By Kris Seto
Apr 11, 2016
To those who are supporting Hillary Clinton,
I love you.
And while I know that we’re technically on the same side fighting against a terrifying Republican reality, it seems that we disagree on many issues. I say technically because, outside the usual left vs. right is another critical battle: the fight to reclaim our government from the control of big money, corporations, lobbyists, and billionaires. And that’s the start of where many of our differences in viewpoints begin. For once in a very long time, we have the opportunity to elect a New Deal Democrat with a clean record, who is calling out the system for what it is, who is changing the conversation, who has been on the right side of history time and time again, who refuses to rely on Super PACs, who is powered by contributions from everyday people, who continues to set unprecedented fundraising milestones ($44 million in March) - and who beats Trump by double digits in almost all of the national polls (at a greater margin than Clinton).
Let that all sink in.
A Sanders presidency would be revolutionary - a yuuge break from the stranglehold corporations have on our government. Those are but a few reasons why I#FeeltheBern.
Recently, however, there’s been a backlash as many Sanders fans express the sentiment that, should Clinton become the nominee, they will not vote for her — a fourth of Sanders supporters according to the latest poll. For them, it’s#BernieorBust — and they’ve gotten some flack as a result. Many Clinton supporters find this hypocritical, saying “We’ll vote for your candidate, but you won’t vote for ours? You will give the election to Trump. That’s f*cked up.” A paraphrased sentiment (no shade).
But before condemning the “defectors,” it’s worth investigating why.
For one, not all Sanders supporters are Democrats and feel no loyalty to the party; Sanders does especially well with independent voters who make up the largest voting bloc in America. Additionally, there are real moral dilemmas one must consider when pulling the lever for Clinton. In 2007, I was all about Hillary. Now, as I’ve learned more about her, I’m not sure that I would be able to vote for her in good conscience. And while a Trump vs. Clinton showdown is a very different and very serious moral quandary (please note: #NeverTrump), it would not be a guilt-free decision for me. For so many elections we’ve been forced to vote for the lesser of two evils that it feels incredibly dirty to give away my vote out of fear. To feel coerced into voting for a hoped-to-be ordained candidate when the DNC,establishment (which is all too real), and corporate media blackout have not given Sanders equal air time or a fair shot. See: here, here, here, here, here, here, here,here, here, here, here, and here as but a few examples from a pool of the many ways the media has undermined and undercut his campaign (it’s also worth reading a bit about how the media manufactures consent). I, for one, refuse to be bullied into voting for a candidate because those in power wanted a coronation ceremony. That is not a democracy and my choice will not be predetermined for me (FYI our democracy has now been proven to be an oligarchy). A vote for the preordained candidate is a vote that enables this system to continue. It only feeds the illusion of choice, which is why it weighs so heavily on my heart.
But right now, despite what the mainstream media would have you believe, we still have a real choice. And instead of having to vote for the lesser of two evils, we have the opportunity to vote for the greater good.
In search of finding common understanding, I’d like to ask Clinton supporters a few honest questions. For me, as I’ve examined the evidence and asked myself the same, the number of issues surrounding Clinton that I must deny, justify, or rationalize is just too great. To some of these questions, I’ve heard people answer, “She’s a career politician. What do you expect?” I’d ask: Why not expect more from our politicians? Why not progress us forward to a new possibility? For others, there’s the Machiavellian argument for Clinton: that in order to game the system, you must play within the system - and she’s done just that. And perhaps she would be the best to continue the existing politics-as-usual system. But that system is no longer serving the people’s interests. And the country is waking up. We are the richest country that has ever existed in the history of the world who spends an astronomical amount of money on wars and military spending and yet income inequality is worse than it’s ever been since the Great Depression. We currently have a once-in-a-lifetime Presidential candidate who is calling for real changes - not small, incremental progress. A candidate who is calling us to stand together and say “Enough is enough!“
So to those who like Hillary:
Consider that we never got the full picture. Consider that, due to the accessibility of information that’s now available to us, previously obscured facts can now be found with relative ease - with a bit of #HillaryResearch. Consider that not every attack on Clinton’s record is coming from the right-wing or is due to her being a woman, but may actually be rooted in reality. Consider that we’ve been sold a public personality - one that’s managed by strategists and public relations masters. Consider that the U.S. ranks 49th in the world in terms of freedom of press, that our media “options” are limited (Time Warner, CNN’s parent company, is the 8th largest contributor to Clinton’s campaign), and that they have their own agenda (see: $$). Consider that, when Clinton’s record is viewed as a whole, there’s a consistent narrative that can be understood.
