A Liberal’s Case Against Hillary Clinton

I am like you. Many eons ago, when the Democratic Presidential nomination engines were first starting to tumble and rev, I bought into the very same conventional wisdom. Hillary Clinton was a better candidate than Bernie Sanders. At the very least, she was more realistic. Right? For starters, her resumé is, at a glance, top-notch. We’re talking about a former First Lady who later served as Secretary of State, and before that was a U.S. Senator from New York for most of the 2000s. She has wanted this job for longer than I have been alive.

Oddly enough, despite Clinton’s deep-rooted status as an establishment juggernaut, things have started looking worse and worse for her over the course of this nomination process. During the 11 intensely mediated months of Hillary/Bernie discussion, many serious cracks in her armor have begun to show. She has made some disastrous foreign policy blunders during her career. Additionally, she has been proven to be dishonest on multiple occasions when it comes to her voting record. Ironically, she’s stood on the wrong side of social progression for the better half of her career.

Hillary Clinton’s single sturdiest campaign platform heretofore has been that, in comparison to an outspoken Democratic Socialist, she is more electable in November vs. whichever candidate (Donald Trump or 5’8” intergalactic lizard warrior Rafael Cruz) the GOP serves up. However, Clinton’s failure to answer to the many discrepancies between her words and her actions, along with the corporate media’s hollow attempts to distract us and defend her at every turn, are beginning to tip the scales of realism out of her once indestructible favor.[1]

Now, I have noticed that the typical response to any sort of objective anti-Clinton critique is that the person who posits said critique is either (if male) sexist or (if female) overly altruistic.[2] However, as I am neither of these things, if someone were to come along and hit me with a decent counter-argument to dismantle my objective problems with Hillary Clinton’s campaign, I would be perfectly willing to shut up and hear them out.

But all the pro-Clinton voices turn resoundingly silent when it comes to discussing her problems in any sort of real way. Her supporters within the corporate media tend, rather, to lean heavily on certain softball buzz-phrases in an attempt to distract, shame, or both. And anyone with the audacity to question the narrative is immediately painted as short-sighted, childish, and ignorant.  

Here’s an example. In late March, Matt Taibbi published an article for Rolling Stone magazine that criticized Hillary Clinton and defended young people against the timeless political notion that they are stupid. Instead, he argues, when young men and women are turning out in droves against Clinton, there might just be some rationale to their thinking after all:

 For young voters, the foundational issues of our age have been the Iraq invasion, the financial crisis, free trade, mass incarceration, domestic surveillance, police brutality, debt and income inequality… Hillary Clinton personally, has been on the wrong side of virtually all of these issues.

The next day, Kevin Drum, who writes and blogs for Mother Jones, published a strange objection to Taibbi in strong defense of Clinton. In his attempt to discredit Taibbi’s “surprisingly weak” argument, Drum managed to crank out more than 1500 words that, while cleverly phrased, amounted to not much of anything new.[3]

Drum’s blog post more or less summarizes the pro-Clinton flash cards the American establishment media has been reading off of for the past 11 months. “Her entire career has demonstrated a truly admirable dedication to helping the least fortunate,” he writes. “She takes policy seriously and she’s well briefed. She doesn’t pretend that one or two big ideas can suddenly create a revolution… Yes, I’d like to see a woman as president.”

The last statement is, of course, unavoidable. The bombshell counter-argument that seems to always, without fail, miss the entire point.

Don’t misinterpret me here. Hillary Clinton is no doubt an icon of the modern feminist movement, one who represents in very real-time just how far our country has come in the past hundred years with regards to gender equality. Lest we forget that there was a time during the previous century where women in this country did not have the right to vote. When you try to imagine that social landscape, it feels like ancient history. But it really wasn’t.

So why is it, considering Hillary Clinton’s alleged rockstar status, that women under 30 in many states across the country, while not necessarily downright turned off by her, are far more inspired by Sanders’ message? My theory is that, despite the seemingly popular belief within Clinton’s Demographics and  Marketing teams, women are, in fact, human beings. As in they are fully capable of making their own choices. It is a huge misstep for any political campaign to imagine a woman’s voting motivations are anything other than her own to decide. In the fight for gender equality, women have much more to lose than men during political elections. They always have.

The fact that young women are opposing Hillary Clinton is much less surprising when you consider the progressive social era millennials have grown up in. Young people today are not shocked by the concept that a woman could become President of the United States, and that alone is a massive testament to how far we’ve come. But to insist that a young woman must be supportive of Hillary Clinton strictly on the basis of her gender, when so many things are wrong with her candidacy, is insulting to women’s intelligence and the notion of feminism in general.

