A feminist take on the 2016 Presidential election
I am an adamant supporter of Bernie Sanders. I’ve gone to marches for him, have campaign signs in my yard, stickers on my car and this week I’m going to volunteer in the local office but there’s one important thing I won’t do. I refuse to participate in Clinton-bashing. I hope Bernie wins. I think he will be a more progressive President and the country will make more progress towards equality, justice and peace under his leadership than it will under Clinton’s.
That said, while Bernie would beat Trump by a landslide, Clinton would also beat him although by less of a landslide and a Democratic President is still way better than a Republican Presidency which YOU WILL BE VOTING FOR IF CLINTON WINS THE NOMINATION AND YOU THEN REFUSE TO VOTE IN THE GENERAL ELECTION.
As a progressive I believe Bernie would be ideal and I’m really hoping he’ll win this but if worse comes to worst, and Clinton wins I’m voting for her. Clinton is still way better than Trump (or Cruz or Rubio). She is an extremely smart and capable woman, and she’s very politically astute. That’s a mark against her to some but not to me. Clinton knows what is political expedient and she goes whichever way the political wind is blowing. If the political wind blows left she’ll go left. If it blows right, like it did in the 90s and early 2000s, she’ll go right. If she wins the best response we as progressives can do is not block her or bash her or support her opponents but to PUSH HER LEFT. She WILL do the right thing if we make her. So we have to make it immensely unpopular to pass another trade deal that benefits multinational corporations at the expense of works. We have to make it political suicide to NOT address the rise in gun violence by passing reasonable gun control laws. We have to make it unpopular to even think that the state has any right to control women’s bodies and regulate what they can and cannot do with them. And we have to make it unthinkable to invade another country, no matter how much we think access to oil and other natural resources is in our national interest. (It is NOT in our national interest to continue to support terrorism around the world by bombing civilians, torturing people and acting like a rogue state).
I may not agree with her most of the time but I do respect her. She is a smart, powerful woman and she’s very effective at what she does. She was an effective Secretary of State. (Note I did not say she was an ethical Secretary of State or a progressive one; I said she was effective. She got things done).
Secondly, as a feminist I will never fault another woman for doing whatever she thinks she has to do in order to survive and rise in this world. We all cope with bias against women in whatever way we can. I may not have made the same calculations as she did were I in her shoes but I will not condemn her for making her own decisions, decisions she made because she thought it would help her remain in office.
Third, she has not done anything worse than other mainstream politicians do every day and they don’t get bashed for it as much as she has been. Most politicians will support policies they think are popular. There are very, very few politicians who have chosen to follow their conscience no matter what the political climate and to no small extent those that have, have been able to do so because of their privilege as white men (even Obama had to sometimes do the politically expedient thing rather than what he probably really wanted to). As much as we admire Bernie for his integrity we should not forget that it’s his own privilege that has allowed him to be who he is today.
So vote for Bernie in the primary. It’s our best chance for making the U.S. a kinder, gentler, smarter, more sane country but if Clinton wins, please support her in the general election and then do everything you can to push her to do the right thing.