I May Be a Relucant Clinton Supporter, But I’m Getting There

If you see my previous post, you will notice two things.  One, I am a huge Sanders supporter. The other, I am a reluctant Clinton supporter.   I’m a fan of Bernie Sanders, and love his dedication to representing every day citizens in this country.  It’s unfortunate that he will not be the Democratic nominee, because the middle and lower classes would have greatly benefited from his principled values.

But alas, he did not pull off a moon shot victory.  Now we face the reality of the presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton.  I said all along that I would support the nominee, despite my favoring one candidate over the other.  I said this before Trump was the nominee.  He is a terrifying candidate, for a 1/2 Jewish lesbian woman, who supports equality; economic and social.  He is a terrifying candidate for any US citizen who cares about a presidential candidate having any experience in public office, or at least a descent grasp on the complexities of international relations, domestic issues, education, civil liberties, womens’ issues, etc.

I will be honest.  I have my disagreements with Clinton.  I won’t give up those disagreements.  I will keep pushing her and her campaign on those issues.  I will also support her and vote for her in November.  I will celebrate us finally electing a female president.  It is long overdue.

I was a huge fan of Bill Clinton, and literally jumped up and down when I got to vote for him in ’96.  I was a freshman in college, had just turned 18 and was voting for the first time.  I voted absentee ballot and felt so incredibly lucky and patriotic, getting to vote for our President.  I was so proud of Hillary Clinton, when she went out on a limb to try to push universal health care in the ’90s.  She fell on the sword, and knew it was unlikely to succeed, but she also had the foresight to know it would push the needle in the right direction.

I voted for Hillary, when she ran for US Senate in NY state.  She immediately made advances for our state.  She visited upstate and helped in the establishment of the wine trail, as well as putting it “on the map”, which has been great for tourism, local businesses and our economy.  When she ran for president in ’08, I planned to support her, until I heard then Senator Obama speak.  He was a Jr. Senator and had no ties (that I could see) to lobbyists or special interests.  He was in a unique position to go into the White House without a bunch of promises he would need to keep.  I had to support him, and I selfishly hoped Clinton would stay in the US Senate for NY, and keep doing good in my home state.

Once Obama was elected, and Clinton was appointed Secretary of State, I was again proud of her.  She keeps breaking glass ceilings and she had done it again.  She has fostered relationships, not just in the domestic political landscape, but internationally as well.  Her qualifications are impressive and not to be underestimated.  Just as President Obama said in his endorsement of her, we have likely never had a candidate so qualified to lead this country.

In stark contrast, Trump has absolutely no experience, makes statements that have international implications, and is supported by xenophobes, racists, anti-Semites and misogynists.  He has made statements that align with such supporters.  It’s absolutely horrifying that we are in a position where this guy could end up as our President.

Of course I am supporting Clinton.  She has fought for decades to represent the middle class.  This is where Bernie or Bust fans and Trump supporters will jump up and down.  Yes she has a lot of relationships with Wall St executives. So do many politicians, who run for President.  That doesn’t make her corrupt or uninterested in the issues facing the lower and middle classes.  It does put her in a position to see the full landscape, and to be able to garner the ear of those we need, in order to truly affect change.

Many may say that is a load of BS, but many of those supporting Trump, point to his Wall St “savvy” as why they believe he will make a good leader.  FYI, for those who believe that, Trump has a few bankrupt companies you can get for a good price (he might even throw in a bridge).

I was still hoping Sanders might pull out an 11th hour win in California, to push the proverbial needle in the direction of fighting inequality, economically and socially.  I really hope Clinton strongly considers choosing him as VP.  It is the best way to bring his movement in full force, to the future of this country.  Sanders tweeted that “Change happens from the bottom up.” and I think it’s the best message he could send to the millions of supporters behind his movement.

I graduated college with a BS in Political Science, a 2nd major in English literature and a minor in philosophy.  I got to work in politics, which is pretty rare, even for someone with poli sci degree.  I worked on local campaigns and I can tell you, Bernie Sanders knows what he is talking about with that statement.  He knew it was a long shot to win the presidential nomination by the Democratic party against what many assumed was a presumptive nominee, and there is a reason for that.  It’s not just that she was so favored, or any of the other conspiracy theories as to the “establishment” push for Clinton to win.  Sanders knows intrinsically, that if we really want to affect change in this country, it will most likely be done bottom to top, not top to bottom.

