Q: You seem to support Bernie Sanders in part because he’s held consistent opinions for longer, why is that? Is a politician who can see new evidence and hear opinions of others and change their mind not a good thing?
A: Being able to change your mind when you get access to new information is obviously a fundamental part of being a human. For example, Elizabeth Warren has recounted how she met with Hillary Clinton about some awful bankruptcy legislation that was under consideration when Hillary Clinton was first lady:
Warren had written an editorial about a piece of bankruptcy legislation that she opposed. Then-First Lady Hillary Clinton read it and asked for a meeting to discuss the bill and Warren’s research, which showed that it would disproportionately affect women and children. After the meeting, Mrs. Clinton went back to the White House and the Clinton Administration reversed its position on the bill. President Clinton eventually vetoed it, and in her autobiography, Hillary Clinton took credit for preventing the bankruptcy bill from passage.
So Hillary Clinton went from not having a position on a potential law to working with President Clinton to prevent that law from being passed, after she learned that passage of that law would hurt average Americans.
And when she became a senator, the industry that wanted that law passed gave her a ton of money, and:
ELIZABETH WARREN: She voted in favor of it.
BILL MOYERS: Why?
ELIZABETH WARREN: As Senator Clinton, the pressures are very different. It’s a well-financed industry. You know a lot of people don’t realize that the industry that gave the most money to Washington over the past few years was not the oil industry, was not pharmaceuticals. It was consumer credit products. Those are the people. The credit card companies have been giving money, and they have influence.
BILL MOYERS: And Mrs. Clinton was one of them as senator.
ELIZABETH WARREN: She has taken money from the groups, and more to the point, she worries about them as a constituency.
So I kind of cheated here to make my point: there’s hearing new evidence and new opinions that leads to someone changing their mind, and then there’s being a corrupt politician who does the bidding of his or her corporate donors.
And I saw an article yesterday that summed up my fundamental problem with Hillary Clinton. Paraphrasing, the thesis was that she lacks political courage, and won’t take a stand on something unless is politically safe for her. From marriage equality to the war in Iraq to ensuring that the poorest Americans have opportunities to have a better life, she has never supported a law or policy that was politically risky or would threaten her chances to advance her political career. Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, has taken principled and politically risky stances, not because they would advance his career, but because that’s what he believed in. As it turns out, his values and my values match up very well, and that’s why I can enthusiastically and passionately support him:
Hillary’s Iraq Vote Lacked Courage, Not Judgment
The decision to go to war in Iraq was a major failure of judgment by the Bush administration and the people who implemented the war. But the Democrats in the House and Senate who had to choose how to vote were not really facing a test of judgment. They were facing a test of political courage. And pretty much every single one of them who had presidential ambitions failed it miserably, including Senator Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton is an extremely intelligent woman. She’s capable of understanding complex issues in great detail. I do not for one second believe that she was somehow ‘fooled’ by George W. Bush into actually believing the invasion of Iraq was the right thing to do. I do not for one second believe her judgment failed her when it came time for that vote.
That’s why so many of us were drawn to Barack Obama in 2008. Because when the chips were down and you had to have enough faith in your own judgment that it would be vindicated in the end and had to have enough courage to stand up and do the right thing, they did.
Hillary Clinton didn’t.
That’s the single biggest reason I was opposed to her candidacy in 2008 and it’s still the single biggest reason I’m opposed to her candidacy today. When push comes to shove and it’s her political career at stake, Hillary Clinton doesn’t lack judgment. She lacks courage.
That’s why she stayed silent on gay marriage until 2013.
That’s why she won’t say no to Super PACs and billionaire donors.
That’s why she won’t oppose capital punishment.
That’s why she won’t push for universal health care anymore.
Does this issue [of voting for the Iraq war] still matter? Hell yes it does.It was one of those critical moments when the character and judgment of so many of our political leaders was laid bare for all to see. Bernie followed his convictions and had the courage to oppose the war. Hillary Clinton and too may other establishment Democrats did not.
This is something that I could have written myself (and I wish I had), because it sums up very clearly why I don’t believe a single thing Hillary Clinton says when she pretends to care about the things that Bernie Sanders has been fighting for his entire career.
91 thoughts on “I’m feeling the Bern, in part because I just don’t believe Secretary Clinton.”
Obligatory “Yes, a box of hammers is preferable to anyone on the GOP side, and I’ll eventually support whoever the Democratic nominee is, but while I still have a choice between Clinton and Sanders, I’m supporting Sanders.”
I’m going to banhammer the everlivingshit out of anyone who is rude or shitty in the comments here. Let’s all be adults.
I, for one, simply will not vote for Clinton. I’ll cast a write-in for Bernie if possible, or just abstain in the Presidential race. No matter what, I will vote for the most progressive candidate I can the rest of the way down the ticket.
But for the White House, for me it’s “Bernie or Bust”. My vote there will either be for Sanders (as a candidate or as a write-in if possible) or I will abstain. If Bernie is not the nominee, I want to cast a protest vote that is unambiguously in support of the Sanders Revolution.
Honestly, I’m not all that worried about a possible President Trump. He’s not Bernie, but he’s also not another establishment oligarch. I won’t vote for him, but I also won’t help the establishment continue to play both ends against the middle. Voting for Clinton just to put a stop to Trump is not a valid reason to vote for her.