We must ask ourselves: at what point are we willing to let go of the image we’ve been sold and instead look at valid criticisms? What does it say about our society when we’re more loyal to a party that’s been sold to corporate interests than we are towards our own human interests?
Consider too that all of the following questions can be raised by a Republican opponent in the general election come November. Consider that these are but a few reasons why many voters are calling for #BernieorBust. (I come bearing hyperlinks. Click them.)
1. International Money Ties
Money influences policy and politics, which is a fact. Another fact: the Clinton’s have created a massive $3 billion fundraising network. But if Hillary Clinton isn’t as influenced by money as she claims, how do you explain the weapons deals brokered by Clinton’s state department with foreign countries who made donationsto the Clinton Foundation? Many of these countries include the world’s worst tyrants with abysmal human rights records and are known to fund terrorism, execute gays, and discriminate against women and religious minorities. Perhaps this is how the system has worked, but how would we react if a Republican in office did the same?
2. Wall St.
During the second debate, when Sanders pressed Clinton on her ties to the finance industry, Clinton said she went to Wall St. and told them to “cut it out”. She also bizarrely cited 9/11. But how are we to rectify this account when her approach was largely “hands off” as the Boston Globe put it? This only makes us wonder: who is she really representing? What are we to make of the Clinton’s being so close to the banks?
3. The Transcripts
Clinton made a total of $2.9 million from 12 speaking engagements to financial institutions upon leaving as Secretary of State - the most out of every candidate. Sanders called for her to release the speech transcripts (as did the New York Times) demanding that the public should have a right to know the contents, especially if we are to trust she will break up the big banks. First Clinton said she would look into it. Then she said that she would release them when everybody releases them. Some believe it’s a double standard to ask her to share them with the public. But in this moment, she’s running against Sanders for the nomination. How do we justify Clinton’s reluctance to release the transcripts? If her ties to Wall St. have no bearing on how she will regulate the banks then what is she hiding? Last year, the Clinton Foundation also reported that it received as much as $26.4 million in previously undisclosed payments from major corporations, universities, foreign sources and other groups for speeches that were tallied as revenue rather than donations.
4. Campaign Finance
In 2008, after winning the Democratic nomination, Obama announced a DNC ban on accepting unlimited donations from lobbyists and Super PACs, stating:
“We will not take a dime from Washington lobbyists or special interest PACs. We’re going to change how Washington works. They will not fund my party. They will not run our White House. And they will not drown out the voice of the American people when I’m president of the United States of America.”
Cut to 2016. On a Friday before a holiday weekend, the DNC announced that it would lift the ban. Sanders immediately spoke out against it and urged Clinton to do the same. Clinton has not commented. When Clinton remains silent on issues of money infiltrating our politics, how are we to trust that she will prioritize people over big moneyed interests?
5. Panama Papers
The Panama Papers is the largest data leak in the history of investigative journalism. Thousands of the rich and powerful have been implicated in their offshore banking practices and the many ways in which they funnel their giant sums of money around the world in secrecy. The U.S. was notably absent from the initial release, but here’s a great primer. How does this pertain to our current Democratic election? When Obama and Secretary of State Clinton entered office in 2009, they both began pushing for the passage of stalled free trade agreements (FTAs) with Panama, Colombia and South Korea even amidst warnings that it would make it more difficult to crack down on Panama’s low income tax rate, banking secrecy laws, and history of non cooperation with foreign partners. Additionally, Clinton’s chief campaign staff John Podesta and his lobbying firm Podesta Group recently began representing Sberbank of Russia, a bank implicated in the leak. Again, how are we to feel knowing that the agreements Obama and Clinton pushed in 2011 only further enabled the 1% to continue to dodge paying their fair share? Sanders correctly predicted what the Panama Papers have revealed and spoke out against the trade deals.
