Look, I love Bernie. I have loved him for years, and have a Bernie shirt. But i have also loved and respected Hillary Clinton for a long time, including a vote for her in the California Democratic primary in 2008. So the decision between these two has been a difficult one and regardless of who wins, I will ardently support the Democratic nominee.
But I’m ready for Hillary. Somewhere along the line, Bernie lost me as an ardent supporter and Hillary won me over. Bernie was long where my heart wanted to be and Hillary where my brain said I should go. I decided with my brain.
Hillary is, in my opinion, more electable than Bernie Sanders. Regardless of what the polls are saying now. Sanders, an avowed socialist, wouldn’t stand a chance against a Republican attack ad. I am sympathetic to Sanders in this regard as I also identify as a democratic socialist, in line with Social Democratic parties in Europe. But in all honesty, I don’t think he can stand up to an onslaught attacking him as a Stalinist, or a Fascist with an electorate without the appetite or energy to get into that debate. Sanders to his credit has done some excellent explaining of his stances and brand of socialism; i just don’t think that it will be enough. Oppositely, Hillary Clinton has shown staying power. Regardless of the circumstances she has been able to persevere and triumph. She is familiar with the attack ads and the attacks and can pay them at least adequately well. The electability argument for me is made stronger by the fact that the Supreme Court will be in play in the next election. Even should President Obama get a nominee through to replace the late Justice Scalia, the likelihood of other retirements in the next four years is remarkably high. Getting and keeping a democratically nominated Supreme Court is high on my priority list.
Another problem for me has been the lack of detail in Sanders’ message. I feel like I hear him talk about the exact same thing each and every time. But no new data emerges and I am becoming skeptical of his positions. I feel as though Clinton has been able to be more nuanced in her arguments and has been able to provide at least more answers that Bernie, though some of her dodges are uncomfortable to watch. For instance, Sanders’ Wall Street reform proposals actually wouldn’t stop another Great Recession. In an article in The Nation, the authors argued that his focus on the political corruption ( a worthy cause) and desire to reimplement Glass-Steagal wouldn’t actually solve the complex issues that led to the Great Recession.
Hillary’s health care plan is also to my mind, more logical and politically possible than Sanders’. The Affordable Care Act was a really hard bill to make into law. As such it is the logical framework upon which other changes should be made. Sanders’ goal of Medicare for all, though worthy, would require massive Democratic majorities that i simply do not think will happen in 2016.
Sanders’ college tuition plan sounds nice, and I agree with him, but I still have some issues. For starters how will this impact the infrastructure of college? If more people go to college, this will strain professors, staff, facilities etc. This will cause and increase in fees for students wishing to attend. How would costs be controlled? Would Sander’s plan be tuition fee but leave students to pay fees? wouldn’t schools just raise fees tremendously to circumvent a shortfall from the government? Hillary’s plan is more focused on middle income and poor families to help them make college affordable. While i disagree with Hillary’s assertion that young kids need some skin in the game paying for college (maybe I wouldn’t if the costs were so astronomical that once cant pay for college while working full time) Sanders’ proposal is vague and leaves too much to be desired.
Clinton is also the giant in the field in terms of foreign policy. She is too hawkish for my liking at many times, but her stances are fairly mainstream and will appeal to millennials. Bernie has wobbled during discussions of foreign policy. With the world becoming more and more complex, this is not the time to nominate someone who is light on foreign policy. Sanders may have some heft on domestic policy but a relative dearth of experience on foreign policy.
A final point that makes me lean Hillary over Bernie is Hillary’s willingness to grapple with social issues in a much more wholistic way than Sanders. Sanders’ focus is on economics and the way economics affects people of color, women, the LGBT community and other marginalized groups. This is undoubtedly a real issue that needs to be addressed, but there are facets of life and discrimination that do not impact economics. For instance, how do we tackle bullying in schools? or the double standards that women face? or the fact that police shoot unarmed men of color, often black, at disproportionately high numbers? These aren’t just economy issues, but social justice issues. When Bernie talks it seems almost as if it cant be traced to money its not in his wheel house. Clinton, thankfully seems to understand the gravitas of these arguments and accepts them as a necessary companion to the economic policy arguments supported by Sanders.
So, as one of the apparently few Millennials that is voting for Hillary, let me issue a plea. Should Hillary win the nomination, please support her. There can be no doubt that the issues we care about so deeply are not going to be addressed by the Republican party. They are too busy focusing on building a wall on the border and attempting to paradoxically ban Muslims while they search for religious freedom exemptions from dealing with LGBT people to care about the deep and systemic concerns raised by our generation. I know that should Senator Sanders become the Democratic nominee, he will become me nominee. All I ask is that if Clinton wins the nomination, that she become you nominee as well. Voting matters and the young vote matters especially if we are to create the country in the we way we would like to live.