“Why I Am Voting for Hillary Clinton; The Smell of Napalm the Morning of November 9, 2016”
By Jerry Saltz
I think Hillary Clinton is the most qualified candidate running by a long shot; the most qualified candidate to run in many years.
I even think she’s a little bit bad-ass. But I am old.
I think Clinton running against either Trump or Cruz spells a very possible 50-State Clinton victory.
And the complete destruction of the Republican Party for a generation.
Six quick points about her qualifications:
1. What is now known as Obamacare was originally called HillaryCare. The attacks on her were relentless; far more than leveled at Obama. And Democrats all folded and left her holding the bag. Her plan was single-payer – and the basis of RomneyCare.
2. Tasked with the almost impossible job of cleaning up the Bush-Cheney Wars and the numerous alliances that they destroyed, as Secretary of State her diligence and people’s belief in *her* made at least a partial reboot possible. This with non-stop push-back from the Rupert Murdoch media empire (can we ship ONE immigrant back to his country!?), FoxNews, WSJ, talk-radio.
3. She is a decades-long warrior in the War on Women; she has done more for women’s rights worldwide perhaps than more any American politician. Ever.
4. She is a steadfast supporter of Planned Parenthood and abortion rights. Her three or four Supreme Court picks will help turn back the Republican tide on this issue and many other social issues that we all believe in.
5. All polls suggest that at least 80% of African-Americans and Asian-Americans support Hillary over Bernie. Over anyone else running. The number is even higher with Hispanics. (That is part of the coalition that elected Obama.) To suggest that Hillary is “bad for poor people” or into “crony capitalism” or “has no integrity” is to completely write-off these people as not-knowing-enough to know what’s good for them. That has a whiff of #WhitePrivilege.
6. Hate me for this: She’s a woman and our side – if we lose – will not get this chance again soon. Especially not with a candidate this experienced who can win all the Blue States and a batch of purple ones; who has already been in the White House for eight years, was the Secretary of State for four years, and a New York State senator for six. (Maybe she’ll let New York City adopt the Pirate Flag as out city flag.)
About Bernie: I like him a lot. However, America is not prepared to elect a self-defined “Socialist.”
C’mon! We have to get at least a little bit real.
Crucial states like Pennsylvania and Ohio or Florida or New Jersey are not prepared to elect a self-defined “Socialist.”
Six points against Sanders that I think should give those about to vote for him pause. I need to ask what has he ever actually *done* except say what we want to hear (and that NARAL and Planned Parenthood are part of the “establishment.”) It’s like hiring the nicest person for the job. Or Leonard Lopate. (Please see Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine.)
1. Sanders talks about only “modest gains of the Affordable Care Act.” This is a very churlish assessment of a law that has already reduced the number of uninsured Americans by 20 million. A law that our side has tried unsuccessfully for 40 years to put in place. Moreover, Sanders has promised to install a national single-payer plan without even a remotely plausible prospect for doing so. He could not even get very-liberal Vermont to get to go along with him when he tried that – twice!
2. Against all odds Obama has engineered enormous change. On almost every front. Sanders’ claim that “meaningful change is impossible without a revolutionary transformation that eliminates corporate power” is patently false. And it an unelectable strategy/platform. Particularly as whoever wins the Presidency will find Republicans keeping the House and likely the Senate. Most of the “revolutionary transformation” he talks about accomplishing through executive orders are *NOT* even subject to the executive actions he says – making these claims disingenuous.
3. Back to Socialism. It’s a demonstrable fact that Americans respond to “socialism” with overwhelming negativity. Whatever your ideals look it up; think closely about it.
4. Sanders has difficulty addressing issues outside his economic populism wheelhouse. And is not as strong on Gun Control.
5. The last two times a political party tried this type of “righteous indignation” outsider vote were the Goldwater and McGovern campaigns. Both times the results were disastrous and wrecked a Party. The Democrats are very lucky that the Republican Party is close to falling in line for a Trump/Cruz Goldwater candidate.
6. As a pragmatist I ask why risk losing the presidency by embracing a politically radical doctrine that stands zero-chance of enactment even it wins? Should I add that at 75 he is by far the oldest person ever to run for the office.
