liberal overall record than Sanders. But there are actually issues on which she has an equally if not more progressive history. One is campaign finance, an issue on which the Clintons have been very consistent. The jurists appointed by her husband during his presidency voted against the Citizens United decision, and Hillary herself has never said a single positive thing about it. She is, however, being punished for playing by Citizens United rules in a Citizens United universe. It will be the law of the land until the Supreme Court has a liberal majority, and there is no question Hillary Clinton will appoint those jurists. Citizens United was an awful decision; try to remember that Clinton didn’t write it. She also voted (as did Sanders) for the well-intentioned McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation. For the time being, Democrats needs those dollars to fight and win down-ballot races and take back state legislatures. Clinton is raising that money; Sanders is not.

Clinton has a long and positive and much better record than Sanders on another issue that is so important to Democratic primary voters and to the Obama coalition—immigration reform. This question came up during the pivotal Milwaukee debate, when Clinton pointed out that Sanders voted against bringing the 2007 comprehensive immigration reform bill to a full vote in the Senate. While Sanders claims to have had progressive reasons for voting against the doomed bill, the final vote was relatively close and his vote and high-profile opposition to it actually mattered. The bill was not perfect and contained provisions—particularly on border policing and guest workers—that made some progressive organizations oppose it.

Yet while a couple of high-profile progressives like Ohio’s Sherrod Brown voted with him, most did not. Let’s roll call it: Russ Feingold? Yes. Ted Kennedy? Yes. Barack Obama? Yes. Barbara Boxer? Yes. Basically Sanders voted with a gang of doomed Blue Dogs like Mary Landrieu and Mark Pryor and against the leaders of the party he’s not really a part of to kill a desperately needed reform. That vote is a microcosm of the problems with both Bernie Sanders, general election candidate, and Bernie Sanders, change agent: the unwillingness to accept compromise. Two thousand and seven was a once-in-a-generation opportunity to push through an immigration compromise that would have led to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. There is a reason that the marvelous HBO documentary about this period is called Last Best Chance. The portions of the bill that Sanders objected to could have been dealt with through less-high-profile legislation after the Democratic wave that everyone could already see coming arrived in 2008. The bill also contained the verbatim text of the DREAM Act. Instead of an unruly compromise, Sanders and his allies got what purists always get: nothing. It is just unfathomable how you could argue that where we are now is better than where we would have been had that legislation passed. Yet inasmuch as he has one, this is still his argument.

Clinton, of course, voted yes.

It is also no secret that Clinton has the better record on gun violence. Sanders supporters dismiss this as unavoidable byproduct of representing rural Vermont but refuse to accord Clinton the same courtesy for representing the finance capital of New York in the Senate. Sanders has softened his position on the question, but it is clear he doesn’t care much about mass-casualty homicides and doesn’t think it is an important issue facing the United States. His record here is really mixed: he voted against the Brady Bill in the 1990s, and, in 2005, as a member of the House, he voted for the truly odious bill that protected gun manufacturers from legal liability. There can be no doubt that Clinton is to the left of Sanders on this question and that she would be the more vigorous proponent of common-sense gun laws, including authorizing federal funds to support research into causes and strategies. If you think that the epidemic of mass shootings across the country is a genuine crisis, there is no question that Clinton is your candidate.

Should you vote for Hillary Clinton because she’s a woman? Lost in often vitriolic debates about class versus identity on the left is the reality that gender politics is class politics. When women don’t have access to quality, affordable day care, it puts inexorable pressure on incomes in all kinds of families. When the overwhelmingly female domestic worker population doesn’t have basic rights and social safety supports, it harms not only women themselves, but also the economic position of their families and the loved ones upon whom they rely. When society offers paltry maternity leave and no substantive paternity leave whatsoever, it is inevitably women who take themselves out of the work force, crushing middle class aspirations underfoot and benefitting elites who can afford to pay for domestic work. When women drop out of the work force to care for aging parents—a question that will become much more central to our discourse as the baby boomers continue to age—it harms the economic prospects of working class and middle class families. Clinton has an actual record on these questions. She put paid leave at the center of her first run for the White House, and she has been the first national presidential candidate to speak about the caring economy and how to respond to the needs of caregivers for our burgeoning elderly population.

Why might Clinton be important for women? Political scientists think about women’s representation in politics in categories. “Formal representation” refers to women’s full right to participation in politics. “Descriptive representation” is the idea that elected politicians should reflect the demographics of the society they represent. For women this means that roughly half of their elected leaders should be women. “Substantive representation” is the idea that women should be represented not just in equal numbers to men, but by women whose platforms and actions support women’s rights, interests and equality. In the United States, we have achieved only the first of these goals—women’s representation in Congress (and in all levels of executive leadership in different fields) lags badly behind that of other advanced democracies. So while we should never ask anyone to vote for a candidate based on their gender alone, it is also important to remember that electing a woman as president—particularly a woman whose progressive overall record is nearly identical to Sanders’s—would be an enormous symbolic victory for women and the feminist movement and a huge step toward achieving the kind of substantive equality in politics that women enjoy in Scandinavia.