People who are all mad as hell, that Sanders didn’t get the nomination, are missing the point.  Just because you decided to show up one day, doesn’t mean the tide will just swing in your favor.  It is incredibly hard to change the status quo, in any aspect of life, just as in American politics.  According to the US Census Bureau, as of November 2014, 59% of eligible citizens are registered to vote.  Less than 60% of citizens who can vote, are registered.  Over 40% of this country is not even registered.  Of those who are registered, 38.5% actually voted.  So, not to do really crappy math, but if we round a bit, we can see about 23% of eligible voters showed up to vote, in that instance.  In a country where people would sooner fly a flag than vote, as a symbol of their patriotism, and we wonder why Washington is corrupt. No one is paying attention.  And people get mad when change doesn’t happen, the moment they decide to show up.

I hate to say it, but we have a much bigger battle than getting 1 candidate in as President. It is naive to think that one massive upset on the presidential stage would not only so handily be able to be pulled off, but would force the rest of the dominoes to fall in place for us.  It’s going to be a bit harder than that.  Most people weren’t paying attention when Clinton started her campaign last fall.  And that’s not even close to her fault.  She was ready and has been.  It’s the masses who are the late comers.  Don’t get me wrong, welcome to the party. Please stay.  We need you. Just please open your eyes to political reality.  Many people have been at this a long time.  If you shout and attack them, your antagonism will only shut you out.  We can’t hear your argument clearly, if you are shouting and participating in violent protests.

If people really support the movement that Sander’s campaign has inspired, then they will organize and get effective at supporting the best progressive candidates at the local election and on up the list.  Every office that has an election needs a good candidate to speak to our issues.  If we don’t see one on the ballot, we need to find a candidate and support them.  This won’t happen in a single election cycle, it will happen over time, and we will need to keep showing up.  As long as we have local election turnout out abysmally under 30% in local election years, it will be hard to make the argument that we are paying attention.  That we care who represents us, and how they represent us.

Now that it is looking abundantly clear that Clinton is the nominee, I have been focusing my tweets on thanking Sanders for motivating voters and eligible voters.  His campaign has been seen, even by big media, to be the direct catalyst for a surge in new voter registrations across the country.  He has motivated people to get involved and find like minded candidates running for local office, state level, and federal (congress).  He’s right.  It’s not just about him.  It’s about all of us, and we need representatives who will represent our interests.

I truly do believe that Clinton will represent my interests. At the very least, she will be at the opposite end of the spectrum as Trump would be, and that is good enough for me.  But she will do more than that.  She has fought for the middle class, whether you are willing to acknowledge that or not.  She will continue to fight for us, and through an incredibly complex political landscape.  Like it or not, there is a lot of corruption and special interest in Washington.  Clinton is not naive, and she can navigate it.  We do need someone who can navigate it.

I disagree with her on fracking.  I want it to stay in the ground.  I want us to focus on renewable energy sources, and I will not stop disagreeing with her on this point, just because I support her for President.  I disagree with her on GMOs. I get that there is a difference between GMO corn and GMO pesticides.  I don’t like it.  I don’t like the patenting of our food supply.  I don’t like family farms being put out of business because patented feed ended up in their feed and they were sued out of their family’s legacy of farming the crops this country consumes.  I want organic food on my table and readily available to all people, regardless of where they live or how much they make.  I want GMO products labeled, and I want it easier to grow organic, than it is to grow and sell GMO crops.

Other than that, her platform is pretty in line with what I want in our Democratic candidate for President.  Whether the bernie or bust berners like it or not, the huge reality is that no candidate is likely to ever have everything you want them to have.  They aren’t you, such as it is.  We pick the best candidate we can find, we stick to our principles and call them out on the things we disagree with, but we support them, because their opponent would do much worse for the issues we care about.  In this instance, I truly believe it would be disastrous for Trump to end up as President of the United States.  On the other hand, it would be and will be excellent for this country to have Clinton leading us forward.  She will build on the successes of President Obama.  I also believe that if she includes Sanders, as VP or in her cabinet, she will bring a great progressive brand to what her administration will do for the people.

