Hillary Clinton is No Liberal Hero

As a progressive liberal living in Massachusetts, where Hillary is leading Trump by about 26 points, I have concluded that I simply cannot use my vote to support Hillary Clinton; she does not represent my progressive values, and I cannot vote for yet another neoliberal Democratic candidate.

I acknowledge that Trump is horrible; I am certainly not advocating that he would be better than Hillary, or that people should vote for him. In fact, I wrote an entire post earlier in 2016 about how he is the personification of the evil that is FOX News and the rest of conservative media. And contrary to popular opinion, it is absolutely not true that a vote not for Hillary is a vote for Trump – this scare-tactic cynically relies on people not understanding how the Electoral College works.

However, I’ve been seeing a lot of liberal voices in social media and traditional / mainstream media characterizing Hillary as some sort of progressive hero. Despite her public claim that she is a “progressive who gets things done,” she admits privately that she is not progressive; at a fundraiser in February, Hillary told donors “I am occupying from the center-left to the center-right,” and that she “know[s] we cannot do” progressive policies like “free college [and] free health care.”

Even though she’s “better than Trump,” it’s not intellectually honest to make her out to be far more liberal than she actually is. We made that mistake with Obama; while we’ve made some steps forward since 2008, his refusal to take on the big fights has left us in peril. When we ignore these realities we make it that much harder to actually make progress.

And before you think that I’m some “immature, petulant child” who is “stomping my feet until I get everything I want,” I want to urge you to please read further. Hillary is not simply ‘not perfect’ — there is much about her that is deeply concerning, and I’m absolutely NOT talking about manufactured, fake scandals created by conservative media (like ‘Benghazi,’ for example). There are many legitimate criticisms of Hillary that we on the Left should be aware of, and should not be giving Hillary a free-pass on just because we’re scared that acknowledging them could help Trump win.

I’m not saying that she is all bad – she’s had some progressive moments, such as when she spoke to the UN in 1995 and said “human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.” Yes, absolutely — as the Australians would say, “good on ya, mate.” But to leave it there would paint a much rosier picture than, unfortunately, exists. Doesn’t human rights include, for example, not arming Saudi Arabia with weapons that have been used to kill thousands of Yemeni civilians? Doesn’t it include not working to suppress wages in Haiti? Doesn’t it include not turning away children from Honduras coming into the US as refugees? Some of her leaked emails show that she has shown genuine concern the disadvantaged and threatened people – including a Yemeni child bride – whom she met as she was traveling the world as Secretary of State. That’s wonderful. I love it. But why not show the same compassion and eagerness to help the millions of people who are, and are going to be, severely and negatively affected by Global Warming, which she treats as a niche issue?

She will likely be our next President, and we deserve to know what we’re getting. If we refuse to open our eyes now, how can we possibly hope to “hold her feet to the fire” when she’s president? Why should we care about pushing her to do the right things when we think that she already does?

Global Warming

It is clear through any honest analysis of Hillary’s energy policies that she does not take Global Warming seriously.

Recall that Hillary’s delegates voted down virtually every Climate-related proposed addition to the Democratic Platform until forced at the last minute by Sanders delegates (only after Bernie ignored calls from Hillary supporters to drop out because they said he was being “selfish” and was “putting his ego ahead of the country”). Coupled with her other actions and expressed opinions on the matter, it’s highly unlikely that her administration will take these forced-items seriously when she’s no longer having her job threatened.

She has so far refused to take a stand on the Dakota Access Pipeline. 350.org‘s Bill McKibben pointed out that her campaign’s only statement was exceedingly vague, tweeting that her campaign’s statement “literally said nothing.” This is consistent with her wavering on the Keystone XL pipeline, which was shockingly reckless. As I wrote in a blog post four years ago, that was an absolute no-brainer for anyone who takes Global Warming seriously – for that matter, it was a no-brainer for anyone who cares about anything other than corporate profits, since that’s literally the only thing it would have been good for, and yet Hillary refused to denounce it until pushed by Sanders. I truly fear that had Hillary been president, she would have approved the pipeline — especially given that it was her State Department that gave the project initial approval in 2011, and allowed their later “everything will be fine” report to be written by a TransCananda contractor. She even campaigned for Mary Landrieu after the now-former Senator forced a Congressional vote on the Keystone XL pipeline.

A leaked transcript of one of her speeches (which she refused to voluntarily release during the primary when she knew it would hurt her politically) given to a construction union in September 2015, she said environmentalists should “get a life.” She then said she doesn’t “particularly care” if they vote for someone else who is willing to do what is necessary to solve the crisis – namely, promise to keep carbon in the ground.

