Like Susan Sarandon, some of us would have a hard time voting for a corporatist with trust issues
If Bernie Sanders lost the primary to Hillary Clinton, would I vote for Clinton in the general election? The only honest answer I can give is I don’t know. Yes, I said it. The reality is that I believe Bernie Sanders is the best choice for the Democratic nomination this election year, especially against a Republican candidate like Trump or Cruz. If he lost, though, I find it hard to commit myself to voting for Hillary Clinton.
Susan Sarandon made news recently because of her statement that she was unsure whether or not she would vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump if she became the Democratic nominee. It’s complicated, but I don’t think Sarandon is entirely wrong. It’s hard to speculate whether a president Trump would bring about a revolution on the left, as she stated, but it has to be acknowledged that there are many policy differences with Hillary that make progressives mistrust her.
Now, before I get a wave of attacks from the Hillary crowd, let me explain first: I live in Louisiana. Louisiana is a deep Red State that will vote for the Republican no matter what. There is little chance of any Democrat, whether Hillary or Bernie to win Louisiana in a general election. Because of this I, as a personal voter, have more leeway to vote or not vote for the Democrat because Louisiana won’t be won by one.
If, however, you live in a swing state that can go either way, like Ohio or Florida, should you vote for Clinton if Sanders loses the primary? Well, the answer would have to be yes you should. It’s a painful thing to admit, but the election is too important to risk having a President Trump or Cruz. A corporatist would be much better than a fascist, but not in a good way. Sort of like asking whether or not you want a tooth pulled with or without Novocain. However, in the end those whose vote really matters, they must make the less painful choice.
I’m sure Hillary supporters are scratching their heads, thinking this is total hypocrisy. How can I say I might not vote for Hillary, yet tell others they should? Well, it’s based on my own feelings, for sure. I speak for no one else but myself in this regard. As much as I mistrust Hillary, I also have to accept practical reality. She could win the Democratic nomination, and if she does, then I would have to ask liberals in Swing states to support her over a fascist like Trump or a theocrat like Cruz.
As I’ve mentioned, I live in a deep Red State that will go to the Republican regardless. Me voting for Hillary Clinton would be nothing more than symbolic. It’s not symbolism I support, either. The fact is, I do not prefer Clinton as a candidate, and I think if she was matched against someone like Trump the election would be far rockier.
It’s not easy for me to say, but Hillary would be the lesser of two evils. The fact is, I don’t trust her as a candidate. Hillary has many policy issues that I find troubling, and this includes her constant shifting of opinion. No, Hillary supporters, these are not right-wing lies or smear tactics. These are the facts, like them or not.
The fact is: Hillary voted for the Iraq War when it was popular. She changed her mind when it became unpopular. Hillary was against gay marriage when it was popular. Now she claims she’s always been for it, when marriage equality is popular. Hillary was against a pro-corporate bankruptcy bill when her husband Bill was president. When she was elected to the Senate, and funded by special interests, she voted for the same bill she once opposed. It’s not just the flip flops. Hillary also voted for the PATRIOT Act, and generally supports the surveillance state that has been built up since 2001. Hillary was a strong proponent of the operation in Libya, which has wreaked disastrous results on that country to this day. Hillary certainly gave a rather hawkish speech at AIPAC which was not reassuring in this regard.
Hillary has even bragged about being a centrist, and does not seem to encompass a vision as far reaching as Bernie. Hillary has even said herself that she isn’t pushing too hard on progressive issues like Bernie. Hillary has been skeptical of Medicare for all, $15 and hour minimum wage, and has been as clear with her intentions toward Wall Street. She takes money from them, and has been for a long time. There’s a reason why Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs calls Bernie “dangerous”, rather than Hillary, because Bernie actually has an encompassed vision to break up the power of the big banks, and his record matches consistently. That is not a right wing lie.
I mention “right wing lie” because I’ve seen Hillary supporters on social media make the claim that questions on her record and progressive consistency are literally right wing lies. I have even seen cases where Hillary supporters claim Bernie is a secret Republican.
The fact is, I don’t just support Bernie because I think he is more progressive than Clinton, but also because I think he is the stronger candidate against someone like Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. Particularly if Trump wins the nomination, we could have a big problem if Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee.
While Trump is a revolting character and has many flaws, the one card he has up his sleeve against Clinton is probably the most crucial this election cycle: Trump can run as an anti-establishment candidate. Whether Hillary supporters or the Democratic establishment want to believe it or not, 2016 is going to be an anti-establishment election. Hillary Clinton cannot make the case she isn’t part of the main Democratic establishment in Washington. Trump can, which gives him one crucial advantage.
While Trump has big weaknesses, he does have the ability to say he isn’t part of the DC establishment and that he isn’t beholden to special interest groups. In fact, in some areas, Donald Trump says things that sound pretty liberal. Whether he’s genuine or not, Trump has come out on opposition to trade deals like the TPP, said he wouldn’t cut Social Security or Medicare, and has been able to position himself as an independent candidate from the DC establishment. Trump is a wild card, and he has ways of flipping the election against Hillary in a way he can’t against Bernie.
The dynamic of the electorate has changed. If Hillary became the nominee, I may or may not vote for her. Yet, my state will never swing to the Democrats in a general election, so I have the ability to say so. If I was in a state where it mattered, I probably would suck it up and vote for her. Understand, there are real differences I and many other progressives have for her, which is why this debate is raging. Hillary has some trust issues, and there is a record fueling this mistrust.