Monday, September 19, 2016

The Progressive Case for Hillary Clinton

As noted in a prior post, a number of Millennials and progressives who supported Bernie Sanders continue to have their panties in a wad and are making noises about voting for a third party candidate or staying home on election day.  Personally, as a long time political activist, I view such behavior as self-defeating.  All such conduct will do is put Donald Trump in the White House and help usher in policies that are diametrically opposed to Sanders' agenda.  More maddening is the reality that it ignores the fact that Hillary Clinton is running on one of the most progressive platforms in history.  A piece in Mother Jones lays out why Millennials and other disgruntled progressives need to smell the coffee and support Clinton on election day.  Here are excerpts:
For a lot of liberals, the most important goal of this election is to keep Donald Trump out of the White House. And since Trump naturally sucks up most of the political oxygen, that means lots of blogging about Trump and not so much about Clinton.
But a lot of lefties aren't happy about that. They want a positive argument in favor of voting for Clinton, not just a negative one for voting against Trump. That's fair enough, so I figured I'd put one together.
But I should be crystal clear here: Nobody should take this as an attempt to demonstrate that Clinton is perfect or to persuade you to vote for her. If you think she's too instinctively hawkish—as I do—that might be reason enough for a liberal to vote for someone else. On some issues—supporting the Iraq War, supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, voting for the Patriot Act, etc.—she's taken positions that might be flat deal killers. On other issues, you might think she's not strong enough, or that it took her too long to get to the right place. Finally, on a personal level, she's often oversecretive, overly lawyerly, and sometimes skates a little close to some ethical lines. She distrusts the press and withholds information too often. And she is, plainly, an establishment politician, with all the flaws that implies.
On the other hand, no successful politician is ever perfect. Franklin D. Roosevelt signed on to lots of compromises that liberals detested. Ronald Reagan did the same with conservatives. Clinton will too. There are just too many competing interests in a pluralistic country like America to expect anything else. But all that said, the liberal case for Clinton remains pretty overwhelming.
The following list is by no means exhaustive, but here it is:
1.     In 1995, despite strong pressure from diplomats and White House aides to remain low-key, she went to China and said, "Human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights."
2.     She worked her heart out for health care reform in 1993.
She now supports Obamacare, and supports expanding it.
4.     She supports increasing the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour. This is good for workers, but less likely to have downsides than a national level of $15.
5.     She supported comprehensive immigration reform in 2007 and continues to support it.
6.     She was a prime mover behind the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, and was a key figure in finding compromises that allowed it to pass after partisan bickering nearly sank it.
7.     Sen. Sherrod Brown: "As much as we want to move this country forward, you gotta cajole, persuade, work with, whatever it takes. And I think she does that better than about anybody I know."
8.     She supports LGBT rights.
9.     She worked with Attorney General Janet Reno to create the Justice Department's Office on Violence Against Women.
10.  She was one of the prime movers behind SCHIP, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, eventually signed into law by Bill Clinton.
11.  She pushed the Adoption and Safe Families Act through Congress.
12.  She was instrumental in the founding of the Center for American Progress.
13.  She has been the target of countless baseless attacks but has always rebounded and kept on working anyway.
14.  President Barack Obama: "What sets Hillary apart is that through it all, she just keeps on going, and she doesn't stop caring, and she doesn't stop trying, and she never stops fighting for us—even if we haven't always appreciated it."
15.  She voted against both of George Bush's tax giveaways to the rich.
She favors closing the carried-interest loophole.
17.  Jill Abramson, who covered Bill and Hillary Clinton critically for more than two decades, first in the Washington bureau of theWall Street Journal and later at the New York Timessays this about Hillary Clinton:"Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest and trustworthy…There are no instances I know of where Clinton was doing the bidding of a donor or benefactor."
18.  She supports legislation to end racial profiling at all levels of government.
19.  She wants to clean up the toxic lead remaining in soil, water, and paint.
20.  As secretary of state, she was tireless in traveling the world to repair the damage to our reputation from the Bush years.