Foreign policy is a more difficult area to claim that Hillary Clinton is progressive. Then again, it is not entirely clear what a progressive foreign policy would even look like. Sanders supporters are still hung up on Hillary Clinton’s Iraq vote in 2002 and her perceived hawkishness, particularly with regard to the Middle East. But she has publicly disavowed her vote for the Iraq War. More relevant is her tenure as secretary of state from 2009–13 and what we can discern from her record during those years. President Obama took office facing an almost impossible international situation: in the midst of a massive economic crisis, he had to somehow extract the United States from ruinous commitments made during the Bush years, and to do so without telling the American public what it decidedly did not want to hear—that in relative terms, American power was waning, and that we simply could not afford the level of military involvement in the Middle East that we inherited from Bush. Managing that retrenchment and implementing it through the State Department was Clinton’s job—not, as many on the left would like to believe, directly making policy or running CIA operations, as in some of the more lurid conspiracy theories circulating about her. Accounts of her tenure at State suggest that Clinton was a deft manager of people and agendas, and that she worked hard to implement Obama’s vision of repairing alliances and sharing international burdens, even when she disagreed with him. The respect she earned in that position bodes well for her suitability to the presidency—perhaps the world’s foremost exercise in delegation.

Ultimately, Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state runs into a paradox. The things that seemed most beneficial about Obama’s first term—the Arab Spring, the withdrawal from Iraq, the “reset” with Russia—haven’t aged well. It is less that the U.S. adopted bad policies and more that our power to orchestrate international events is quite limited. The initiatives that seemed like failures during Obama’s first term, or whose benefits were not immediately apparent—work on climate change, diplomatic wrangling with Iran, rebuilding relations with European—merely laid the groundwork for later successes when various facets of the political landscape changed. The case of Iran was particularly instructive. The Clinton campaign can claim, plausibly I think, that her work uniting the international community around a sanctions regime eventually brought a different crew to power in Tehran and then brought them to the negotiating table. The threat of a disastrous war with Iran is now in the rearview.

While she has rightly taken heat for the disastrous events that followed the NATO intervention in Libya, it is worth remembering that it was our allies in Europe who adopted the more aggressive stance. And on Syria, Clinton was an early proponent of more forceful action to forestall the very crisis that unfolded—not blindly sending in thousands of troops with guns blazing, but establishing no-fly zones and using American power to protect the vulnerable. The merits of these actions are debatable, but it is hard to see how they could have made things much worse. Clinton, certainly, has been on the wrong side of some foreign policy debates—her 2008 campaign opposition to talking to the Iranian leadership, for instance. Some of this may reflect an overly robust faith in the ability of the United States to bend international events to its will, and a naïve belief in the inherent goodness of American intentions and actions. But she has also had to make difficult decisions from positions of real authority, whereas no one has ever really much cared what Bernie Sanders thinks about foreign policy—something that has allowed him to hew to maximalist positions that sound good to the base.

The United States desperately needs to have a conversation about its place in the world, to come to terms with its relative decline compared to other powers, and to understand the ways its military involvement in regions like the Middle East has led to chaos. Yet we must remember that while the foreign policy consensus in this country may be shallow, it is also incredibly wide. An election campaign is not the time to ask voters to dispense with embedded notions of American exceptionalism, particularly an electorate that feels the Obama administration has already gone too far in pulling back from its role as the global hegemon. Voters want to be told that the world can be made safer, more predictable, and more peaceful, and that this is something only the United States can achieve. Here again we return to the disconnect between Bernie Sanders and the vast majority of the country he hopes to lead: the idea that America can influence the direction of dozens of foreign societies by sheer force of will may be a fanciful notion, but it is one the voters still believe. The great genius of Clinton’s State Department may eventually be seen as her role in tactfully managing decline while pretending otherwise. A real recognition of America’s decline means that no one figure can “succeed” at addressing the enormous complexities of world politics. And it is worth remembering what happened to the Democratic Party the last time its activist wing forced elites to move to the left of the country’s foreign policy consensus.

III: The Choice

There are two essential messages coming out of the Sanders campaign. The first is that a rigged financial and campaign system is funneling economic gains to the top and leaving Middle America in the cold. While this message has the virtue of being largely true, it has also failed as a general election message several times, most recently in 2000 for Al Gore and in 2004 for John Kerry. Many Americans like millionaires and think they could be one under the right circumstances. It is also a message that plays better during a crisis rather than during the six-year economic expansion we are currently experiencing. The other message is that other societies feature cheaper and more equitable arrangements for things like health care, labor, and taxation than the United States. Sanders has, on the stump, repeatedly invoked wealthy, tranquil Scandinavia as a model for how the U.S. might adjust some of its social and economic policies. Once again it is important to keep the average American voter in mind. For them, “Scandinavia” is an abstraction. At least 58 percent of Americans don’t even have a passport, and few have traveled to the Scandinavian countries, which ironically are prohibitively expensive to visit. Those who have made the journey, of course, are struck immediately by how superior everything seems—from infrastructure to public transit to general equality. But American voters do not march to the polls to endorse theoretical visions of other countries.