She called such an idea “radical,” but it’s exactly what is needed – a new study from Oil Change International reveals that even without building any new coal plants or oil and gas fields, if just the existing fuel contained within currently operating or under construction projects were to be burned,  942 gigatons of CO2 would be released into the atmosphere, which exceeds the carbon limits agreed at 2015’s Paris climate summit. That would be enough carbon to bring us past the 2°C temperature rise that we must avoid at all costs. 350.org’s Bill McKibben said of the study: “We literally can’t build anything else and stay within the limits – no Dakota pipeline, no new coal mines in Australia, none of the things our political leaders [want].”

We are in an emergency situation with Global Warming; we do not have the luxury of years past to be able to continue to wait for the Democratic party to creep to the left while placating the know-nothing and do-nothing Republicans. Not only have we exceeded the 350ppm of CO2 that is the safe threshold, but we have been above the catastrophic 400ppm for much of 2016 with no indication that we’ll fall below any time soon. A study from top climate scientists has found that the targets agreed to in the international Paris Climate deal fall far short of the 1.5°C goal, and we are on track to see a cataclysmic 2°C rise by mid-century.

350.org‘s Bill McKibben recently characterized the situation as us being under siege: “We are under attack from Climate Change, and our only hope is to mobilize like we did in World War II. World War III is well and truly underway, and we are losing.” He pointed to how dire and urgent the situation is: “If you look at how America mobilized during World War II – the industrial might we brought to bear, and then do the calculations, it’s on the outside edge of possible that we could – in the short time we have available – build enough solar panels and wind turbines, but it’s going to take the same kind of focused effort [as World War II].”

Another leaked transcript – from a speech she gave to Deutsche Bank – shows that she is proud of having “promoted fracking in other places around the world,” and of having launched a new wing of the State Department devoted to the initiative. Fracking for natural gas emits methane gas, which is far more potent and disastrous for the climate than CO2; it should absolutely NOT be considered to be part of our nation’s, or any other’s, energy policy. Rather than doing what is necessary to transform our energy grid to 100% renewable, she clings to myth that we need natural gas as a “bridge fuel.”

Additional leaked emails show that her campaign considered and rejected a Carbon tax – not because it was a bad policy, but because of politics; it was deemed “lethal in the general election.” And that’s despite many polls indicating that more people would be inspired to vote for a candidate who came out strong for Global Warming action than would be put off by one.

Our president should be a leader – seeking to change public opinion when they disagree with a good policy, rather than simply following the polls to do whatever is considered politically expedient. This could possibly be excusable if it were her “public” position while her “private” position included working behind the scenes to make it happen, but it’s not. Rather, what the emails show is that she has no interest in taking on the fight.

War and Peace, Foreign Policy, and the State Department

Her advocacy for a no-fly zone in Syria is playing dangerously close to a war with nuclear Russia. On the 10/10/16 episode of “Democracy Now!,” Rashid Khalidi pointed out that the no-fly zone airspace is only about 7-seconds of air space, which would virtually guarantee that we’d be faced with shooting down Russian war planes. US National intelligence director James Clapper said he fears Russia could shoot down our planes as well.

Her support of the Iraq War is frightening. During the primary, Hillary-supporters loved to criticize Bernie-supporters who brought this up, saying that it made us “not serious” because Hillary has ‘apologized’ for her support. However, she always qualifies her regret such that she’s not rejecting the fundamental premise of the Iraq War or future such wars – that is, the Bush Doctrine of preemptive strikes and wars of regime change. Just 8 years after the nation agreed that supporting the war was disqualifying for a presidential candidate, now we’re faced with both major candidates having supported it – and we’re supposed to be accepting because one is a Democrat? Maybe after the war she’ll get us into with Russia she’ll apologize for that too, and then everything will magically be fine – just like Iraq.

Tulsi Gabbard_meme2.jpg

It’s telling that Hillary is being endorsed by many of the neoconservative architects of the Iraq War, such as Paul Wolfowitz. On one hand, yes, Trump is a particularly terrible prospect, and he’s driving many Republicans away from the party; however, it’s much easier for them to do so when the other option is a war hawk like Hillary. On the 9/22/16 episode of Democracy Now!, noted foreign policy journalist Allan Nairn commented: “It is sad that these are the choices we have in this country. [It] is a sad state of affairs – the candidate of the supposed American left is extremely hawkish, and demonstrably so. Whoever wins this – if either Trump or Clinton win this election – mass-murder will win. The national security bureaucrats, those of the mass-killing bureaucracy, tend to support Clinton, but Cheney and Rumsfeld – the two leading murder adventurers – they are backing Trump.”

