Clinton’s experience, pragmatism make her top candidate
After a spectacular year of garnering support for his progressive agenda, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) came to UC Davis Wednesday, June 1, to make his case for why he should be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States. And while Sanders’ presence has brought a fresh perspective to this election, it’s the candidate without the overwhelming support of Millennials who has the experience and sound policy proposals required of any president.
Hillary Clinton has a deep-seated commitment to public service, which includes, but is not limited to, her years as a dutifully active first lady, a New York senator and the secretary of state. This has earned her the confident endorsement of The California Aggie’s Editorial Board for the Democratic nomination for president.
Although Clinton’s choice of language in describing certain black youth as “super-predators” was reprehensible, her remarks, made two years after the passage of Bill Clinton’s 1994 controversial crime bill, should not diminish a long-standing record of supporting civil rights.
She combated segregation in 1972 by going undercover for the Children’s Defense Fund, which was trying to determine whether schools that discriminated based on race were receiving tax-exempt status from the federal government. As a student activist in 1968, Clinton favored the methodical approaches to social change that were championed by the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr. by working with black students at Wellesley College to increase recruitment of black professors and students.
As her political career has grown, Clinton has become well-versed in virtually every issue affecting American citizens. From protecting reproductive rights for women to fighting terrorism abroad, she has proved herself to be one of the most uniquely qualified candidates to ever run for president.
Sanders, who just recently registered as a Democrat, does not possess the same credentials as his opponent. He has done a fine job of instilling mainstream progressive rhetoric into the Democratic primary, encouraging Clinton to take more liberal stances on many issues, but his own beliefs resonate primarily with the politically and economically alienated.
Many of his ideas seem to stem from a basic repudiation of economic inequality, but reality is more complex. Not all problems can be explained by class conflict. The Vermont populist has primarily received support from young people with his promise to make college free by implementing a speculation tax on Wall Street transactions to cover tuition costs. Many of Sanders’ boldest proposals — including a “Medicare-for-all” healthcare system and a process of breaking up big banks — have been met with skepticism by policy experts who fear the self-proclaimed democratic-socialist will break the bank.
Even if these plans were sure to be economically feasible, they would still face the significant hurdle of getting past an increasingly polarized Congress. Sanders’ “political revolution” will not help him in meetings with GOP leaders who represent entirely different constituencies and special interests.
But a vote for Clinton should not be based on the shortcomings of her Democratic rival. It should be based on the merit of her own proposals.
She plans to make college more affordable by allowing students to refinance their student loans at lower interest rates — and by doing away with loans altogether for incoming students. Her strategy for education reform is rightfully rooted in the philosophy that, if you can afford to pay for college, you should. The children of hedge fund managers should not be made to contribute nothing to their universities.
And while her rhetoric on Wall Street excess doesn’t have the attractive populist edges that Sanders’ does, Clinton has a deep understanding of both the financial sector’s importance and excesses. She wants to strengthen Dodd-Frank, a set of Wall Street regulations that has been steadily eroded since passage after the Great Recession. Holding executives accountable by ensuring that no individual is “too big to jail” is another priority she shares in common with the Vermont senator.
Despite all her accomplishments and experience, Clinton is not the perfect candidate. Her trustworthiness is cause for concern. While attacks over her use of a private email account as secretary of state may be overblown, her refusal to release paid transcripts of Wall Street speeches undercut her calls to increase transparency and reduce conflict of interest within the financial sector.
And her stances on some of the most important issues of the day, like same-sex marriage, seem to be ever-evolving with the popular mood. But this phenomenon of changing views over the course of a political career is not unique, by any stretch, to Clinton, and voters should keep this in mind when they go to the polls next Tuesday.
Come November, Hillary Clinton will be the best candidate to fight the bigotry and bluster of Donald Trump, the presumed Republican nominee for president. As president, she will be the most effective advocate for today’s America — a diverse coalition of groups and communities — making her the best choice for Democrats looking to make a difference with their vote.