6. LGBTQ Rights
While it was a different social and political climate and, yes, people can evolve (though The Economist called her shift on gay marriage “farcically late“), Clinton’s stances on DOMA, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, her speech against gay marriage, this “awkwardly strange” interview with NPR‘s Terry Gross, and this email about gay parents can leave an LGBTQ voter feeling dissatisfied. Even if you take a more forgiving approach, the Clinton’s attempts to spin it as a defense of a constitutional amendment contradicts with historical accounts and doesn’t sit well with many. When it mattered, Clinton did not have our best interests at heart - a sharp contrast to Sanders who has voted consistently on the right side of history even when it wasn’t the popular choice.
Additionally, her latest incident at Nancy Reagan’s funeral where she praised Reagan’s “low-key advocacy” for HIV/AIDS awareness, an inaccurate and offensive statement, triggered painful memories. It was quite the opposite of the truth in fact -“a f*cking lie” as columnist Dan Savage called it. Clinton chose to bring this up in the interview herself, but later apologized when she was met with outrage and accusations of revisionist undertones. How many times will we continue to apologize for her? “Well, but people make mistakes...it was just a slip. She was tired,” we bargain. But for many, it’s more than just a mistake. What it demonstrates is a detachment from real social justice issues that Americans face - or historical facts for that matter. As a “progressive”, why wasn’t she better informed? In each of these instances, she had a chance to stand up for what’s right, but failed to do so.
7. Mass Incarceration
As Clinton continues to push her social justice platform, how do we make deal with the fact that she took money from the private prison complex up until October of last year? How do we rationalize her role in the rise of mass incarceration? This is where striking deals with Republicans and compromise has left us. Today, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rates in the world. Clinton has expressed that parts of the 1994 Crime Bill were a mistake. Sanders voted for the bill because it included a ban on assault weapons, as well as the Violence Against Women Act, but again vehemently spoke out against the effects of the bill, which ultimately came true.
How do we justify Clinton’s 1996 implication that black teenagers are “Super-predators that need to brought to heel“? Clinton has since apologized, but what these comments reveal to many is someone who is out of touch with the realities that face black America. Give me the candidate who has recognized the humanity in everyone since the beginning.
8. The Iraq War
How are we to justify Clinton’s vote for the Iraq War when Sanders was presented with the exact same evidence? His response was vastly different. The number of lives lost due to this decision is staggering and the cost is in the trillions. It was a war sold to us under false pretenses. Has she learned from this mistake? How has she earned our trust back since then? At what point does judgement trump experience?
9. Foreign Policy
Many cite Clinton’s experience as Secretary of State as one of her greatest strengths. But when we examine her record, Clinton took strong interventionist stances that had disastrous and catastrophic consequences. Her decision to support the coup in Honduras has left the country with widespread violence as well as a regime that murders indigenous leaders. Environmental activist Bera Cáceres, who was assassinated in her home this month, had previously called out Clinton on her decision to back the overthrow. Similarly, during the Arab Spring, Clinton’s push to topple dictator Muammar Qaddafi has left a political vacuum as extremists battle it out in the war-torn country. Then there’s Syria too. To tell voters to support a candidate whose decisions have caused thousands of lives lost, unnecessary violence and chaos, and displaced millions of refugees is, quite frankly, rude. How can you ask us to support a candidate who has taken such aggressive action and caused so much bloodshed? How can we know that Clinton will not lead us into endless wars? She recently gave a speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee convention (AIPAC) which confirmed many people’s fears of her imperialist approach. You can judge the transcript.
10. The Patriot Act
How are we to justify Clinton’s vote for the Patriot Act and its reauthorization, especially when the FBI later admitted it didn’t really do all that much? How are we to trust that she’ll protect our civil liberties and privacy rights in the future?
