Amanda Rainey and Lisa Judge debate who to support: Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton?
Why I support Bernie Sanders
PRAGMATIST WITH THE MONEY AND CONNECTIONS, NOT JUST TO RUN, BUT TO BE EFFECTIVE ON THE JOB. A SAVVY OPERATOR WHO NEVER GIVES UP. A LIFE-LONG SUPPORTER OF A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE. EVOLVED ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY, AND A SUPPORTER OF WELFARE, A HEALTHCARE SAFETY NET AND CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION.
Hillary Clinton ticks many progressive boxes, but on the big social and economic issues she is more liberal than Labor. More Turnbull than Shorten. Her positions may appeal to the Labor faithful, but her solutions are often more aligned with our political opponents.
We like to imagine the US Democratic Party in Labor’s image to justify our fascination for its internal machinations. In reality the Democrats’ history and founding values should leave us unsurprised that the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic endorsement is more liberal than Labor.
Much has been said and written about the policy positions of Sanders and Clinton. Most ignore that, within the harsh realities of US campaign financing, it is impossible to stitch together an uncompromised narrative that gives us a clear indication of the ideology and agenda that would drive their presidency.
We should look not to the policies they are able to support but to the means they prefer to achieve change when they are in a position to do so. This offers more consistency over their careers and an insight into who aligns with our own movement and aspirations.
Both Sanders and Clinton support action on climate change, but where Clinton focuses on growing the renewable industry, Sanders wants to tax coal-powered plants and eliminate tax breaks for fossil fuel companies.
Where Clinton supports Obama’s market compromise on healthcare, Sanders continues to push for a system that mimics the Australian Labor Party’s greatest achievement, Medicare.
When Clinton drove housing policy through the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act she looked to a program that largely offers rental affordability or downpayment assistance in the private market. By contrast, Sanders drove seed funding for the Burlington Trust which puts land in the hands of its community and gave working families the ability to build collateral within a cost-capped housing market.
This is a pattern that persists across the policy achievements of the two candidates. Clinton supports the market solution, while Sanders turns to government. Where Clinton’s policy incentivises positive action from corporations, Sanders turns to the restraint of the state. Where she looks to the individual, he relies on the collective.
Clinton is undoubtedly a progressive, whatever that word means. She’s our best shot at a woman in the most influential political position in the world and may still be the most popular candidate. But none of that changes the fact that her ‘pragmatic liberalism’ stands apart from the democratic socialism that drives Sander’s approach and defines the Australian Labor Party.
Early on in the primary campaign, perhaps there was a case for Clinton as a pragmatic centrist choice – she seemed the only candidate who could save the world from a Republican US President.
But polling is now showing that, should they get the nod, either Sanders or Clinton could take the general election. Givens that choice, surely we should support for others what we aspire to ourselves.
Why I support Hillary Clinton
RECENT CHOICES BETWEEN LEFT-WING LEADERS REFLECT A TENSION BETWEEN ‘IDEALISM’ AND ‘ELECTABILITY’. YOU ARE EITHER IN FAVOUR OF WINNING, OR OF LOSING WITH YOUR PRINCIPLES INTACT. THE OBVIOUS SOLUTION IS TO DEMAND THAT LEADERS BALANCE BOTH OBJECTIVES.
This false choice prioritises campaign abilities over governing abilities. We choose leaders we think swinging voters will like, but we often fail to ask whether these candidates can lead effective, compassionate, competent governments.
That’s why I support Hillary Clinton – overwhelmingly the most qualified candidate in the US Presidential race.
The question of why no women have been elected President often centres on merit. Some reject sexism as the major factor. They argue that previous male candidates were more qualified. No-one wants to elect less qualified candidates just because they are female. But in this race Hillary Clinton is the most qualified candidate, Democratic or Republican. I can’t support less qualified candidates just because they are men.
The problem Clinton faces is that her preparation and experience are exactly the main reasons many oppose her.
Clinton made the same compromises as previously successful candidates. She should not be judged more harshly.
Clinton’s suitability for the role is held as proof that she is the ‘establishment’ candidate, which in this political climate is not intended as a compliment. Strong party support, good networks, successful fundraising and willingness to compromise are usually considered necessary for winning the Presidency.
Important criticisms apply to the wider problems of money, power and connections, but we should not penalise women for playing by the same rules as men.
I support Hillary Clinton because she’s been tested, r e p e a t e d l y, and has proven capable of surviving challenges – fair and unfair – that would have destroyed lesser beings.
After decades surviving and learning, Clinton is strong enough to fight for progressive policy against a Republican Party run by right-wing extremists who would rather shut down government than let people have health care.
And Hillary Clinton supports women’s right to control their own bodies and lives.
She’s the first primary candidate ever to receive an endorsement from Planned Parenthood, and the first Presidential candidate to strongly oppose the Hyde Amendment, which creates a major hurdle for poor women who need an abortion. The amendment reinforces the idea that women’s reproductive healthcare is distinct from other forms of healthcare.
Clinton is also in favour of more gun control, raising the minimum wage, protecting social security and Obamacare, and making rich people pay their taxes. She’s a centrist, but she’s left of centre. Importantly, Clinton is capable of winning some fights.
I sympathise with many of Sanders’ policy goals, but he’s less capable of delivering on these. I’m also grateful for Sanders’ valuable role in pulling the centre leftwards. Real change needs both competent leaders and competent outsiders who can change political debates and create new possibilities.
I support Hillary Clinton because she’s smart, funny, and wants to make the world better.
Political insiders talk about the importance of emotion to voters, but we are not above those same instincts. Despite some disagreements with decisions and compromises Clinton has made (and will make in the future), I like Hillary and believe she shares my values – the values she spoke of in her 1969 commencement speech and has fought for ever since.
And finally: I support Hillary Clinton because she is a woman.
Men have been voting for themselves for years and now it’s our turn.