In addition to her vote of support for the Iraq War, she also voted for George W. Bush’s terrible Patriot Act (and its subsequent reauthorization). The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has pointed out that “while most Americans think it was created to catch terrorists, the Patriot Act actually turns regular citizens into suspects.” Further, she has actually defended the NSA’s domestic spying program.

While Secretary of State, Hillary gave exemptions to South Sudan so they could continue arming children to be used as soldiers. The Intercept pointed out: “Clinton had spent years vowing to defend the rights of children worldwide […] yet she does not appear to have publicly explained her role in allowing South Sudan and other countries to receive military support despite using children as combatants. In fact, the State Department played a central role in issuing the controversial waivers, according to two sources, including a former State Department official.”

Also while Secretary of State, Hillary made weapons sales to Saudi Arabia a “top priority,” such as the $29.4 billion sale of F-15 fighter jets, made by Boeing, to Saudi Arabia in 2011. These jets have since been used to launch a massive bombing campaign in Yemen, which had killed at least 2,800 Yemeni civilians as of earlier this year. Not only that, but Saudi Arabia is guilty of egregious human rights violations; in leaked emails and speeches, Clinton acknowledged that “the Saudis have exported more extreme ideology than any other place on earth over the course of the last 30 years,” and “the Saudis in particular are not necessarily the stablest regimes that you can find on the planet.”

Haiti – both Hillary and Bill have had their hands all over Haiti. Bill Clinton famously (or infamously) used his power as President to force Haiti to import Arkansas’ excess rice, which basically destroyed Haiti’s ability to be self-sufficient (rice is their staple crop). For Hillary’s part, she was a key proponent for suppressing a minimum wage increase up to $5/day from $1.92. While she was not the sole architect of the plan, her State Department fervently fought against the wage increase, which was seen as detrimental to wealthy American business interests (such as Fruit of the Loom) who profited off the backs of the exploited Haitian workers.

Just before she announced her 2016 candidacy, she secured a $12 million donation to the Clinton Global Initiative from the King of Morocco on the understanding that she’d go there to give a talk. Bill and Chelsea went in her place as a way to avoid ‘negative optics’ as she was announcing her candidacy, and there’s no evidence of a “pay for play” scandal that the conservative media tried to gin up. However, Miriyam Aouragh recently said that the agreement was clearly meant as a way for the Moroccan King to ‘build a facade’ to whitewash his regime’s oppressive and abusive policies by making it appear that they are a friend of the ‘great democracy’ of America. That Hillary either couldn’t see this, or didn’t care that she was contributing to it, is extremely troubling.

Earlier in 2016, Hillary tried to defend her role in the illegal coup to oust democratically-elected Honduran President Mel Zelaya that took place in 2009, and did so by “baldly lying.” On the 4/13/16 episode of ‘Democracy Now!’, human rights expert Dana Frank explained: “the fact that [Secretary Clinton] says that they did it legally, that the Honduras judiciary and Congress did this legally, is like, oh, my god, just mind-boggling. […] I want to make sure that the listeners understand how chilling it is that a leading presidential candidate in the United States would say this was not a coup. […] She’s baldly lying when she says we never called it a coup.”

Additionally, Frank explained what Hillary did after the Honduran coup: “she played out the strategy—Obama and Clinton played out the strategy—that they would delay negotiations. They treated Micheletti (the post-coup dictator) as an equal partner to democratically-elected President Zelaya, and moved the negotiations into a sphere they could control, and then delayed until the already-scheduled elections in November. The problem, as you say, is that almost all the opposition had pulled out of that election. All international observers, like the Carter Center or the U.N., had pulled out, refusing to observe that election—the only observers were the U.S. Republican Party—and saying that this was not a legitimate election. And then, the very first—that day, even before the polls close, the U.S. recognizes the outcome of the election. And this is what we used to call a demonstration election: let’s just have any election, and call that election legitimate. […] It’s incredible this woman is a presidential candidate [when] she’s doing like things like this.

In 2015, six years after Hillary’s involvement in the illegal military coup and subsequent shame election in Honduras, the US was facing a humanitarian crisis with thousands of children crossing the border from Honduras and other war-torn countries. Even though virtually all of them qualified for humanitarian relief, Secretary Clinton called for them to be deported.