It is wrong to assume that women are any less capable than men of understanding Hillary Clinton is a warhawk without a shred of apology. Despite the catastrophic wake left behind from the Bush Administration’s oil-blind foreign policy strategy of the 2000s, a strategy which can largely be credited for the growth and motivation of the Islamic State, as well as our country’s crippling debt, Clinton remains in ardent support of military intervention in the Middle East. As a New York Senator in 2003, she voted in favor of the Iraq War, which eventually became one of the most severe human rights atrocities in the history of the modern world. That is a political blemish that should discredit anyone vying for chief access to the trigger of our country’s staggering, $600 billion/year military juggernaut.

Another serious problem with Hillary’s campaign is her lifelong flakiness on civil rights. Discounting the past eight or so years, she has been a career-long opponent of civil rights, standing on the wrong side of progress nearly every single time. As a Young Republican in the 60s, Clinton volunteered on the campaign for Republican presidential nominee and Jim Crow advocate Barry Goldwater who was running on a platform of, among other conservative policies, maintaining the racial segregation of public facilities. He even implied that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a dangerous political demagogue, which, given the Right’s current language about the Black Lives Matter movement, is just about zero amount surprising.

Is it unfair of me to pick on a 17 year old’s limited social compassion so many years after the fact? Even though I personally think that any teenager who supports racism isn’t going to “grow out of it” unless it becomes personally advantageous for him or her to do so, I anticipate that potential counter-argument that I am being overly mean, so let’s fast forward to a more contemporary example of Clinton’s regressive social politics. As recently as 2006, she was vocally opposed to gay marriage. Clinton even stood in support of the Defense of Marriage Act as First Lady in the 1990s.[4] This information was taken from a 2013 Washington Post article titled How Hillary Clinton Evolved on Gay Marriage. It’s important to point out the pandering biased usage of using the word “evolve” here. The only thing that “evolved” was Clinton’s understanding of which stances were politically expedient, and which were not. It seems that when it comes to social equality, her stances shifted shamelessly in whichever direction the political winds happened to blow. That is a serious problem.

Way back last April, despite my immediate inspiration by the Bernie Sanders campaign, I knew that, if worst came to worst, Hillary Clinton was a healthy and realistic alternative. But a year has gone by since I first had that thought, and so much has changed. For millions and millions of the Americans she supposedly represents, Hillary Clinton has become a legitimately poor candidate. Her ideological inconsistencies are troubling. Her centrist corporatism threatens to erode the middle class. And, especially in retrospect, her hawkishness is just plain blind.

I am a feminist, and I believe that this country needs a female Commander in Chief if we are going to continue claiming that our government is a democracy for everyone. However, America also needs an honest president, one who represents the country’s working class citizens. One who advocates for civil equality even when it isn’t politically expedient, or even legal. One who stands up against the status-quo oligarchical vicegrip that nearly pulverized this country’s economy to oblivion a decade ago.

That is why I support Bernie, the Cinderella-candidate out here breaking fundraising records by all metrics and selling out events across the country. Hell’s snowball, the wild-haired Socialist, polling far better than Clinton against the entire GOP field. Despite being highly intelligent, experienced, and pragmatic, Clinton simply does not offer this country the one thing it needs right now: an honest sense of direction.

But here is the good news. This country will see its first female president soon. Millennial voters believe in that reality more than their parents’ generation ever did. Hillary Clinton isn’t our last hope, and she isn’t our best option. Not by a long shot.


Footnotes


[1] All of this, by the way, as Cruz watches from his campaign bus with a twisted grin, flicking a forked tongue at orbiting insects, blinking his wet, translucent eyelids diagonally. Waiting. [go back]


[2] The latter of which being intended, as it turns out, to be an insult to one’s character. [go back]


[3] Disclaimer: This is not a takedown of Kevin Drum, a smart, talented journalist who is not here to defend himself. He is, like me, just trying to survive as a news writer in a saturated era in which all topics are clouded and fueled by the unrelenting boil of Internet turd steam. [go back]


[4] In preemptive defense of the furious insistence that I am unfairly twisting Clinton’s words, here is a direct quote from 2000: “Marriage has got historic, religious and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman.” [go back]


Aren Robinson LeBrun is an award-winning student journalist in furious pursuit of something or other in Brooklyn, New York. He is doing his best to blend in as an editorial intern at Rolling Stone magazine. Something of a seasoned roadsman, Aren has been to many different places, including Delaware. For articles and other nonsense, find him on Twitter @arenlebrun.

 

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