If refusing to vote for Clinton helps put Trump or another Republican in the White House, that’s fine. I won’t be responsible for that and I won’t accept any of the blame. But if I vote for Clinton, then I am responsible and must accept my part of the blame for the results of that.
We are in the middle of an anti-establishment political revolution in this country. It’s Socialism and Sanders on the left, Populism and Trump on the right. The country has been in both places before. For us progressives, it’s not enough that Sanders win. We also have to take back the Senate and as many House seats as we can, and vote in as many progressives as possible.
Voting to maintain the status quo is a losing game!
You make some good points. But if Hillary is nominated then the margins for defeating Republicans will be narrower. My advice is to write-in a protest vote IF you do not live in a battleground state (i.e. its not a tight race). That’s my situation and I’ll probably do that.
I’ll be voting for Trump. Gotta make america great again.
Wil, posting your political views makes some of your fans feel excluded. I’ve been a fan of yours since Toy Soldiers (I’m 36). I really think we should talk about military strategy so the next time you steal an SMG you won’t be shot by terrorist. Finally I am a master of Munchkin and can and will destroy you. PS can you have Justin Deeley on your show? He is the next Han Solo.
I totally agree with you on both 1 and 2. I am watching the NH primaries tallies and it must be how most people watched the s-bowl on Sunday. I seriously am enthralled.
On point number 2… I feel that if people aren’t able to have a discussion without attacking each other (instead of just the topic at hand) that I no longer care about the rest of their opinions… because I don’t listen to bullies.
Have you ever meet Sanders? I have, we spent a long time talking about him and his voting record as well as the issues that where/are important to me, I found that he was well informed and that he stayed true to himself (he never tried to change what he said just to get my vote).
“and I’ll eventually support whoever the Democratic nominee”
I won’t. I’ve been a progressive my entire life. I will only vote for progressive candidates. In my eyes, Hillary Clinton lost any claim to that label years ago. And anyone who votes for her does too (again, just talking about “in my eyes” here). If Sanders doesn’t capture the Democratic nomination (especially after the dirty tactics employed by Wasserman-Shultz and the DNC), I’ll vote Jill Stein in November and I’ll never vote for another Democrat again.
I’ve already decided to vote for Jill Stein this November. I’ve voted Democrat all but 2 times in every major election since 1992. I voted for Obama twice, but he’s been a disappointment. I’ve turned against the Democratic Party for one solitary issue: they never pursued criminal charges over the 2008 economic meltdown. There were several criminal prosecutions for the 1980s-era savings and loan mess, but that caused only a fraction of the damage this last recession has. The Democrats spent more time and energy forcing the Affordable Care Act down our throats, while the Republicans spent more time and energy trying to reverse it. They could have spent all that rejuvenating the economy and saving jobs instead, but they didn’t. Both parties have abandoned average Americans. I feel we’re essentially leaderless right now.
In 2006, I surprised several fellow Democrats by announcing that I was supporting Richard “Kinky” Friedman for Texas governor. He ran as an independent and garnered a considerable number of votes. I was already pissed off at the Democrats because they tried to take the “high road” in dealing with George W. Bush and the band of scumbags populating his administration.
Have you ever read the book “Shibumi” by Trevanian? It was published in 1979, and I feel it would make a great film. In the story there’s a global entity simply called “The Mother Company” that decides national elections and manipulates world markets. I’m starting to think that’s what we have now.
I won’t vote for Clinton. I’ve been a life-long Republican, but I didn’t vote for Romney in 2012, and I won’t vote for Trump in 2016, if he’s the nominee. I would rather stay home and not sully myself by casting a vote.
But I live in NJ. There’s absolutely no chance that NJ will be red on election night.
Bernie Sanders is the best presidential candidate that has run in my voting lifetime and I’m in my late 50s. Finally, we have someone who wants to bring back the New Deal values that made this nation, its middle class, its economy and the Democratic Party great. You bet I’m supporting him!
Oh, and a few other things that are relevant to this post are on my Tumblr:
So how do you feel about Bernie’s votes against the Brady Bill?
This piece also ignores that Hillary and Bernie vote together 96% of the time. It’s easy to be an ideologue when you represent the single-most homogenous state in the union full of like-minded liberals (though he still fought gay marriage in favor of civil unions, fought DADT when it was the best progressive option for LGBT members of the military, and positioned himself against DOMA only for states rights reasons).
I wish she voted against Iraq as well. But she represented a state that was paralyzed with fear over an attack on their soil. Bernie represented the number one anti-war state. Black and white is an unfortunate way to look at politics and revisionism is even worse.
I don’t like that Bernie voted against the Brady Bill, and DADT was cowardly legislation that President Clinton fought for to take an issue off the table from the GOP, not because he gave a crap about LGBT people at all if it was politically risky.
So how is that different than anything you’ve written about Clinton here? He sacrificed his principles for political pragmatism. Not trying to be disrespectful but it’s a really common critique in the Bernie camp but doesn’t hold water when held against his similar poor votes.
Also, DADT as cowardly is more revisionism. It was the only option available to make it so that being gay in the military wasn’t illegal. Incremental change is better than no change. Approaching the military with outright equality back then would have led to zero movement instead of small movements in the right direction.
