By Akshaya Annapragada '20
A Letter to the #NeverHillary Democrats:
I hear your concerns that electing Hillary Clinton is akin to another 4 years of an Obama presidency, and that this is simply not enough – it’s time for real CHANGE, change we can believe in (yes, irony noted)! I hear your complaints that Hillary Clinton has far too many ties to the establishment, and old money, and doesn’t represent ordinary voters. I acknowledge your disappointment that Hillary is JUST NOT BERNIE.
And in this vein, I’m sure you’re tired of hearing that your concerns don’t matter – just suck it up, vote for HRC and keep Trump out of the oval office, because a protest vote is a vote for Trump. All of this is unequivocally true; however, the opportunity to elect the most qualified presidential candidate in history should be a cause for excitement, not resignation. So here are a few reasons to proudly declare #ImWithHer that I hope you’ll consider.
1) Changing viewpoints isn’t a bad thing – Hillary catches a lot of flak for her supposed “flip-flop” on TPP, but remember - times change, and so did Hillary. Hillary’s career has spanned decades, and as her constituent’s opinions have shifted, so has she. To put this in perspective, in 2008, then Senator Obama ran on a platform opposing gay marriage. Later, he changed his mind. Yes, that was a clear “flip-flop”, but would you really rather he failed to update his views? Hillary shows a remarkable ability to represent her constituent’s policy positions, and that’s a cause for all of us to celebrate.
2) Having centrist views doesn’t make HRC a sellout, it just means she gets things done – Hillary is sometimes derided as not being a true blue progressive, and disliked for her centrist stances; however, in the most polarized political climate ever, her centrist leanings bode well for bipartisan support. No matter how progressive, and laudable a policy proposal is, if it can’t pass congress, it can’t reach the people. Luckily for us, Hillary is committed to fighting for progressive goals in a realistic, achievable fashion.
3) Foreign policy experience is crucial – HRC is clearly the most qualified presidential candidate in history, having served as a Senator, Secretary of State and First Lady. This experience matters – particularly in foreign policy. In many policy matters, congress has as much, or arguably more power than the president, but foreign policy remains firmly within the president’s sphere. The constitution grants the president the exclusive right to negotiate foreign treaties and form alliances. In an increasingly complex global landscape, Hillary’s experience is imperative to our foreign policy.
If your qualms about Hillary pertain more to her policy positions, remember that she has provided unprecedented substantiation to each of her proposals. Her book, Stronger Together, offers a detailed outline of her policy ideas, while the issues section of her campaign site lays out her proposals in a clear, concise fashion. Furthermore, she consistently advocates for many of Bernie’s progressive proposals, which have been incorporated into the Democratic Party Platform. Before dismissing Hillary as too centrist, or not tuned in to your needs, take an objective look at her policy proposals, which all too often don’t get the attention they deserve.
After a contested primary in which the progressive standard-bearer Bernie Sanders failed to win the day, it may be tempting to turn your back on the Democratic Party, or otherwise express disenchantment with two-party politics via a #NeverTrump, #NeverHillary declaration. As a millennial who’s been pro-Hillary from the start, I know I’m in a minority. But no matter how you come to say #ImWithHer, remember that a vote for HRC shouldn’t be a last resort, or an act of malaise, but rather an enthusiastic, affirmative declaration of support for a qualified, progressive candidate.