Monday, April 4, 2016

I'm thinking Hillary over Bernie. Here's why.

I haven't finalized my voting decision yet — I'm still in play — but with about three weeks to go before the Pennsylvania primary, I find myself leaning towards support for Hillary.

It's a close call. Hillary Clinton voted to invade Iraq. And her performance as secretary of state suggests that she's altogether more hawkish than I would prefer. I used to think that her hawkishness was a political pose — meant more to disarm Republicans than as a guide to actual policy. I don't believe that anymore, or at any rate I don't think it matters anymore: She functions as a hawk, therefore her internal beliefs don't matter all that much.

I've said before my heart remains closer to Bernie Sanders, and that remains true. America, I think, is headed for an economic reckoning — the problem of economic inequality is probably the problem of our time, and he's the candidate who seems to take it most seriously.

So why the lean to Hillary?

I think it has a lot to do with A) who can win the presidency and B) who can best use he presidency once he or she gets there.

On the matter of Issue A: Bernie's a democratic socialist. This is not the same thing as being Joseph Stalin, but no mind: Republicans seem to have lost the distinction between democratic socialism and Marxist totalitarianism in the last 10 years, though it was our decision to side with the former that helped win the Cold War. Millennials don't hate socialism like older generations do, it's true, but millennials also don't vote like older generations do.  Donald Trump's candidacy — whether or not he  ends up winning the GOP nomination — gives Democrats a real chance to retain the presidency. If Bernie Sanders is the nominee, though, some of that advantage is traded back.

As far as B: I have two problems with a Sanders candidacy. First, I'm not sure how he'll govern in he face of GOP obstruction, and he's given real no sense that he has a plan to govern with such obstacles in place. Hillary has seen, up close, how to govern and even advance an agenda in the face of a GOP-controlled Congress; if the Congress is going to stay in the GOP's hands, I'd guess I'd rather have her there, fighting for what's possible from a lefty-Dem point-of-vew, rather than Sanders fighting for the impossible.

Second: I don't really have an idea of what Sanders proactively wants the United States to be, foreign-policy wise I think he knows we shouldn't be in the country-invading business. And that's great. But what should be the actual approach to using American power in the world? Foreign policy is where a president has the most latitude to act, yet on his own website it appears to be barely more than an afterthought.

I could change my mind. But this is here I stand for the moment, and why. Got a better argument? I truly am listening.


Nick said...

I tend to agree with your assessment, especially since economic inequality will only be exacerbated under Clinton.

I think that's true even if the Dems somehow snatch back the Senate.

It's not that I'm happy about the probability, but as you noted, we're due a comeuppance and I'd rather it was sooner than later; later might include pitchforks and whatnot.

Fletcher Dodge said...

Responding to your reasoning for each item:

A) The polls I've seen show Trump doing better against Clinton than Sanders. Said another way, people seem to be willing to vote for Sanders over Trump to a greater extent than they are to vote for Clinton over Trump. So in terms of who can win the general, it seems the better choice is Sanders.

B-1) Clinton has WAAAAY more political baggage than Sanders. With all that the Clinton legacy brings with it, I don't think you've seen political obstruction on the terms of what we'd be in for if Clinton wins.

B-2) I think you're overstating the public distaste for socialism. The whole reason Sanders is doing so well is because people (of all ages) are beginning to realize that as a country we all bought in to socialism years ago, and are now just starting to realize it.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Could we see a Clinton-Warren ticket? With Warren given a big public role? Not just because of the policy balance: I'd seriously like to see the "monstrous regiment of women" given a chance here.

Half-joking. But half-not.

Brendan said...

I'm with you, Mathis.