LGBT rights, Abortion rights, and Religion

Despite being endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, during Bill’s presidency, Hillary was very supportive of the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  In a interview with Rachel Maddow during the primary in late-2015, she tried to explain away her support of DOMA by claiming that it was meant as a pro-gay measure to cut off the momentum of the anti-gay side that was close to getting a Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. That was not true. There was no momentum for the amendment by that time, which was pointed out even by Clinton-supporting Hilary Rosen. Rather, her support in the 90s follows her not-yet “evolved” stance back then that “marriage is between one man and one woman.”

In her book, Living History, she proudly touted her affiliation with the secretive and conservative religious group known as both “The Family” and “The Fellowship,” an organization I previously wrote a blog post about. In her book, she said that Fellowship leader Doug Coe “is a unique presence in Washington: a genuinely loving spiritual mentor and guide to anyone, regardless of party or faith, who wants to deepen his or her relationship with God.”  She also wrote that, as First Lady, she took solace from “daily scriptures” sent to her by her Fellowship prayer cell, along with Coe’s assurances that she was right where God wanted her. This connection is incredibly disturbing – the Family, of course, was behind the “Kills the Gays” legislation in Uganda and Nigeria, and has been a driving force of conservative politics in the US and abroad for decades. I want The Family as far away from the White House as possible.

Her connections to The Family led her to collaborate with some of the Senate’s most extremely conservative Republicans that were Family members, including Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Rick Santorum (R-PA). In a excerpt from Mother Jones: “Clinton joined the GOP on legislation that redefines social justice issues in terms of conservative morality, such as an anti-human-trafficking law that withheld funding from groups working on the sex trade if they didn’t condemn prostitution in the proper terms. With Santorum, Clinton co-sponsored the Workplace Religious Freedom Act.” Note that the ACLU spoke out against the Workplace Religious Freedom Act as “legalized discrimination.” Later that same year, she introduced a bill that would have made flag-burning a felony.

Clinton is pro-choice (a position that Mother Theresa chastised her for at one of the Family’s National Prayer Breakfasts the Clintons attended with her), and has pointed out that she has championed decreases in teen pregnancy rates decreased (i.e “Putting Prevention First Act”), but she was seemingly unable to distinguish fact from conservative propaganda when the anti-choice group Operation Rescue released a highly edited and deceiving video purporting to show Planned Parenthood selling body parts for profit.  Of course, this was not what was happening; in the 1990s, Congress legalized voluntary tissue donation for things like stem cell research, and that’s the process that Operation Rescue hacked up to make it seem like something shady.  However, of the videos, Clinton called them “disturbing,” and said that “if there’s going to be any kind of congressional inquiry, it should look at everything and not just one [organization].” For contrast, Bernie Sanders immediately and forcefully said that the videos were deceptively edited, and that there was no scandal – no investigation was needed because Operation Rescue was lying.

The Mother Jones article linked above summarizes the trouble with Hillary’s religious tendencies: “Then, as now, Clinton confounded secularists who recognize public faith only when it comes wrapped in a cornpone accent. Clinton speaks instead the language of nondenominationalism—a sober, eloquent appreciation of ‘values,’ the importance of prayer, and ‘heart’ convictions—which liberals, unfamiliar with the history of evangelical coalition building, mistake for a tidy, apolitical accommodation, a personal separation of church and state.”

Criminal Justice

Her continued support of the death penalty is troubling, and her refusal to acknowledge her and Bill’s role in the mass-incarceration of people of color is inexcusable.

It is no secret that lethal injection drugs have become virtually non-existent, causing states to come up with their own mixtures, which have caused horrific and brutal executions… and that’s even assuming that the “real” drug cocktail was “humane” to begin with. One of the troubling aspects of Republican nominees over the recent years has been the unrelenting support of the death penalty; in 2012, Rick Perry said  that he does not lose sleep over possibly innocent people being killed in Texas, and Trump famously called for the later-exonerated Central Park Five to be executed. And Hillary continues to support the death penalty.

In her 1996 support of Bill Clinton’s 1994 Crime bill, she callously referred to some youths of color by the term “super predators,” and described them as “[having] no conscience, no empathy.” She concluded her statement by saying that  we “have to bring them to heel.” Hillary said she ‘regrets’ using the term when asked about it during the 2016 Democratic primary, but she has continued to side-step the actual implications of the Crime Bill that she was defending by using it.

When asked about it at the first debate with Trump, Hillary dismissed the resulting mass-incarceration (disproportionately affecting black communities) as “unintended consequences.”