11. Cluster Bombs
In 2006, Clinton voted against an amendment that would ban the use of cluster bombs in concentrated civilian areas - one of the most heinous weapons in modern warfare that half of the world has already outlawed. Women and children are the ones left most vulnerable to undetonated clusters. What are we to make of this vote? What’s the justification? Clinton has also received the most amount of money from the weapons manufacturers industry out of all the candidates.
12. Henry Kissinger’s Protege
During the fifth debate, Clinton was proud to tout former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as a supporter of hers. Sanders called her out on it stating that he was happy that he is not a friend of Kissinger’s, an accused war criminal whose atrocious policies resulted in the death of millions of people. His accomplishments include the deliberate mass killing of civilian populations in Indonesia, the deliberate collusion in mass murder, and later in assassination, in Bangladesh, as well as the incitement and enabling of genocide in East Timor just to name a few. How are we to trust that Clinton will not continue her war-hawk tendencies? How are we to feel knowing that Clinton is a fan and friend of Kissinger - that in 2012 he sent her a handwritten note that read, “I greatly admire the skill and aplomb with which you conduct our foreign policy“? America is sick and tired of wars. And who benefits? Follow the money.
As people who care about the environment and climate change, perhaps the greatest threat to our human existence, how do we justify Clinton’s ties to the oil and energy industry, her role in selling fracking to the world, and the fact that she continues to accept money from lobbyists? And while she may not be alone in her acceptance of this money, as the favored Presidential candidate, she is the figurehead of the system that continues to allow this to happen. How do we know she won’t continue to sell out on our planet?
14. Flint and the 2005 Groundwater Vote
Just before the debate in Flint, Michigan, Clinton finally called for the resignation of Governor Snyder - something Sanders had done previously. But despite the rhetoric to bring immediate action and hold officials accountable, how do you resolve the fact that in 2005 she voted against a bipartisan bill banning MBTE, a possible carcinogen that was found to possibly be contaminating water supplies?
Monsanto, biotech giant and manufacturer of chemical pesticide Roundup, is considered by many to be one of the most evil corporations in the world. Roundup and its use on crops has been purportedly linked to a number of chronic health issues including cancer, birth defects, heart disease, and celiac disease. Monsanto and the industry has pumped millions of dollars into the fight against proper labeling and the public’s right to know whether or not their food contains GMOs. Clinton has a number of ties to the organization. Her campaign manager, Jerry Crawford, is a former Monsanto lobbyist. Additionally, Monsanto has donated money to the Clinton Foundation as well as bundled money for her current campaign. Lobbyist obstruction is largely the reason why we haven’t studied the full effects of GMO crops or how they affect the livestock that eat them. GMOs are indeed a complex issue, but how are we to trust that she will always defend our right to information? Her campaign has assured that she will, but how are we to feel knowing that Monsanto has such close ties to her campaign - that they will already have a seat at the table? By simply taking Clinton’s word? How are we to trust that she’ll always champion policies with our interests in mind instead of practices that are potentially toxic to our food supplies?
16. Rahm Emanuel
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been in the midst of a battle for public support as citizens call for his resignation amongst allegations of his office suppressing footage of police officers shooting LaQuan McDonald during a reelection year. Many are also deeply unhappy with Emanuel’s administration, which has closed public schools, cut education budgets and threatened to lay off thousands of teachers.
When footage of LaQuan McDonald first broke, asked whether she still had confidence in Emanuel, Clinton said: “I do. He loves Chicago and I’m confident that he’s going to do everything he can to get to the bottom of these issues and take whatever measures are necessary to remedy them.”
She’s since put distance between herself and Emanuel, but her initial response says a lot. Does Clinton stand up for what’s right or who she knows?
17. The TPP
For years as Secretary of State, Clinton traveled around the world pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the biggest-ever free trade agreement that would replace NAFTA, describing it as “exciting,” “innovative,” “ambitious,” “groundbreaking,” “cutting-edge,” and the “gold standard”. In October of 2015, she flipped to a different tune and publicly opposed the deal (Sanders had opposed the TPP from the start), which has the potential to continue to protect the interest of multi-national corporations at the expense of workers, consumers, and the environment. How do we trust that Clinton’s actions will always have our best interests at stake? If Sanders hadn’t pulled Clinton to the left on TPP, would she still be pushing it? When browsing the Clinton Foundation donor page, what are we to make of the many multinational corporations who have donated millions of dollars? Time after time, it seems, she’s voted for profits over people.