Finally, to wrap up this long-winded summation of where I stand with this year’s Presidential election, I wanted to explain the “why I’m getting there”.  Since I have been toning down my tweets in support of Sanders as nominee, I have been seeing Sanders supporters tweets against Clinton being the presumptive nominee.  I have seen them even attack Senator Warren and call Clinton a whore.  It’s disgusting and it puts my esteem for these people at the level of Trump.

To attack Warren for endorsing Clinton is absurd.  You were a fan of hers, until she came to that personal decision.  Are people not allowed to disagree with you and support the other candidate on the same side of the aisle?  Warren has fought incredibly hard for consumers’ rights, even establishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  She really is on our side, and even though many of you are new to the scene, she is not.  She is looking at the big and small picture and knows that Clinton will lead us, and we need her to beat Trump.  Even if you disagree with that assessment, Senator Warren should still have your respect.  Anonymous tweets aside, can we all agree that everyone has a right to make their own choice as to who they support, and shouldn’t be attacked for it?  The hardest part about freedom is supporting the freedom of the rights of a person you disagree with.

The same goes for Hillary Clinton.  You may not agree with everything about her, but please attempt to have some common decency in debating her campaign and their supporters.  The more you disrespect her, and those who endorse her, the more you make me want to support her.  If for no other reason, it will be to make it clear that I don’t support your disrespectful rhetoric.  You call her a whore and you legitimize Trump’s misogynistic discourse.  You demean all women, and that includes me.  I’d rather be standing next to Clinton, instead of you, if you are going to attack her like that.  You can disagree with her, but your arguments will only be as effective as they are able to remain respectful,  She is in this fight with us, whether you want to believe it or not.  And trust me, Trump is not.  He is in it for the glory.  The press.  The narcissistic attention he so craves.  She is in it to affect change, even if she is a bit more realistic, rather than the idealism that I would prefer.  I know at the end of the day that she is with us, so moving forward #ImWithHer.  You can take your time, but I hope you will come around.  We need all the help we can get, to be absolutely sure that Trump doesn’t end up in the White House, and maybe we can even win back congress. ok, I’m there.

I’m a Bernie Supporter, So Why Haven’t I Given Up?

The primaries that took place last night resulted in more delegates being added to the banks for Clinton and Sanders.  If you put Super Delegates aside, not much changed.  The delegate count is 1,331/1,640 Sanders/Clinton, respectively. That translates to 45% / 55%, respectively.  This pervasive idea in the media that Sanders is a fringe candidate, an almost 3rd party candidate, who doesn’t have a chance.  I just don’t get it.  There are 851 delegates left in the remaining state primaries, before the convention.  One of those is California, which has 546 delegates to be applied.  The California primary has historically been one that can sway a nomination.

If the rest of the delegates are split 50/50, then we will have just about the current % of delegates each.  Sanders has 45% of the primary delegates, and I think that should be talked about more. There is a huge base of support for his candidacy and I think the Super Delegates should be pressured more by the media.  Why are they not hammering them for pledging to support a candidate in opposition to how their district/state voted?

I am in the Berniecrat minority, in that I will support Hillary Clinton if she wins the nomination.  I don’t believe she is evil or all bad.  I think she will make a good president.  But the primary election is not over, and I want Bernie.  I will support him for as long as he as asked for support, which is through the nominating convention.  But we do have to be realists at the end of the day.  There is no way I will not vote  There is no way I will allow my vote be a 3rd party vote, that will only serve to splinter the vote.  Either way, such actions would ensure that Trump or any other GOP candidate ends up in the White House.  This is just too important.  Our rights, our civil liberties, our environment.  All are on the line.