I’ve always thought that reasoning similar to “Approaching the military with outright equality back then would have led to zero movement instead of small movements in the right direction” was rather odd. The President of the United States is also the Commander in Chief of the armed forces. He or she doesn’t have to “approach” the military or worry about the degree of “movement.” The President says “This is how it is going to be. That is an order.” The military then says “Yes, sir!” or “Yes, ma’am!”
For historical reference, see Executive Order 9981. Harry S Truman, on July 26, 1948, eliminated segregation in the armed forces. He didn’t say please, he didn’t worry about push-back. He said “do it” and they did it.
Worrying about the military obeying an order from the Commander in Chief is essentially expressing either an ignorance of, or a lack of faith in, the Constitution and/or the training and discipline of the armed forces. Seriously, if we’re that worried about whether or not the military is going to continue to respect the rule of law and the chain of command, we’d better get the guns, planes, bombs and nuclear launch codes under someone else’s control pretty quickly, don’t you think?
Should also be noted that Clinton’s initial plan was complete freedom for gays to serve in the military (as was part of a campaign promise in 1992). When consevative (and several Dem) reps used back channels to push a federal ban on all gays in the military, a loophole was crafted. Clinton’s support of the lgbt community was a part of his platform, not something he ignored in the face of political risk.
Well, the LGB platform. The T was largely excised for expediency.
That is a false equivalence. Bernie voted against the bill on ideological grounds, believing it to be federal overreach into an area he thought should be left to the states. I disagree with that argument, but I can at least believe and respect it, which is more than I can say for Hillary’s excuses.
It’s also worth noting a few things:
This was 20 years ago.
Bernie voted against Republican efforts to ban states from passing their own versions of the bill, which lends credibility to his stated reasoning.
No candidate is 100% perfect. The difference between Clinton and Sanders is that she has shown a consistent pattern of political cowardice throughout her career. Bernie, on the other hand, compromised with Republicans a little too much on one issue two decades ago.
Bernie is authentic. Hillary will tell you whatever it is she thinks you want to hear.
I think she’s also making a very big deal out of that one vote 20 years ago because it’s literally the only issue Democratic primary voters care about where she can sort of claim to be to Bernie’s left.
He didn’t vote for the Brady Bill because it would have (quite unfairly) made gun manufacturers libel if someone they sold a gun to went postal.
Did Bernie change his position on the provisions of the Brady Bill over time? It seems to me that Bernie just genuinely disagrees with the Democratic party line on gun legislation and seems to view it primarily as a mental health issue. Also, voting against a gun bill is many orders of magnitude different from voting for the worst foreign policy blunder in post-War US History.
On DADT, Bernie has always emphatically stated he’s not an incrementalist, which is a good thing, because none of the biggest policy successes of this country have come from incremental change, the radical strategy for gay marriage being a prime example.
I was going to say this, too. All votes and issues are not equal.
gay marriage is the definition of incrementalist.
allow civil unions -> allow marriage by state -> allow marriage in more states -> achieve tipping point.
He opposed Brady (by his own admission in the first debate) because he lives in a rural state where lots of people use guns. He didn’t mention mental health, he mentioned how difficult it is to pass something on guns in a rural state despite wanting all of these other incredibly divisive issues. I’d love if some of his policies made it into law but they’re just not realistic.
It’s the definition of federalist, not incrementalist. The leaders of the movement, like Mary Bonauto, Evan Wolfson, and Andrew Sullivan, always argued for the whole store, they just carefully chose where and when to do it. In Vermont, Bonauto won the case for gay marriage, but it was the court that allowed the legislature to make a compromise. This is in contrast to the Human Rights Campaign, which pursued the Employment Non-Discrimination Act on the grounds that it was what was achievable, and still haven’t won on the policy.
I think your thoughts echo much of what many of us are thinking. My biggest concern about Bernie is that if he were to be elected, he would have a very hard time getting Congress to accomplish any of the things he’s talking about on the campaign. It’s similar to the struggles that Obama has dealt with in his presidency. I’m a big Obama supporter, but I know a lot of people feel let down that he couldn’t make as many changes as he talked about when he inspired us in 2008 (though I think history will show he got more done than people realize).
Maybe it’s fatalistic of me, but I feel like settling for Hillary is the only way that anything will get through Congress. Kinda depressing now that I type it out like that….
The problem with that, of course, is that Hillary won’t try to push anything progressive through Congress. So do you prefer to try and possibly fail, or to not try and therefore not experience the sting of failure?
And that’s why it’s such a depressing thought.
Gun restrictions, providing childcare for working mothers, criminal justice reform, affordable higher education, improving access to health care for poor individuals, immigration reform, paid family leave, and workforce development are just a few of the progressive causes she has, is, and will fight for. Not sure where you’re getting that she wouldn’t fight for progressive issues when that’s all she’s talked about.
i feel that no matter WHO wins, gridlock is the way things will be. but i’d rather have gridlock with bernie behind things, pushing the meter left, than with hillary, representing the status quo. barack could have gotten SO MUCH more done without knee-jerk gridlock to spite him, but he still got a lot accomplished even while he kept pushing things leftward. i hope bernie can keep that (albeit slow) momentum going.