18. The Death Penalty
In good conscience, how can you vote for a candidate who continues to support the death penalty? Ricky Jackson, an exonerated man who was on death row for 39 years, recently shared a powerful op-ed on capital punishment that’s worth having a read.
19. Minimum Wage
Since the start of his campaign, Sanders has called for a national $15 minimum wage. He’s stood with protesters, acted as a strong vocal advocate, and even introduced new legislation into the Senate. And while Clinton cites $12 as the magic number, the New York Times has backed $15 as well. Why should we strive for less? Because someone has told us it’s unrealistic? How are we to trust a candidate who wants us to settle for less before even trying? To give up before even being able to bargain for what we want? Is that what it means to be a leader? When has small thinking or cynicism served the world or brought about significant social progress? And when New York passes a $15 minimum wage, how are we to feel when Hillary Clinton showed up for the trophy ceremony to take credit?
20. Single Payer, Marijuana and Pharmaceutical Ties
Back in the 90s, Clinton campaigned hard for universal healthcare. And yet, in 2016, she’s decided that we should continue Obamacare and give up trying for single-payer despite over 50% of America supporting it. Almost every developed nation around the world has implemented it - so why is it suddenly unrealistic for us? It’s not a radical idea. We’ve just yet to catch up to the rest of the developed world. Even if it’s not easy, why are we giving up before trying? Together, we can’t.Recently, Clinton was caught in a lie during a campaign speech, challenging Sanders on where he was when she was trying to pass universal healthcare in the 90s. He was right behind her (she thanked him in her speech) - and he continues to push for it to this day. Again, this flip only raises eyebrows and contributes to the public’s mistrust. Is it a coincidence that pharmaceutical companies are major donors?
Similarly, why is it that Clinton doesn’t believe marijuana should be fully decriminalized when most Americans do? In a call for legalization, Harper’s Dan Baum revealed that Nixon’s policy advisor John Ehrlichman revealed that America was sold a false war on drugs:
We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.
The costly and ineffective prohibition must end.
21. Immigration and Hispandering
When it comes to immigration, Clinton has held a number of stances that have evolved over the years. In 2003, she was “adamantly against illegal immigration.” In 2006, she voted YES to build a fence along the Mexico border. In 2007 she said, “As president, I will not support driver’s licenses for undocumented people and will press for comprehensive immigration reform that deals with all of the issues around illegal immigration, including border security and fixing our broken system.” In 2015 she said that she now supported state policies to provide driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants and came out in support of a path to citizenship. She defended Obama’s deportation policies in 2014, but now suggests they were too harsh. And then there’s perceptions of Hispandering and Clinton’s fumble to attract the Hispanic vote. Contrast these with Sanders’ comprehensive plan, which includes a quick path to citizenship, the DREAM Act and visa reform, and has been backed by the New York Times Editorial board. How are we supposed to trust Clinton’s positions when they change?
22. The Arrogance of the Establishment
Those closely following the Sanders campaign have a first-hand understanding of the biases and subtle ways in which the establishment and media have largely shut him out of the conversation, especially early on in the race. For many of us, it’s never been more flippant or obvious and it’s why thousands of protesters took to CNN. They’re not crazy. Just because others may not personally see it, doesn’t mean it’s not present or prevalent. Here are but a few examples.
First, there was the debate schedule. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, head of the Democratic National Committee, reduced the number of scheduled debates from twenty-six in 2008 to just six this year. Four of these dates were on weekends including the Saturday before Christmas, the Saturday night of a New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys NFL game, and the Sunday night of Martin Luther King Jr. weekend - days when viewership would be a challenge. Many voters and critics, including Martin O’Malley and Sanders, spoke out and petitioned against what so many saw as a blatant effort for the party to reduce risk and exposure for Clinton. The DNC stiff-armed the call for more debates. However, only when Clinton was slipping in the polls leading up to New Hampshire and Iowa did she chime in and request more debates. The party obliged and Sanders asked for three more (the last one she tried to dodge). But why limit that number to just six in the first place? If you wanted to present your party’s case to the American people, why wouldn’t you include more dates and maximize your audience?
