Pick your jaws up off the floor, fellow liberal minds, and before you accuse me of treason, hear me out. I’ve already explained why I’m voting for Bernie Sanders. But, perhaps what is more important, is why I will not vote for Hillary Clinton, even if she ends up winning the Democratic nomination. Why? Let me count the ways…
She is a warmonger
She voted for the Iraq War, and we all know how well that turned out. Regarding her vote, she has said: “I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong.” I’m not sure I’ve ever heard such a childish attempt at excusing “one of the worst foreign policy blunders in the history of the United States,” as Bernie Sanders—who, with the same information as Clinton, voted no on the same war—aptly calls the Iraq War, (in no small part because it resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives).
Additionally, Clinton’s disastrous intervention and push for regime change in Libya, which she asserts was justified based on the unsubstantiated claim that Gaddafi was going to massacre the people of Benghazi, resulted in the irreparable “postwar chaos that’s left Libya without a functioning government, overrun by feuding warlords and extremist militants.” But rather than recognize or admit to the deadly consequences of her actions in Libya, Clinton has opted instead to betray her militaristic nature by saying things like, “We came, we saw, he died,” about the killing of Gaddafi.
And as if that wasn’t enough, Clinton wants to force yet another regime change in Syria by ousting Assad, which is an inherently flawed plan, and her proposal for a ‘no-fly’ zone in Syria is tantamount to declaring war against Syria and Russia.
Plus, the cherry on top: she is advised on foreign policy by the same firm that advises Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio—GOP candidates who both expressed “understanding” for Donald Trump’s bigoted proposal to ban Muslims from the U.S.
She is a liar
For example, in the Democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire on December 19 , 2015, Clinton claimed that Bernie Sanders’ proposed single-payer healthcare system would cost the U.S. government “$18 to $20 trillion.” This is a lie. In fact, Sanders’ proposal would save nearly $5 trillion dollars over 10 years.
In the same debate, Clinton claimed that only “3% of [her] donations come from people in the finance and investment world” and she has “more donations from students and teachers than [she does] from people associated with Wall Street.” This is, at best, an untruth aimed at misleading voters into thinking she’s not in Wall Street’s pocket, but rather is an ally to the working class, the average man, the 99%. In fact, Wall Street has contributed more than double 3% of her campaign funds. Additionally, Clinton has received about $2.5 million in itemized campaign contributions from the securities, investments, and commercial banking industries (i.e. “Wall Street”), plus more than $3.5 million in contributions by Wall Street to Super PACs that back her. On the other hand, she’s only received $747,493 “from those who self-identified as ‘students,'” and “those who said they were “teachers” have provided $518,495.” (Contrast this with Sanders, who has gotten record-breaking numbers of individual donations, averaging less than $30 each).
Additionally, in Sunday’s Democratic debate, Clinton essentially blamed Bernie Sanders’ for the 2008 economic crash as a consequence of the passing of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA)—a bill which was signed into law by Hillary’s husband, then-President Bill Clinton, one month before he left office, and of which, as Robert Scheer writes, “a key author was Gary Gensler, the former Goldman Sachs partner recruited by Clinton to be undersecretary of the treasury… Today, Gensler is the top economic adviser to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.”
She is inconsistent
Clinton seems to vote according to trends. Again, she voted for the Iraq War like a teen would excuse his underage drinking: ‘well everyone else was doing it!’—and now that it’s popular to denounce it, she does so. But apparently not one to learn from her mistakes, she made sure to leave her mark as secretary of state with Libya, which was essentially her Iraq. She’s also gone back and forth on supporting gay marriage. It’s fair to say the one thing she has not flip-flopped on over the years is her loyalty to bad pantsuits and that tacky haircut.
She is corrupt with greed
Not only does Hillary have an affinity for Wall Street and Super PACs, but, according to Forbes, her net worth is $45 million—and, of course, the two are not unrelated—between 2013 and 2015, she made over $2.9 million by making 12 speeches to big banks. And the lengths she will go in the name of greed don’t stop there: she also approved increases in weapons sales to Clinton Foundation donors. To top it off, she was a “proud” member of the Walmart board of directors for 6 years—arguably one of the most corrupt corporations, renowned for its poor, not to mention illegal, treatment of workers and child laborers.
In contrast, Bernie Sanders, whose net worth is estimated by Forbes at $700k, denounces Super PACs, has gotten only $47,187 in campaign contributions from Wall Street, and is intent on breaking up the big banks and their “greed and corruption that led to the 2008 financial crisis.” It seems to me that as a ‘public servant,’ an elected official’s job is to spend his or her career attempting to better the lives of the public, not amassing private, excessive wealth.
Considering all of these facts, I cannot in good conscience vote for Hillary Clinton. I hear a lot of people say it’s better to vote for her than a Republican—the idea being that “liberal”/Democrat, in any form, is better than “conservative”/Republican. But that kind of bandwagoneering is exactly what politicians and the media rely on to sway our votes. They’re counting on the fact that we won’t look past Hillary’s socially liberal shell and dig deeper into the truth of who she is and what she really represents. They’re banking on the fact that because popular celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Amy Schumer, and Lena Dunham have recklessly, irresponsibly, publicly endorsed Clinton, we are going to mindlessly follow in their footsteps. They’re relying on the female vote for Hillary—because it would be un-feminist not to.