It also seems like not a coincidence that none of the things Sanders wants to borrow from Northern Europe are about gender. For a man who puts these states on a pedestal, he seems curiously unwilling to talk about Scandinavia’s many political schemes to increase the representation of women in positions of power—schemes that are inextricable tied to progress on women’s issues on those societies. Countries across the continent have adopted quota systems to increase the number of women in parliament, a tactic that is common knowledge among comparative political scientists but would cause jaws to drop across the United States. Political parties in Norway and Sweden have voluntarily adopted quotas on their candidate lists for decades and consequently have twice as many women in parliament as there are in the U.S. Congress. Denmark used to do this but no longer even has to bother, because gender equality is now so deeply ingrained in the culture. Norway, Germany and other wealthy Eurozone states have also legislated quotas for women in positions of corporate authority. This is to say nothing of the revolutionary childcare schemes in Scandinavia that Sanders nods to but does not convincingly frame as a feminist issue, or groundbreaking ideas about issues like prostitution adopted in Sweden. Does Clinton talk about these things? No. Most would be instant electoral deal-breakers in America. But then again, Clinton’s case isn’t that she’s a revolutionary political figure willing to place radical ideas into the public sphere and then magically turn them into policy.

The Clinton campaign, welcomely, does not depend on obliterating a longstanding American consensus about socialism in the middle of an election campaign. It does not require voters to imagine a European utopia that few have experienced and fewer still can envision here. It will not require defensive warfare about the very terms of her candidacy, since she is well known to (if not beloved by) the electorate already. Republicans will have a much harder time caricaturing her as an out-of-control tax-and-spender even though on some issues she is more progressive than her opponent. Because she is inextricably tied to the Obama Administration in a way that Sanders is not, she is best positioned to make the case that recent gains must be preserved even as we seek ways to more broadly share prosperity, rein in the worst excesses of our financial system, and reduce debt burdens on young Americans. As her support in minority communities shows, she is also better positioned to hold together the fragile Obama Coalition in a year where the concerns of downtrodden Americans—particularly down-on-their-luck white voters—threaten to blow it apart. Not surprisingly given the fact that she actually belonged to it before yesterday, she will also be better for the Democratic Party, which remains the only national institutional vehicle for progressive politics in America.

Despite the endless attacks on her character—note the dozens of unhinged right-wing attack books still in circulation and increasing in number every week—Hillary Clinton has a long record of voting with the progressive left. An articulate and forceful champion of progressive causes, she is the most accomplished candidate for the presidency of the United States in decades, and deserves the chance to lead the country. We already know the things the GOP will throw at her—the emails, Benghazi, the Clinton Foundation—and the campaign is ready for them, even if it has not exactly landed on the best talking points. Sanders, on the other hand, has been getting the softball treatment from Clinton and is unlikely to survive the fusillade of lies, distortions, hatred, and attack campaigns coming from the right.

What is the ultimate danger of forwarding an unelectable Democrat to face the GOP this fall? The influence of a presidential administration is far-reaching and little seen to ordinary voters. Even if gridlocked America, presidents wield sweeping powers over things like judicial appointments to the critical circuit courts, the makeup of the Justice Department and the civil service. Obama judges will be remaking American law and society for the next two decades. Can you imagine a Justice Department probe of Ferguson, Missouri, under a Republican administration? While we all see and acknowledge the limits of the Democratic Party, holding the presidency is particularly important to society’s most vulnerable—women and poor Americans who will lose health care if Planned Parenthood is defunded, immigrants who will be summarily deported if a Republican is elected, the poor Americans who depend on things like Medicaid that Republicans want to gut. Democrats may not quite understand just how close they are to getting completely shut out of power in this country. After losing at the state level for years, the Republican Party controls the agenda in dozens of states. While the Senate map is unusually friendly to Democrats this year, the Republicans are only six seats away from a filibuster-proof majority to go with their death grip on the House of Representatives. A high-risk candidate like Bernie Sanders increases the odds of turning full power back to the GOP, which would gleefully eliminate healthcare for millions, eviscerate women’s reproductive rights and remake the federal tax code to please the party’s billionaire overlords.

This kind of thinking gets characterized by Sanders supporters as fear-mongering. But you know what? I’m scared. If you were standing on the tracks facing an inbound train, would you call the person yelling at you to get out of the way a fear-monger? The idea of handing unfettered federal power to a Republican Party that has moved several standard deviations to the far right since George W. Bush left office is horrifying. Hillary Clinton is not a perfect candidate, or a perfect politician. But she is, right now, the best hope for forward progress in America. She is the only electable Democratic running. And the more I have thought about her, her career and her candidacy, the more I have come to think that she is actually kind of awesome.

That doesn’t mean I don’t like Bernie Sanders. It just means I want to win.






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