Gridlock is the way of things in part because in off election years (no presidential election) we as a country have something like a 20% voter turn out rate. It’s all well and good to throw our support behind this presidential candidate or that one but without an equal investment in who our congresspeople are and how they vote nothing is going to change. I mean no disrespect to Wil when I say this but maybe if our celebrities were as actively getting on social media and TV to support congressional candidates then maybe, just maybe we could bump that 20% up just a little bit. It wouldn’t take more than 10% to drastically reshape the face of our congressional body.
This is a congress that HATES Obama to the point where they will spend all their energy trying to make him look bad ie not accomplishing anything, at the cost of damage / lack of improvement or progress for the American people – how can voting in Bernie be any worse? Why vote for someone you know “can work with them” when they themselves are purchased and paid for by that same corruption?
That is the main problem with Sanders. If you think Obama had a hard time in congress, it is nothing compared to the problems Sanders would have. I love his ideas, but he won’t get to implement 90%+ of them if elected. When asked, Sanders never responds satisfactorily to the question of how to deal with congress. The truth is, there is nothing he can do. The changes he wants to implement are great, but have to be fought in increasing steps over many years, perhaps decades. Despite not liking her, I think Clinton would be better for the US in this day and age.
“I believe in it, but I’m not willing to risk anything for it” truly is the most depressing argument against Bernie. If not now, then when? Because there’s never going to be “the right time” for radical ideas (in US political terms) like those Bernie proposes. Besides, the best time to push radical ideas is when they have no chance of passing. Bernie’s been able to capitalize on the advantages of no one giving him a shot and it’s clearly worked out quite well for him. If you’re not willing to stand behind your beliefs then are they really what you believe?
Well if both houses remain controlled by Republicans, NO democrat will be able to get much legislation done. Period. That includes Hillary and currently, both houses are indeed controlled by Republicans. If you look at Hillary’s record, there is no reason to believe she would be better at winning back control over the senate houses. Bernie on the other hand, absolutely.
Another thing to consider about this is that every House member and nearly 40 Senate seats are in play this election. Democrats always turn out in larger numbers than Republicans for presidential elections, so we have a very good chance to shape Congress this cycle. It’s very unlikely that we’ll take the House, but the Senate is definitely in play, and I believe that Sanders energizes and motivates more and younger voters than Clinton does.
I’m just using you Wil so that I won’t be accused of attacking any one. The idea that we have to vote for Clinton because Sanders will note have the backing of congress or senate is not how our system is supposed to work. The idea was that as a nation we were to have a free and open dialog about any and all issues and come to a decision on those issues that we collectively could agree on(it was also understood that not everyone can agree on all topics, so some times you have to go with what is best for the most people).
I agree with the previous commenter Jamison. There is a reason that the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act were passed when LBJ was President, rather than JFK. I have great progressive views, and Sanders has more consistently fallen in line with them (except for guns, he did vote for the horrendous law that shields death merchants from the laws that helped bring Big Tobacco down.) But, having seen Obama come every year to Congress asking for a great agenda, only to be thwarted by politics I think that Hillary is far better at playing that game.
And to your point about her not taking the courageous stand. If she does finally win the big one, I think she will be far more courageous with nothing else to run for. Maybe not as courageous as Obama has been since re-election, but still more so than her Senate career shows.
And last, it may be shallow, but after breaking the racial barrier in 2008, breaking the gender barrier would be huge achievement, over electing another old white man.
She will want to be an eight-year president, so she’ll play it safe the first election. Maybe in the second election we’ll get something. But she is completely out of touch with reality. She’s been a supporter of the TPP, of Keystone XL, etc. She is a follower, not a leader.
Unfortunately I can’t think of anything rude or shitty to say here, so no banhammer for me. Bogus. But I would encourage you to take a look at the conversation on this topic that is going on on Crooked Timber and see what you think, if you have time. http://crookedtimber.org/2016/01/26/democrats-need-to-choose-a-real-candidate-not-a-symbolic-one/
One other thing to note, despite his endorsement (which I was disappointed in), Hillary Clinton is absolutely one of those Very Serious People that Paul Krugman loves to rag on. She would govern according the “centrist” Washington Consensus and would LOVE ideas that sound “serious” but nobody actually wants, like Simpson-Bowles.
But truly, the worst thing about Clinton is her foreign policy record. While she was attempting to showcase her record at the last townhall, her thinking on foreign policy, which the Obama Administration has followed with some reluctance has achieved the following outcomes:
Libya is in chaos (and we’re about to start bombing them because ISIS)
Yemen is in famine due to a Saudi bombing campaign we’re supporting basically because they’re mad about the Iran Deal.
Egypt is back to authoritarianism instead of watching the Muslim Brotherhood get crushed in elections.
Syria is a total quagmire where every involved party is destined to lose.
The TPP is promising to bring our ridiculous Intellectual Property laws to the entire world
And to top that all off, she wants to make up with Bibi Netanyahu and the most right-wing government in Israeli history. Apparently numerous calls for ethnic cleansing, promoting violence and terrorism, and enforcing aparteid while continuously insulting your patron and meddling in their politics is A-Ok for Hillary. Because “strongest ally”. On all of these issues, Hillary has been on the wrong side, arguing for more intervention and more bombs. Bernie, while he’s no anti-war candidate, is much less likely to engage in all that bull.
You do realize that Krugman has endorsed Hillary, no?
