We’ve heard and seen it all this summer. “The two most unfavorable candidates in modern history”, as the media would not get tired of telling us. They tried to treat Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as equally disliked candidates, and treated both with the same scrutiny (or should we say lack of scrutiny). And while America’s progressive chant “Stop Trump” all day long, they have been reluctant to rally behind Clinton, who has been branded a sell-out by hard-left Democrats during the bruising primary.
There is a choice in this election between two very different candidates: a loud-mouthed, bigoted, dangerously narcissistic serial liar and a highly intelligent, dedicated kickass progressive.
Rather than making a positive case for voting Hillary, many of these lukewarm supporters of hers like to emphasize on why stopping Trump is vital. But in doing so, they perpetuate the narrative that this is the choice between two equally dismal evils- something that is plainly false. There is a choice in this election between two very different candidates: a loud-mouthed, bigoted, dangerously narcissistic serial liar and a highly intelligent, dedicated kickass progressive. Liberals need to start making a positive case for voting for their candidate rather than just against the other. Here it is: the positive case for Hillary Clinton.
1. She’s a fighter
During his presidency, Bill Clinton put his wife in charge of one of his biggest election promises: healthcare reform. Hillary traveled the country, and worked hard with a dedicated staff to bring health care access to all Americans, only to see all her work rubbed up in partisan bickering. But she and her allies did not give up, and passed the Children’s Health Insurance Program in 1997, which gave eight million poor kids access to healthcare. Those in Congress who helped pass that law say that Hillary’s support for the plan was “pivotal”, and that the program might not exist today had she not pushed for it as First Lady.
Hillary has also shown her toughness on other occasions. She and her husband have now endured over two decades of relentless mean-spirited attacks from right-wing activists. She faced the hostile Congressional committee on the Benghazi debacle for hours, keeping her cool while her opponents tried to score political points over the deaths of four Americans.
2. She’s qualified and experienced
Hillary was a First Lady twice: first in Arkansas, where she headed an effort to reform the state’s education system. Her early career is marked by passionate advocacy on behalf of children and families. During her husband’s presidency, she went beyond the First Lady’s traditional role and became a key player in policymaking. As a senator, she defended the interests of New Yorkers for eight years, winning two elections. In 2009, she joined her primary opponent’s administration to become Secretary of State. She holds the record for most countries visited as Secretary of State. Taken together, this all means she has spent decades in the public spotlight and has an almost unmatched knowledge of the details of policy and the political process.
3. She’s a progressive
She’s a feminist who will fight for equal pay and defend abortion access. She will tackle wealth and income inequality by making the wealthy pay their fair share. She will fight for racial justice, remove inequalities in the justice system, and restore voting rights. She will protect immigrants from unjust deportation. She will do what she can to protect LGBT Americans from discrimination. She will make America a leader in the global battle on climate change. She will limit the influence of big money interests on politics. She has a plan to reduce student debt and create many jobs and sustainable growth by investing in clean energy. She will demand common-sense gun safety laws from Congress. She’ll defend, and build upon, Barack Obama’s legacy.
Hillary has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood, by the Human Rights Campaign – a leading LGBT rights group – , and by the biggest labor unions in the country.
4. The contrast with her opponent couldn’t be bigger
At last, I must say a few words about her opponent, and the stark contrast he represents to Hillary’s candidacy.
When people accuse her of not telling the truth, they do so on a hunch that maybe she hasn’t said all she knows. That may be problematic, but it’s galaxies away from her opponent, who is an unapologetic, serial liar. Donald Trump lies pathologically – according to Politico, it’s one untruth for every three minutes fifteen seconds of speech. He lies about his own accomplishments, makes up Muslims celebrating 9/11, makes false claims about his opponent’s policies or boasts of donating to veterans‘ groups – something that never happened. His so-called business success is based on exaggeration, big tax breaks and defrauding ordinary people.
A Trump presidency will mean yuuuge tax cuts for those at the top of the income scale, paid for by everybody else, and particularly by future generations left with even more debt. Trump will sever ties with our allies, do nothing to help disadvantaged minorities, and worsen the polarisation of this society.
Donald Trump has been in it for himself. Hillary has dedicated a life to public service. Her record may not be spotless, but there is no doubt about her commitment to work her ass off in public functions. Yes, Hillary needs to be honest about her lack of judgment in setting up a private email server. But that slip-up does not eclipse her four years of service in the State Department, fighting for America’s interests. Yes, the Clinton Foundation has not always been as transparent as it ideally ought to be. But that stain pales in comparison to what the foundation’s work has done in helping the world’s poorest.
America needs smart, measured and diplomatic leadership in complex times. America needs someone who will stand up for working people, who will defend the rights of all citizens. Americans need someone who unites and listens, not someone who divides and yells. America needs Hillary Clinton.