Well fuck that. By that logic, it would be racist not to vote for Ben Carson, the raging psychotic bag of shit that he is. Fuck the lesser of two evils argument—why vote for any evil? If we don’t take stands as matters of principles, we are sending the message that we are complicit. And I am not complicit in what Hillary Clinton represents.
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You mean besides the fact that he’s ridiculously good looking and has a voice that can only be described as sensual? There are lots of reasons I think Bernie Sanders should be the next U.S. president. Before now, I had lost all hope in the U.S. political system. I was convinced it wasn’t even worth voting anymore, because the only choices were evils, just on a scale of lesser to more. And I still think that’s the case, except when it comes to Bernie Sanders. I think he’s our one and only beacon of hope before we plunge further into an irreversible, corrupt, 2 party system that’s ostensibly democratic but in actuality run by corporate America. And a lot of people think he doesn’t stand a chance. But he needs to be given a chance in order to stand one–don’t count him out before he’s had a fair shot.
For starters, Bernie is a true public servant. Meaning he has spent his career working for the people, not getting rich or dying trying. Different sources will give you different numbers, but on average his net worth seems to be between $300-500k (in 2013, it was $330,506). Which basically means he owns a house. In stark contrast to Hillary Clinton and most of the other candidates, whose net worths are in the tens of millions. He believes that there shouldn’t be such extreme wealth inequality. Which to me is just a basic human principle–how is it ok that there are people sleeping on the street, starving, lacking adequate healthcare and access to education, while the next block over there are people living in such excessive wealth, corrupt with power and greed, setting sail on their yachts after they cheat on their taxes and earn money off the backs of underpaid laborers (for example, please see: Walmart, which Hillary Clinton was on the board of for 6 years, or Bernie Madoff, or Republican proposed tax cuts for the wealthy, or Wells Fargo’s subprime lending fraud, to name a few)? How can we all sleep soundly knowing that such disparity in wealth and corruption of power exists?
Sanders’ emphasis on wealth inequality represents his focus on fixing domestic issues in the U.S., which leads his international policy towards peace. Because if there is peace, there is no need for war or for the U.S. to engage in it internationally, which leaves more time, money and effort to spend on fixing domestic issues. It really is that simple: he wants to work on improving the United States, and not making things worse abroad. And he has a proven track record in this: he voted against the Iraq War, has been advocating to lower the U.S. military budget since 1992 in favor of redirecting those funds to domestic issues like poverty, education, industry, etc. (the military budget has gone from $270 billion in 1992 to now $610 billion), and has consistently condemned the inhumane use of torture as a tactic of war. Again, to me, peace is a basic human principle: it makes no sense to fight violence with violence. Call me naïve, but war is so clearly and disturbingly counter-intuitive, and if we ever have a shot in hell of it ending, we need a president who will actually work to end it (Obama insisted he would, but in reality has waged deadly drone wars and didn’t pull troops out of Afghanistan as promised).
Sanders supports less overstepping, meddling, and violence by the U.S. not only abroad, but also domestically. For example, he supports an individual’s right to determine what to do with his/her own body, as opposed to the government being able to choose; he supports racial justice and the demilitarization of police in the U.S.; and he supports an individual’s right to privacy, as his consistent voting record on the Patriot Act proves. And he supports not only each individual’s right to these freedoms, but also government oversight for the sake of protecting those individual freedoms. For example, he advocates for the right of every person to be able to access healthcare and education by way of government measures.
All of these stances Sanders takes, as far as I’m concerned, boil down to believing in humane treatment and equal rights for everyone. Of course there are countless other issues to consider, more than I can cover here, but these examples give you a good idea of his overall platform. It’s easy to oppose him on grounds of wealth privatization–in other words, if you believe in hoarding wealth, and an “every man for himself” ideology, it’s easy to accuse him of being a grubby communist who doesn’t believe people should be able to keep the money they earn. But what that argument fails to take into account, besides a basic level of compassion for humanity, is that a lot of the wealthiest people don’t earn their money all by themselves. They earn it by employing and underpaying laborers, through inheritance when they’re born into privilege, and by cheating, whether by insider trading, evading taxes, or tying up their money in trust accounts so that the countless people suing them can’t access it. Yes, those are just a few, broad examples, but if we’re being honest, we know that’s often the case (again, please refer to the above examples I gave: Walmart, Bernie Madoff, tax cuts for the wealthy, and Wells Fargo). So why should those people’s wealth be protected above all else–including other’s rights to live, above the poverty line, with access to adequate healthcare and education?
And even if the top 1% earned their money completely above board, where is the recognition that all lives matter, not just rich lives, and that maybe it doesn’t make sense to be spending billions keeping the wealthy wealthy, when so many people are living in such despair? And if nothing else, can we at least all agree that the wealthy shouldn’t be getting tax breaks, compared to the wealth-less? I mean seriously, fine, keep your billions of dollars, Top 1%–but don’t expect to pay less taxes than someone who makes 1/1,000,000 what you make while they struggle to keep food on their table, their families healthy, and to get their kids through school day in and day out.
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