I distrust Clinton to the point of seriously considering voting for Ron White on the independent ballot if Sanders doesn’t get the nomination. She’s just as bought-and-paid-for as the GOP and while White may be a hard-drinking, hard-partying pothead at least he isn’t owned by anyone actively harmful at the moment.
Again, I cannot disagree with most criticisms of Hillary. From the get go as First Lady she struck me as an opportunist first and foremost. But like Wil said, even that is better than anything the GOP puts up, so I will support her.
And I still cannot get past Sanders support of the gun lobby. Or the fact that he is another old white man.
I hate to say it, but isn’t it actually counterproductive to let race and gender influence your vote?
No it’s not, why would it be? If I believed that the best thing for the country right now was to have a female chief executive, then that’s how I should vote. Personally, I think that it would be very good for us to have a Madam President, but not at the expense of doing more nothing about climate change.
I very very very much want to vote for a woman to be president, but right now, Hillary Clinton isn’t that woman.
This pretty much describes my thought process. I would be happy to vote for any candidate regardless of race/gender/orientation. But when it comes to voting for president it seems most important to vote for the candidate that most closely aligns with my values. This time around, that person is Bernie Sanders, even though he is “another old white guy”.
Will, I’m betting you and I could not possibly find a single political topic to agree on…at all…and thats ok. However, this comment really confused me. Why do you “very very very much want to vote for a woman to be president”? Why does it matter so much what sex the candidate is?
I assumed I probably knew the answer, but thats not really fair and I was genuinely curious.
Sorry about that Wil.
I may have a vagina, but I don’t vote with it. I use my brain. I heartily recommend others do the same, and I heartily recommend Bernie Sanders. I lived for a short period in Vermont back in the 90s and got to see Bernie in action. There’s a reason Vermonters adore him: they elected him, and he made good on his promises. No lying, no selling out, no using political power for personal gain. What Bernie says is what you get. That’s why I peed all over myself when I learned he was running for prez. And seeing that he’s giving Hillary a run for her (corporate) money, well… I gotta go change my pants.
I’m totally pessimistic about this year’s elections. Bernie Sanders is, indeed, the most qualified in both experience and values to be president. But, as a 74-year-old admitted Socialist, I don’t feel he stands a chance. I’m also completely disappointed in Obama. I liked him and voted for him twice, but he’s really let me down. The economy really hasn’t recovered as well as he and his minions trumpet; he didn’t exit Iraq like he’d promised; and he didn’t command his Attorney General, Eric Holder, to investigate reasons for the 2008 financial meltdown. The latter is, perhaps, his greatest failure. The “Great Recession” is a direct result of financial egregiousness and political incompetence. There are people who’ve spent decades in jail for stealing TV sets or possessing small amounts of marijuana. But, with a few notable exceptions, such as Bernie Madoff, the small cadre of bankers who almost single-handedly brought down the U.S. economy faced few repercussions.
Yet, Obama and the Democrats pushed through that stupid A.C.A.; forcing it upon people who may not need or want it. I can’t afford any of the insurance plans offered and didn’t buy one last year. I also don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. So, I guess – if I should be so blessed to get a tax refund – I’ll be penalized. I’m past due on my student loans and have outstanding medical bills from a freak accident nearly 3 years ago. I’m barely able to pay my cell phone and truck insurance bills. But now, I’ll be forced to pay another bill? And where will that portion of my tax refund go, if I even get one? Who’s going to get that money that I earned?
For some 20 years now, the Democrats have been wimps and the Republicans have been bullies. The Democrats backed down in 2010, when the Republicans threatened to withhold extension of unemployment benefits, if the Bush tax exemptions weren’t maintained. The Democrats still had the votes and the power to keep that from happening. But they bowed to the thugs in the GOP. I have no respect for either party and no faith in our political system. Personally, I’m supporting Jill Stein of the Green Party, but she’s a long shot.
I know politicians have to sell their souls to get elected. But I also wonder if Barack Obama should scour his wife’s collection of designer handbags to find his gonads.
Real talk on the ACA penalty: Have you looked into whether you qualify for a hardship exemption? The fine is pretty hefty this time around.
No, I haven’t. I don’t believe I’m qualified for anything, other than break my back trying to find full-time or more contract work; pay my bills; and care for my elderly parents. I didn’t want and I didn’t ask for health insurance. Yes, it’s great that some people can get it. But to force someone to buy it or else is an organized-crime style tactic; akin to loan-sharking. We already have the IRS to help do that. While the Obama Administration was determined to shove the A.C.A. down the throats of average Americans, the GOP was determined to shove more business deregulation down our throats as well. We are essentially leaderless right now.
A vote for an independent candidate in this day and age is a vote for a Republican. No independent will win until we have a more parliamentary-type system, and if you want to waste your vote, don’t bother. I’m not trying to attack anyone personally, it is just unbelievably frustrating that people don’t seem to see what the real picture is right now.