Then there’s the superdelegate system. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has defended the system saying: “Unpledged delegates exist really to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activists.” What does this say? It tells us that the DNC is not interested in people organizing at a community level - no matter the cause or number of people involved. The will of the people doesn’t need to be honored. Isn’t our government to be for the people by the people? Howard Dean, presidential candidate turned “non-lobbyist“ tweeted “Super delegates don’t “represent people” I’m not elected by anyone. I’ll do what I think is right for the country.” While many superdelegates may switch later on at the convention as they did in 2008, what are we to make of the many elected officials who are blatantly disregarding their own constituents’ will?
Thirdly, there’s the voting disaster in Arizona, a gross failure for voting rights. A few facts:
-In Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populated county of four million and fourth most populous in the United States, voters waited in lines up to five hours to cast a ballot. This discouraged thousands from waiting in line and voting, including and especially elderly, those with kids, and the working class.
-Maricopa reduced the number of polling stations by 70% since the last presidential election: from 200 in 2012 to just 60 this year. That’s 20,000 voters for every polling station.
-For thousands who did make it to the front of the line, their party affiliations were mysteriously changed in the system - including longtime Democrats. As a result, they had to fill out provisional ballots, which do not get counted.
-During the evening coverage, with just 1% of the votes in and many people still in line, the Associated Press called the race for Clinton.
-Arizona’s Secretary of State has admitted and acknowledged that voter suppression occurred.
Voter suppression and manipulation is real and is something we all should be alarmed about. There are reports of fishy activities in other states, including Illinois late voter suppression, exit poll discrepancies, and stations running out of ballots. There are also reports and anecdotal evidence of registered voters having their party affiliations changed in California, Connecticut, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. For years these fishy issues have occurred regularly, but this time it’s on a scale large enough for people to take notice.
But what says even more is the DNC’s silence following the issue. Are they interested in protecting our democracy? Is the Democratic party interested in democracy? At what point do we continue to allow this to happen? The testimonies that citizens shared at the Arizona hearing are worth listening to, especially this one and this one.
Right before the South Carolina primary, Clinton held a fundraising event at a private residence. Attendee and Black Lives Matter protester Ashley Williams interrupted Clinton’s speech as a call for Clinton to acknowledge and apologize for her role in mass incarceration, as well her “super predator” and “bring them to heel” comments. Security escorted her out of the event. In the video, many found Clinton’s tone to be dismissive, especially in contrast to how Sanders handled a similar situation in Seattle in which two Black Lives Matter protesters stormed the stage. Some justify Clinton’s response believing the interruption to be rude and an inappropriate time. But that is precisely the privileged stances that have allowed black people to continue to be murdered and disproportionately incarcerated at the hands of an unjust government and judicial system that does not value their lives. That is a bigger inconvenience. What are we to make of this video, especially when just days earlier Clinton gave a speech in Harlem where she said:
“White Americans need to do a better job at listening when African Americans talk about the seen and unseen barriers they face every day. Practice humility rather than assume that our experience is everyone’s experiences.”
Soon after footage of Williams hit the Internet, Twitter and social media erupted with the hashtag #WhichHillary, which attacked Clinton’s record and became the #1 trending topic. How would you feel being told that you need to support this candidate?
24. The Mistrust and Dirty Campaign Tactics
67% of Americans find Clinton “not honest and trustworthy“ while 53.7% of Americans find her unfavorable. Over half of America. Let that sink in.
Yet the majority of America can’t possibly all be right-wing conspiracists, right? Nor are they uninformed or just buying into decades Republican-launched attacks. Consider that it’s because Clinton has a long history of using dirty campaign tactics, changing her stances, and altering her rhetoric to garner a vote.