Along the lines of not gamboling away this unique situation: I think Civil War has come to the Republican Party. Trump is the John Brown of their party. Brown was an ardent white antislavery abolitionist who believed armed insurrection was the only way to overthrow the institution of slavery in the US. (In 1859 he led a raid on a federal armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. He was tried for treason and hanged.) Brown broke and unleashed the final blockage to the conflagration that led to the Civil War. That’s Donald Trump; the nativist splitting the Republican Party in such a way that it can never come back together. Cruz is their George Wallace; someone who will lose them all but their most zealous supporters and is hated by all mainstream politicians. He is a virus that destroys the Republican brand, probably for good. What we are seeing is a real split due to their hate, ineptitude, charlatanism, profligacy, intolerance, and stoking more and more radical racial fires. I think a Clinton candidacy would finally tear that party asunder. I hear the mission bell ringing the morning of November 9, 2016. The end of Right Wing.
The Republican destruction could come this year!
My 2016 Clinton vote is 100% pragmatism in real time. Blunt Realism. (With blood politics mixed in.)
I. Want. To. Win. Big. Total. Final.
A Clinton candidacy puts that in our reach.
Of course she’s a flawed candidate! If the email thing implodes it’s all over. But I’m with Eileen Myles on this: “I’m supporting Hillary because I just want to see a woman sit in the White House once before this empire falls down.” And my God-Daughter, Lena Dunham saying “The way that Hillary Clinton has been talked about in the media is so gendered and rabidly sexist in every single portrayal.” Hatred turns hard in America. Hillary is treated worse than any candidate in my life-time. Like a chew toy.
As for me: I am a second wave Feminist.
I want to live to see the first woman President. I want her to be in charge. Flaws and all.
I also harbor an old belief that no one on this earth is hated more than women.
No one. And that this hatred is hard-wired into us, primitive, primal. Deep. No one supporting Bernie is necessarily misogynist or self-hating.
But consider the last time “our side” splintered in 2000:
Over 80% of Ralph Nadar’s voters were male.
Over 90% were white.
This helped elect the worst President and Vice-President in US. history.
The patterns are there again:
Today over 55% of Bernie’s supporters are male. (That number is said to be higher.)
Over 75% are white. (That number is also said to be higher.)
This should tell us something.
Again, I’m old. I have bad binaries ground into my thinking. I believe that we men sometimes vote too much from our heads, our “big ideas,” big principles, abstractions.
Women have “big ideas,” principles, integrity, and all the rest. Obviously.
But, in my antiquated way I believe that women *ALSO* vote from their bodies.
They know in their bones that in elections bodies are on the line. Not just “ideas.”
(If I had a daughter I’d find it unimaginable to risk a Republican winning the White House right now. Beyond unimaginable.)
To risk this strikes me even as reckless. But, you know where I’m coming from. This isn’t an accusation.
My voting history? In 2007 I wanted Obama over Clinton. That is because Clinton tragically triangulated and voted for the Iraq War. In 2008 “our side” could not have a candidate who voted for the War. It was that simple.
Now? She has “apologized” for that vote over and over; as have most Democrats. They were all asses.
Since I’m already so far down my second wave identity politics lane it’s worth keeping mind that America selected a black man over a woman. Think about that for a moment.
I love Obama.
But part of that old-old deep hatred of women, an altering of the standards, is more than in play right now.
I think all the people running down Obama are totally wrong.
I think Obama is one of the greatest Presidents in US history. Period.
(I mean no one on “our side” even thought he’d be able to save the American car industry! I hate most American cars.) Let alone fix so much of the tragic damage done by Republicans between 2000, when this country had a Clinton-surplus of 100s of billions, to 2008, and their destruction of the US economy.
On the night Obama was elected in 2008 I wrote on my Facebook that a younger generation would now have to become disappointed in new ways.
Obama talked about “putting aside childish things.”
I think that with total victory in our grasp it is time to reconsider that.
This isn’t to convince anyone not vote for Bernie. Debate is great. I don’t begrudge anyone from our side voting for Bernie. I agree with him on a lot too. But as artist Matthew Weinstein wrote ” I agree with Cher on most issues. I don’t want her to be president.”
When I was young I voted for an insurgent candidate too – Dick Gregory; look him up; amazing guy. With that vote I helped elect Richard Nixon.
If this has to happen again it has to happen.
I will say that I tend to think of this kind of abstract vote is grounded in complacency and privilege.
I am NOT accusing anyone here of casting votes that way; just my older Feminism kicking in.
I am completely committed to my pragmatist, vengeance-seeking, bad-ass – even Identity Politics vote.
I want the smell of napalm in the morning of November 9, 2016 when Hillary beats the Republicans. For good.
It will smell like … … victory.
PS. If you wish to answer *please* only support your own candidate; do *not* write about how the other one is wrong or bad or lacks integrity or whatever else. ONLY support your candidate. Not run the other one down. Republicans are the ones who argue by only attacking the other guy and never supporting their own. And don’t come after me personally. I didn’t come after you personally. I block any all-out name-calling.