This is very personal to me. I’m a disabled female, and I will not be some kind of collateral damage so that hipsters can vote their conscience, you know? Every Republican candidate has pledged to cut Social Security and/or ensure cost of living adjustments are passed even less frequently than they are now. Our Republican governor is holding the state budget hostage – including ALL disability services – until our legislature passes right to work, which they won’t. Bernie is the only politician who I even trust a tiny little bit to give a damn about us, and it’s very difficult for me to see Republicans – and, to a degree, some Clinton supporters – as choosing to ignore my very real needs and rights, and those of my community. I sleep easier at night when people support Bernie. And I do believe he can win – if everyone who’s sick of S.O.P. gets out and actually VOTES.
Please provide a link showing one of the Republican candidates stated they would cut Social Security beneits.
Hillary Clinton is currently the only candidate to put forth a plan to address the needs of autistic individuals. And she’s looked past the Autism Speaks/we-need-a-cure rhetoric to include jobs and support for autistic adults as part of that plan: http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2016/01/07/hillary-clintons-autism-plan-suggests-times-are-changing/#57e482ca46da
I can’t speak to Clinton’s ability to generate support for such a plan, but at least she said the word “autism” in public and didn’t follow it with the word “vaccine.”
While my core political beliefs are much more in line with Sanders, raising an autistic adolescent and thinking about his future has changed my priorities somewhat. It might not be a universal issue, but it means something to the estimated 3.5 million people in the United States living with autism, and not all of them will be able to get to the polls or even register to vote.
I understand entirely how you feel as I am an uncle to an autistic nephew, and to another nephew who is a little behind the curve with regards to his speech. I’ve had numerous arguments with some family members and others who believe or believed that vaccines caused autism until I was blue in the face. Some will understand, others will not. I’ve also had to be the one in the family to tell the others that autism is by no means a “death sentence” on life, as I have quite a few friends who vary on the spectrum.
But in looking over this piece and scrolling down, I noticed that Bernie is trying to expand the care we give those with autism and other developmental disabilities that would otherwise hinder personal and educational growth. (http://feelthebern.org/bernie-sanders-on-people-with-disabilities/) In voting for expanding the rights and expenses available to care for these individuals he is making a strong stance to right the wrongs that are committed daily.
While I understand this primarily covers those of younger years, between 3 and 18, it still means a lot to know that efforts are being made to expand coverage and take a little bit of the financial burden off of those families whose kids are on the spectrum who may need special educational or developmental services. I understand that the issues facing adults may be a bit harsher than those facing kids, but any progress made to the issue is great, at least to me being involved in the lives and development of my nephews.
I, personally, will continue to push for Sanders as he is the only candidate I feel actually listens to the issues of the people and would work to expand the care, coverage and advancement of all peoples regardless of race, color, gender, country, region, religion, or even mental development.
Ah…would be so great to see a Sanders/Warren ticket.
I’m a pragmatist at heart. I’m not 100% in line with Sanders, but he definitely aligns closer to me than Clinton does. But I’m voting for Clinton, because at the end of the day I really think she has a much better chance of getting elected and getting stuff done than Sanders does.
The Republicans are foaming at the mouth to obstruct Clinton. With a Republican controlled congress, neither are going to get anything done. This is a terrible argument to make in favor of Clinton. Try and come up with something else.
Great well thought analysis on what the flaw truly is with Sec. Clinton. It isn’t judgement, it’s political courage. Thanks and bravo!!!
While I agree with many of the points raised here and do believe Bernie has been much more honest, I doubt his ability to get any of his agenda passed through Congress. Clinton is very much a wheeling, dealing politician, and with the state of today’s political system that is what we need to get bills passed through.
These descriptions of Clinton, expediency, telling people what they want to hear, etc., apply to the vast majority of politicians out there, and that includes current and past presidential candidates. I’m a Sanders supporter myself, but I will have no problem voting for Clinton if she’s the nominee. A couple of things that have never changed in her working platform are economic policies and the rights of women. Sanders obviously considers those both important, but her track record is unwavering there. They are both strong candidates with pluses and minuses.
Well said, Wil Wheaton and others! I agree 100%!!
How about Chelsea Clinton’s father-in-law, Edward Mezvinsky and Clinton ally ?
He’s a work of art.
From the wiki:
Beginning in the early 1990s, Mezvinsky started a wide variety of 419 scams. According to a federal prosecutor, Mezvinsky was conned by “just about every different kind of African-based scam we’ve ever seen.” The scams promise that the victim will receive large profits, but first a small down payment is required. To raise the funds needed to front the money for the fraudulent investment schemes he was being offered, Mezvinsky became himself a conman, tapping his network of former political contacts and dropping the name of the Clinton family to convince unwitting marks to give him money.
In March 2001, Mezvinsky was indicted and later pleaded guilty to 31 of 69 felony charges of bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud. Nearly $10 million was involved in the crimes. Shortly after his indictment, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but the judge at his trial disallowed a mental illness defense. He served his time at Federal Prison Camp, Eglin. Mezvinsky, Federal Bureau of Prisons # 55040-066, was released in April 2008. He remained on federal probation until 2011, and as of 2010 still owed $9.4 million in restitution to his victims.
What does Edward Mezvinsky have to do with anything? I mean, I have an uncle who molested his daughters in the 1980s who’s loudly pro-Trump, but I’m not posting “How about Trump’s elderly sexual predator supporters, huh? How about them?” It would make no sense.
I hope Bernie Sanders he gets the nomination. If he does, it’ll be a landslide victory as rational conservatives are suddenly faced with the reality of a Trump presidency rather than the “philosophical-middle-finger-of-discontent” that Trump represents at this stage in the election cycle.