Remember in 2008 when she race baited? Or brought up the assassination of Robert Kennedy during her campaign against Obama? Here’s where she lied about being broke leaving after leaving the White House. Here’s where she falsely claimed that her campaign depends on “small funds for the majority of [her] support.” Here’s where she painted Sanders as a sexist. Here’s Clinton exploiting Sandy Hook to attack Sanders. Here’s Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont calling out Clinton for misrepresenting attacks on gun control. Here’s when she lied aboutsniper fire on a trip to Bosnia. Here’s where Chelsea Clinton lied about Sandersdismantling healthcare. Here’s where many accuse Bill Clinton of breaking the law and continuing to show up too close to polling stations in Massachusetts and shutting them down for hours. Despite Hillary aligning herself with Obama and his progress, here’s Bill Clinton speaking to a more conservative crowd and referring to Obama’s “awful legacy.” Here is where Hillary says she’s so sick of Sanders attacking her campaign. Here are 6 Clinton lies in one week. Here is a 13 minute video compilation.
And then there are her infamous server and emails. Her emails revealed ties to for-profit colleges as well as a flip on the controversial trade agreement with Colombia. Wikileaks, who has released Clinton’s email database online, has reason to believe she worked with the CEO of Google to censor a Benghazi video. Whether you believe the investigation claims are legit or not, Clinton is a Presidential candidate who is undergoing an FBI investigation. That is real and would continue throughout her campaign to November should she become the nominee.
However, given all of these examples, Clinton still managed to call herself the most “transparent public official in modern times.“ Why is it that her campaign is so dependent upon dirty tactics and misinformation to attack her opponents? Politics-as-usual doesn’t have to be the norm if we choose to stop supporting it. What are we to make of these incidents?
25. The strongest candidate?
If there’s one thing we can agree upon, it’s that the 2016 race has been filled with the unexpected. Imagine for a moment that Donald Trump doesn’t become the nominee and that the Republicans broker their convention with Cruz, Kasich or even a Paul Ryan for kicks. Who is the bigger gamble for avoiding a Republican presidency: Clinton or Sanders? According to the polls, who is the most electable candidate in the entire race?
26. What progressive record?
Given these votes, policies, and positions, when has Clinton demonstrated herself to be a progressive? How do you remedy that her most recent flips all occurred right before she announced her candidacy? In a 1994 NPR interview, Clinton has also stated that she was proud of her conservative roots as a Goldwater girl, a Presidential candidate who voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. What are we to make of this?
27. What would her platform be?
Ask yourself honestly: what would Clinton’s platform be had Sanders not pulled her to the left? Would we be having a conversation on income inequality, campaign finance reform, or corporate greed? Why didn’t she take the lead on these issues? Would we be talking about breaking up the big banks given Clinton’s long standing ties to Wall St.? What do you make of the fact that the debate topics we’re discussing are the same topics that Sanders has spoken out against since the beginning?
I recognize that there are many complexities to these issues. That politicians must make tough decisions.
Do I think Clinton is evil?
Is she alone in her acceptance of super PAC money?
No. But she’s also running for the highest office against a candidate who has achieved much without conceding to the “necessary” evils.
Do I dismiss the positive accomplishments Clinton has made?
Do I think she’s demonstrated that she’s done everything in her power to fight for all Americans?
Do I think Sanders will?
Do I acknowledge that the decisions Clinton made were within the confines of our existing political system?
Do I accept this system as the way we must move forward?
Ask yourself these questions and ask #WhichHillary we will be getting should she win the nomination. These questions travel beyond Clinton’s candidacy and to challenging a system that continues to stifle progress for the average American. At what point do we stand up to our media and stop allowing them to push their own corporate agenda? At what point do we stand up to voter suppression and the system’s blatant disregard for a legitimized democratic process? At what point do we stop giving away our political power out of fear? If not now, when? Ask yourself: which side of the Democratic party is holding the other hostage by asking us to rally behind a disliked candidate, especially given Sanders’ double digit defeats against Trump et al?
I’d ask everyone to look at her record honestly, objectively and ask yourself if Hillary Clinton is our best bet. I’m not quite so sure.
Kris Seto: Writer. Dancer. Muse-for-hire. Co-choreographer/artistic director of [VESSELS]. Follow him on Twitter: www.twitter.com/setoburrito