Princeton professor Eddie Glaude said that such a characterization is “just a gross understatement.” He continued: “when we think of the expansion of the carceral state under Bill Clinton’s administration […] this is precisely what is wrong with Hillary Clinton’s outreach to the black community; she won’t speak forcefully about the state of policing in this country.”

Carol Anderson (professor of African American studies at Emory University) had this view point: “Bill Clinton went the route of the Southern strategy, which was to play to blacks as criminals and welfare cheats. So this is where you see his welfare reform, and his hyper-policing through ‘super predators,’ and it fed into the mass incarceration of the black population. […] The way that his policies worked were very anti-black. And the way I see Hillary is that she was there with him […] but now she sees that the demographics of the Democratic Party have changed, and that racial coding doesn’t play as well.”

Black Lives Matter activists interrupted her campaign event in February 2016 to point out: “Hillary Clinton has a pattern of throwing the Black community under the bus when it serves her politically. She called our boys ‘super-predators’ in 1996, then she race-baited when running against Obama in 2008, now she’s a ‘lifelong civil rights activist.’ I just want to know which Hillary is running for President, the one from 1996, 2008, or the ‘new’ Hillary?”

Neoliberalism and “Getting Things Done”

To date, Hillary has not offered her plan for dealing with a Republican-controlled Congress. She just says she “knows when to stand her ground, and when to find common ground.”  I have no interest in “finding common ground” with Republicans who wish to destroy the planet.  During the primary, Bernie understood exactly what was needed; he said clearly that the way to deal with obstructionist Republicans is to “not appeal to Mitch McConnell.” Rather, we need to appeal to the American people, and rally them to the polls to vote out the obstructionist Republicans.

We have compromised too much already. Our planet is dying. We can no longer pretend that small steps forward are enough. We cannot be fooled into thinking that 1 step forward and 3 steps back is moving us in the right direction.

No Republican-controlled Congress will work with a Democratic president. This election is as much, if not more so, about how the president would react to a Republican-controlled Congress rather than what their agenda is. Republicans have been investigating Benghazi for longer than any other congressional investigation in history; they’re not going to turn around to Hillary and say “I know we’ve basically framed you for murder and conspiracy, but let’s get to work on what you want to do.”

In this regard, Hillary falls in the tradition of the ever-compromising Democrats like Obama and Bill (DOMA, DADT, NAFTA). Yes, she would get some things done just like Obama has, but the the things she’d get done would be compromises that do not go far enough – just like Obama has.

For decades – from Carter to Bill Clinton to Gore to Kerry to Obama – the Democratic party has been defined by this centrist moderate neoliberalism – the massive tax cuts, deregulation, privatization, outsourcing, and wage suppression furthered along by Democrats is simply unacceptable from a supposed left-wing party. It can no longer be acceptable for these policies to be defended on the basis that “Republicans would be worse.” These cannot be our only two options; if we refuse to stand up and fight for a new way, that’s what is shameful. That is indefensible. We cannot resign ourselves to that defeatism.

We need a president who will go to the people and point out that Republicans are lying, and rail against the do-nothing Congress. Nothing big can happen – no matter who is in the White House – unless we get progressive majorities in Congress, and the best way to do that is to stop giving in to Republicans in a futile attempt to bring them to our side. The time for compromise is over.

Refusal to acknowledge Hillary’s negatives is dangerous

When I have talked about this in social media, I have been accused of spending my time “looking for reasons not to vote for Hillary,” but that’s not true. Rather, I have simply decided not to turn a blind-eye when the reasons not to vote for her are revealed. These are not conspiracy theories or lies; they are legitimate concerns that progressives should take a hard look at before supporting the next “center-left to center-right” Democrat — as Hillary described herself in a private meeting with Wall Street donors just months before she breathlessly defended herself against Bernie Sanders calling her a moderate.

 

Trump is extremely terrifying, and I agree that he’s an absolutely horrible person. I really wish the Democratic nominee was as free from ‘scandal’ as Hillary supporters present her to be, but I’m afraid it’s just not true. I would be, and am, just as upset by these things if they were from Obama or anyone else – I’ve vigorously defended Obama over the years against fact-free conservative lies, but have also been highly critical when he (often) fails to be progressive. With Hillary as President, I will continue to do that same thing… the difference now is that it is entirely predictable as long as we don’t pretend that Hillary’s past doesn’t exist.We do ourselves a disservice by assuming that every negative thing said about Hillary must be a lie manufactured by conservative media and Republicans – which, yes, there are many of as well. We must be intellectually honest about her because she is, in many ways, not the progressive hero that many on the left think she is or want her to be. It is a sad state of affairs, but it’s no secret, and ignoring it doesn’t make it any less true – it just makes it harder to actually make things right.