What concerns me… is the prospect of Mr. Sanders losing the party nomination and going independent. He’s strong enough to split the left and make a Trump presidency possible.
Yet, election gamesmanship aside, it is right and good that a strong candidate should pursue the office even without the support of two parties that have, quite frankly, outlived their usefulness in the age of computers where tallying a popular vote is not just possible, but frankly, something we already do and have done accuratly for decades.
This two party + college of cardinals thing is… not optimal… to put it politely.
I agree! I would also like to add that the idea of only two sides in a discussion is limited and short sighted, and that when dealing with such a diverse country as ours the two party system is completely inadequate to represent the American people. The other problem with thinking we only have two options is that it creates an us vs. them way of thinking that doesn’t help the nation.
I don’t disagree with your current assessment of Hillary, but she did do one courageous thing in the 90s. That was to craft a health care bill and she got hammered for it. Perhaps it is that experience that changed the way she calculates her votes.
What about O’Malley? Seriously, because his platform seems good but he’s not getting attention. I’d love to hear some discussion of his policies. He may not have a chance, but he’s being ignored.
On January 20, 2009 I was sitting alone in a pleasant coffee shop in Timișoara, Romania at Opera Square. Opera Square is where the Romanian Revolution began in 1989 before spreading to the rest of the country and Bucharest where eventually the Ceaușescus would be executed by firing squad.
In that coffee shop, on my laptop, I watched Obama get inaugurated. I cried the whole time. Not sobbing, mind you, just a steady, silent stream of snot and tears onto my cookie and latte. To finally see a black president meant a lot to me. But no tears for hope or any expectation of reform. I knew Obama would not alter the policies of Bush, and he has not. I never had any illusions about Obama. I didn’t vote for him. In fact, the last time I cast a vote was 1986. My first vote, and my last. Our votes simply do not matter.
Once, when I worked as a boxboy for a chain supermarket in Southern California, I heard two mothers carrying on a serious (for them) discussion in the soda aisle about 7-Up versus Sprite. One woman said, believing she had delivered the decisive blow: “But Sprite has Limon!” Hillary and Bernie and both Limon.
Want a better world? Make your stand face-to-face, one-to-one. All governments are corrupt. Our United States worst of all. Find the (very) few allies you can trust and do your work. Nothing else matters. And that’s my take, friends.
As a UK’er I have insufficient knowledge to join the debate.
But I will say that having Trump anywhere near politics in general and the presidency especially is baffling, bewildering and terrifying to outsiders looking in.
The idea that any world power could end up being run by someone so out of touch with all human compassion and reason gives me and many others nightmares.
It also proves the phrase “All publicity is good publicity” to be a lie, Trump’s outbursts are tarnishing both the image of American politics and the American people themselves.
And at the risk of getting very dark, I am deeply afraid that the answer to the ‘Fermi paradox’ is that beings like Trump get in power and end it all.
I’m a Bernie supporter, but it will be interesting if Hillary is elected and re-elected for a second term to see what she stands for when she no longer has to give a shit about donors and re-election.
Though I favor Sanders, I find the level of smugness among many Sanders supporters repellent. Polarization and fist-pumping have no place in the political process of a free society. Reading this article (linked below) made me realize that I am guilty of it to some degree. Holding a mirror up is seldom comfortable, but the reward is worth the discomfort. Participating in the electoral process is one of our most important freedoms. When we act like spectators at a sporting event rather than sentient adults choosing a world leader, we diminish it. Perhaps this is a poor analogy, but let me put it another way: I can’t shake the feeling that supporting Bernie is kind of like buying an iPhone. I currently use an iPhone because it’s a darned good product, but using an iPhone means I’m part of a community that includes fanboys who buy an iPhone so that they can yell: “Fail” at anyone who doesn’t. In fact, to extend this thought, the reason that Trump’s current level of popularity disturbs me so much, is that he seems to be accomplishing it by taking advantage of this type of fanboy mentality which rewards well-timed snide remarks over balanced factual statements. If we attack Hillary in this same jingoistic way, we’re guilty as well.
Anyway, here’s the article.
If it hasn’t already been said (sorry Wil):
Wil Wheaton, 2016
Re: Bernie’s vote on the Brady Bill: he was representing his constituents’ opinions. Isn’t that what he was supposed to be doing? And, really, how can you argue with the provision in that bill that made gun manufacturers complicit in murders committed with their product?
Some commenters seem to blame the lack of a president to “get things done” in Congress on the other party blocking actions. However, Obama in 2008 had control of both houses and White House for the first 4 years. And Bush before him for the first 2 years. And I think Clinton before him for the first 2 years. They get to the end of their term and the other party becomes the reason for inaction. It’s bogative.
I think the organizations have no interesting in accomplishing anything. Resolving an issue works against the organization and it’s members. If they did and especially if it was successful they lose a plank in their election campaigns. They lose a reason for being. A more sure way to be re-elected is to “try hard”, but “fail”. Works really well if both sides agree to behave in this manner. Makes things predictable and secure.
