In 2008, I supported Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. I would have backed Hillary in the general, happily. But I saw Obama as somewhat to Hillary's left, and I saw him as a superior campaigner who would make a stronger candidate.
This year, I am voting for Hillary Clinton. She is strongest general
election candidate the Democrats have this year, she will make a more
effective president than any other Democrat in the field, and she is far
better qualified than any other candidate in either party. My decision
could not be simpler.
I am to Hillary Clinton's left myself, just as I was and am to Barack
Obama's left. (Nor have I ever been surprised to find myself on Obama's
left. I knew who I was voting for in 2008, and Obama has proved to be
pretty much who I thought he was.) I accept that I am much more liberal
than the median American voter. If I want to see a president of the
United States as liberal as I am, the whole country has to move left
first. That movement will never happen during a presidential election;
the presidential election will ratify a movement that has already
Do Hillary's centrist instincts sometimes frustrate me? Yup.
Absolutely. But the way to move her left is to shift the terms of debate
left. And Hillary's long political track record demonstrates, without
question, that she moves to the left as the progressive policy consensus
moves left. She has done it repeatedly, on issues across the spectrum.
Some of Hillary's critics point to positions she once took, often twenty
years ago, that contradict her positions today. But that is one of the
reasons I'm voting for her. She has moved left. And she does not cling
to her former positions out of any rigidity or misguided pride. She will
continue to move left as our policy debates evolve. America has real
problems that need solving, and almost all the best solutions lie in the
left side of the spectrum (simply because almost every workable
conservative idea, and more than one unworkable conservative idea, has
already been tried). The center is going to move to the left because of
reality's liberal bias. Hillary Clinton's realism will move her further
to the left over time.
Bernie Sanders is much closer to me ideologically. I agree with him
about where we ought to go as a country, and where we should end up. But
he is not great about explaining the details off how we get there, and I
am not persuaded that Bernie would get us there. He is no Barack Obama.
He has virtues that Obama doesn't, and Obama has strengths that Bernie
doesn't. Bernie is not nearly the same campaigner. And Bernie's policy
proposals are not built around what he can actually achieve in the near
or intermediate future. Bernie's campaign is great about what we ought
to do, but much fuzzier about the means. I have more faith in Hillary to
get me as much progress as the next four years allow.
What about the scandals? What about them? I'm old enough at this
point to remember twenty-four years of persistent talk about Hillary
scandals, scandals that never quite turn into anything solid.
people say that Hillary isn't trustworthy, that where there is so much
smoke there must be some fire. But it's been a quarter century of smoke
without fire, so it's fair to ask if the endless smoke isn't something
else entirely. It's not that "people" don't trust Hillary. It's that
people, specific individuals, work very hard to paint Hillary as
untrustworthy. That isn't a reason for me not to trust her. It's a
reason for me to rally around her. I'm tired of her being attacked. And
after years of all-out, scorched-earth political warfare, I am not about
to abandon a seasoned warrior. We're going to fight for everything we
get, no matter how big we win in November. And Hillary is the best
fighter. She's the best choice, and I'm with her.
cross-posted from, and all comments welcome at, Dagblog
A Modest Proposal
1 hour ago