 

I would also like to point out that being intellectually honest about her record, and criticizing her from the Left is absolutely NOT the same criticizing her from the Right (which is based on fact-free conspiracy theories and outright lies perpetrated by the conservative media).

One of the things that irritated me early in Hillary’s campaign was her disingenuous conflation of left-wing criticism of Democrats with right-wing criticism of Democrats. It is no secret that Obama has governed as a centrist moderate neoliberal rather than a progressive – just like every Democratic president and nominee for decades, and just like Hillary will be. Some of the left, such as Bernie Sanders and myself, have been very vocal over the past 7+ years that, while we have supported Obama when the alternative is Republicans, there is legitimate concern that the centrist moderate neoliberalism he engages in is not getting the job done.

Hillary could have acknowledged this well-known reality, and made her case to progressives of how she will work to be better than just ‘better than a Republican.’ (By the way, I wish Obama had done this too, and I would expect any Democratic candidate to do this as well.) She did not do this. Instead, she attacked progressives by claiming that Bernie’s advocacy for Obama to be more progressive is to be “expect[ed] from Republicans [rather than] someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama.” Many of her supporters followed suite, and actually used much of the same rhetoric against Bernie supporters that *Republicans* have been using about Democrats broadly for many years.

For about a year, I consistently defended Sanders against these attacks by saying that Bernie represents the dance that progressives have been in during Obama’s presidency: defending Obama against baseless conservative attacks based on lies, while also being disappointed that he doesn’t govern more aggressively as a progressive liberal.

Sorry, but Republicans claiming that President Obama is literally Satan, and that he is trying to deliberately destroy the country by pushing the “hoax” of Global Warming because he’s a secret Muslim born in Kenya who want to reward his ‘buddies at Solyndra’ is absolutely NOT the same as being upset that Obama continues to approve oil pipelines and exploration, that he never even proposed Single-Payer / Medicare-for-all and did not fight for a public option, or that he constantly gives in to Republican demands in futile attempts to bring them across the aisle (such as how he believed they’d be reasonable and not enact the Sequester when it was painfully obvious that’s exactly what they’d do).

I completely understand not wanting to be part of the right-wing noise that is criticizing Hillary and Obama based on lies, but we cannot simply pretend that everything about them is great. We must push our leaders to be as progressive as possible, and we cannot do that if we pretend that they’re already as progressive as possible when they’re clearly not. We must stop equating legitimate left-wing criticism with right-wing conspiracy theories.

People like Chris Hedges and Jill Stein have been pointing out that continually supporting the neoliberal Democratic party out of fear of the burn-it-to-the-ground Republican party is actually helping to perpetuate the cycle of defeatism while the right gains more power as they get more extreme. Voters who continue to support Democratic candidates who do not adequately address the concerns and struggles of a majority of Americans are creating an environment of political apathy in which a large portion of the country doesn’t participate in the electoral process. It not only benefits Republicans when voter turnout is low, but it also weakens the reasoning for why people should actually want support Democrats other than fear of Republicans.

And when the Democratic party refuses to go to the left, instead going centrist-moderate and neoliberal every time, we cannot continue to pretend that it’s good enough. We also cannot keep waiting for ‘next time’ on the assumption that Republicans will suddenly get reasonable and nominate someone who is not dangerous for us to be scared of. The way they’re going, their next nominee might as well be Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Alex Jones, or one of the Koch brothers. Republicans are always going to nominate someone awful; we cannot wait for them to come around, and the Democrats are failing us as we wait.

Yes, Hillary would be better than Trump, just like Obama has been better than Romney or McCain would have been, just like John Kerry and Al Gore would have been better than George W. Bush, just like Bill Clinton was better than George HW Bush or Bob Dole, just like Jimmy Carter was better than Reagan. But every one of these Republicans would have been, or was, absolutely terrible. Just being “better than [absolutely terrible]” hasn’t been good enough. We need more, and until we get it, I will continue to call attention to our leaders who are not progressive enough, regardless of political party.

We suffer when we ignore these realities, and I cannot sit idly by and pretend they do not exist even if it challenges people’s long-held views and “common wisdom.” That’s the whole idea behind why I created this blog years ago under the banner of “Wait, I See Something” with my favorite literary quote: “It’s the wanting to know that makes us matter.”

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