Echoing the other commenter above who mentioned Clinton’s fight for health care during the first term of her husband’s presidency. I think it is extremely incorrect (from a historical standpoint) to not read that as a courageous position on her part. She fought incredibly hard and was totally destroyed by it. The things that were said about her as First Lady for even daring to work on health care (or anything of a legislative nature) were remarkable and I’m rather surprised by how easily that seems to be forgotten.
In retrospect it looks more like a career move to give Hillary cred with voters. Now she argues against universal healthcare. Her pro-war stance is also unacceptable: She put Robert Kagan (Iraq war architect) on her advisory panel at State, and promoted his wife — who co-authors his pro-war papers — directly underneath herself. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/16/us/politics/historians-critique-of-obama-foreign-policy-is-brought-alive-by-events-in-iraq.html
Her associates credit her with pushing Obama to attack Libya:
Good original post and excellent discussion. While I too am a Bernie Sanders supporter, it is not just the power of his convictions (and those of his supporters) that will foster change in America.
My concern is that the same stumbling blocks will prevent a President Sanders from progress as it did President Obama; that being we, the people, expecting change to happen from the top down.
If we want the changes to our society that Sanders espouses, it needs to happen also with our local mayors, state assembly persons and congress men and women. And it will take a generation to even begin to see the fruits of the hard earned labor that these changes can affect.
In this age of instant gratification and technology, are the American people willing to do the necessary and unglamorous work?
I wish I were more hopeful about the will of the people to do the work to make the changes. Unfortunately, I think it will be a case of casting a vote and nothing more.
Please let me be wrong in this assumption.
The last time I met with Bernie, he said that one of the biggest mistakes he thinks President Obama made was, after the election, saying, “thanks, everyone who voted for me, but I can take it from here,” and that the massive grassroots support that was ready to enact massive and substantial and fundamental change was left completely out in the cold. Bernie has pledged, in private and in public, to not make that same mistake.
Of course things won’t completely change overnight, or even in a single term, or maybe even in an entire two-term presidency, but we have a chance — a real, honest, meaningful chance — to at least try this year.
Thank you, Wil, for that bit of new to me information. Learning that Bernie Sanders is prepared to harness the power and willingness of his supporters and direct it toward the many issues our society faces, has the potential of being a ‘ask not what your country can do for you’ moment.
This is who you should be voting for. https://youtu.be/sCyzdD0vYOw #PresidentCanada
If Sanders is nominated, he’ll lose the general election because his views are outside the American mainstream (even though I agree with him). He’ll lose, just like McGovern, Goldwater, Mondale. Then we’ll have to live through a period of unified Republican control of the federal government. Remember how depressing that was, from 2000 to 2006? Massive tax cuts for the 1%; a horrible unnecessary war; Hurricane Katrina; political purges in the Justice Department. This time around, they’ll repeal Obamacare, throwing millions off health insurance, and make a point of doing nothing about global warming.
And yes, IT WILL BE YOUR FAULT, Sanders voters, simply because you had the chance to prevent it and you chose not to. Your actions and inaction have consequences no matter how much you pretend otherwise.
Barack Obama’s most underappreciated achievement has been simply preventing the Republicans from enacting their agenda ever since 2010. I’m voting for the most electable Democrat, Clinton, in order to keep doing that.
Will, you should wise up and fan the Libertarians.
The reality of politics now is whatever the Libertarians don’t like if it limits freedoms, they undo. They headed off regulation of 3-D printing, gave us the internet, ended communism, and brought us LGBT rights, Green tools, and the spread of democracy. Bernie’s silly social democracy is fine for those who want it, but the Libertarians will undo him as he tries to force it down everyone’s throats as they reversed Obama on LGBT.
The Libertarians have been growing for centuries and are now in every country since they decided to expand in 1969. My old pal Gene Roddenberry was one and modeled ST-TNG on what he conceived as a quasi-libertarian future. So, why aren’t you?
For more on world Libertarians see http://www.libertarian-international.org
I am, within a month or two, the same age as Wil. I have voted Democrat in every presidential election in which I have been eligible to vote. I have worked on several Democratic campaigns, both as staff and as a volunteer, including at the presidential level. I will not under any circumstances support Bernie Sanders. The Democratic Party I joined was a center-left party that believes in using government pragmatically. It is not a socialist party.
Bernie Sanders started his political career as a member of a fringe party openly dedicated to nationalizing most American industry. Before that, he volunteered on a kibbutz, which itself is unremarkable, save for the fact that the kibbutz’ founder was openly a Stalinist. As Burlington mayor, he displayed a Soviet flag in his office. As this summer’s debate over the Confederate flag shows, flying these emblems inflicts real hurt on real people.
Maybe Bernie has moderated his views in the intervening years, because politics. Maybe not. (He did call for a primary challenge to Pre. Obama, after all, who has done a pretty darn good job.) I for one prefer not to take the chance. Temperament matters for Bernie, as it does for Trump.
Then there is Hillary. Now, I am the first to say that Hillary should have campaigned as a center-left candidate, rather than trying to outflank a socialist from the left. Nonetheless, Hillary has a decades-long record of fighting for real change, not rabble-rousing change. She brought us health care reform and S-Chip. Unlike Trump and Sanders (who us a kindler, gentler Trump) she does not try to effect change by pitting American against American: rich against poor, immigrant against native, black against white.
The first few times I was able to vote I voted Democrat. My Whole family was Democrat. Then I grew up.
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