21.  German chancellor Angela Merkel: "I admire her strategic thinking…Whenever I was able to work with Hillary Clinton, it was a great pleasure."
22.  She wants to reduce mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.
23.  She voted for TARP.
24.  She was the principal author of the sanctions on Iran that brought them to the bargaining table.
25.  She then began the secret negotiations with Iran that eventually led to the treaty stopping their work on nuclear weapons.
26.  She supports Dodd-Frank.
27.  At the age of 29 she co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families advocacy group.
28.  She is annoyed by airline bag fees.
29.  She supports a higher tax rate on the very rich.
30.  She supports the Paris Climate Agreement and has endorsed a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050.
31.  She wants to restore voting rights to felons who have served their sentences.
32.  She was one of the original co-sponsors of the Employee Free Choice Act, which would have implemented card check.
33.  She has literally spent her entire adult life advocating for children and women.
34.  Sen. Barbara Boxer: "She is authentic. Hillary is Hillary, and she's not going to become a cheerleader with pom-poms."
35.  She supports automatic voter registration at age 18.
36.  She has a lifetime score of 94 percent from the AFL-CIO and 98 percent from AFSCME.
37.  She pushed through State Department regulations that gave same-sex couples most of the same rights as straight couples.
38.  She supports universal pre-K.
39.  She has set a goal of producing one-third of the nation's electricity from renewable sources by 2027, three years before Obama's deadline.
40.  She wants to expand home visiting programs, one of the best known ways to improve child development.
41.  She wants to spend $275 billion (over five years) on rebuilding infrastructure.
42.  She was instrumental in securing help for New York's 9/11 first responders.
43.  In the Senate, she fought Republican attempts to privatize Social Security.
44.  She spent 11 hours testifying in front of the Benghazi committee and made Republicans look like idiots.
45.  She supports net neutrality.
46.  She would nominate liberal judges to the Supreme Court.
47.  She would also nominate liberal judges to the lower courts.
48.  She supports a plan that allows people over 55 to buy into Medicare.
49.  She co-sponsored the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.
50.  She is pro-choice and supports the right of all women to have access to affordable contraception and safe and legal abortion.
51.  She wants to prevent pharmaceutical companies from jacking up the price of long-standing drugs.
52.  She supports the addition of a public option to Obamacare.
53.  She wants to overturn Citizens United.
She has fought for decades for increased funding for HIV treatment and research.
55.  She wants to restore the portions of the Voting Rights Act that were recently struck down by the Supreme Court.
56.  She supports Obama's efforts to normalize relations with Cuba.
57.  She wants to beef up antitrust enforcement.
58.  She worked to ensure ratification of the New START treaty with Russia.
She wants to impose a tax on high-frequency trading.
60.  She's a big supporter of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan to regulate carbon emissions from power plants.
61.  In the Senate, she had a very good reputation as someone who could work across the aisle to get things done. Her word was always good.
62.  Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse on his Republican colleagues in the Senate: "Two of them, her very prominent antagonists in this election, and one looked over at the other and said, 'Boy, she's good.' The other one leaned back and said, 'Yeah, she's really good.' And that's the Hillary that they know. Not the talking points Hillary or the caricature, but the real person."
63.  She wants to tighten regulation of the shadow banking system, one of the prime causes of the crash of 2008.
64.  She wants to strengthen the Volcker Rule.
65.  She supports DACA and DAPA, the "mini-DREAM" executive orders.
66.  She supports 12 weeks of paid leave for new mothers or to recover from a serious illness.
67.  As first lady, she fought for the Family Medical Leave Act. As a senator, she worked to expand FMLA to cover wounded soldiers and their families.
68.  She has long supported gender equality efforts around the world.
69.  She has legendary stamina and endurance.
70.  Sen. Al Franken: "She is the toughest, most experienced, hardest-working person I know."
71.  As secretary of state, she personally negotiated the 2012 ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
72.  She has a 100 percent rating from both NARAL and Planned Parenthood.
In the Senate, she co-sponsored the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
74.  She did not kill Vince Foster.75.  She did not issue a"stand down" orderafter the Benghazi attack.
76.  She didn't flip-flop on the bankruptcy bill.
Now consider what a president Trump would do on these issues.  When viewed in such a light, I do not know how a pragmatic progressive can do anything but vote Clinton-Kaine on November 8, 2016. 

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