For now, I will not stop championing Sanders.  The convention has yet to happen, and I will support him as long as I can.  As much as I am a supporter, what has really stoked my backing of Sanders is how the media is influencing this primary.  Time and time again, the delegate count is reported with the super delegates in the total.  But why would they do that? The old adage “don’t count your chickens, before they hatch.” comes to mind.  They haven’t cast their vote, and any political journalist worth their salt, knows that if the delegate counts are close, the supers may well be up for grabs.  We could easily end up going to a 2nd ballot.  Supers can publicly announce their intent to support one candidate or another, but I would argue that doing so is an attempt to sway the state primaries and the votes of the people.  I don’t like it, and I find it a bit underhanded.

In any event, when the media reports the Super Delegates, as if those votes have already been cast, they are painting a picture that the primary is really over.  Clinton has this sewn up and she is going to win the nomination.  That has been the rhetoric in the media throughout this primary, and it seems like it should be illegal.  To report on a primary and suggesting that one candidate has the nomination in the bag, before all the states have even had their votes.  It’s like how states are called the minute polling places close, even when people are still standing in line.  There is a direct correlation to people believe a race is over or has been called, to them not voting.  If the people think there is still a race, they are more likely to think that their vote may make a difference.  They are more likely to vote.

Can’t we slow down just long enough to let people vote? Would that really upset the balance to such an extent that our society would fall apart?  I think not.  But it might encourage the voters not to give up on the process. And that seems worthwhile.

How I Feel About This Election Year

It is likely that only a handful of people will read this, and 2 will probably be my parents (thanks, guys).  I’m not some political analyst, who has experience, savvy and inexplicable knowledge of facts and figures.  I’m just a voter, who has what is most likely an extremely minority view of this year’s elections.

Background:
I have a B.S. in Political Science, with a double major in English Literature and a minor in Philosophy, from SUNY Brockport.  I graduated in 2000 with $25K in student loans, and I never thought it should have been free. I had always known there was a cost to get to go to college, and it never had occurred to me that it should be free.  I love the idea, though, so I’m on board.  After college, I worked as a sous chef at a country club, while “moonlighting” in the day time, volunteering at the Monroe County Democratic Committee (MCDC).

From there, I was hired at the Board of Elections, in the Information Systems department. I was working there for the 2000 election, as we sat around at midnight (our county successfully reported), and were so glad we weren’t in Miami Dade county. I’ve been around computers since I was a kid, so I ended up in IT, which has been great.  Great, because it’s kept me employed, for most of the time, since I graduated.  I was quickly asked to be the Director of Operations at the MCDC, which lasted almost 2 years (2 elections, at least).

When the chair stepped down, his replacement needed a salary, and it would come from mine.  I eventually found a job, again in IT, but not in politics anymore.  I haven’t worked in politics since 2002.  But I still vote.  I still try to learn about the candidates.  There have been a couple of local elections where I was lazy.  I didn’t learn about the candidates, and I didn’t vote.  I kick myself for that, because I know better.

Now:
This year, something rare is happening.  The candidates in both parties are causing people to pay attention.  Trump is one of the scariest people a Jewish Lesbian, like myself, could see on the stage.  But this isn’t about him lighting a match to hate, racism, violent vigilantism, etc.  This is about the party I have been registered with, since I turned 18.  I was so excited to register, and vote absentee ballot for Bill Clinton.  Now we have two candidates in the Democratic Primary, and it’s lighting a different fire.  The trouble is, for some, this has become divisive instead of producing productive debate.

Where I Stand:
I am a Hillary Clinton fan.  I know, for some this will cause distaste.  I don’t really get it, but I hope you will hear me out.  In my experience, she has done an incredible amount of good.  She has fought for the middle class, and took a huge beating for trying to improve health care as First Lady.  She took the flack, in an effort to try to move us forward, and I don’t think she gets the credit she deserves for that work.  I was excited to vote for her for US Senate, in NY.  She did a lot of good for NY state, and I was selfishly not wanting her to run for President, in 2008.  I wanted her to stay in NY, doing good for our state.  I still planned to support her run for President.  When I was a kid I decided that I wanted to be the 2nd female President of the United States.  Just day dreaming, you know.  I wanted there to be a female President, and I really felt we should have one in office by the time I was 35 (the legal age to run for President).  I’m 38 now, and that hasn’t happened yet.

But when I heard President Obama speak at the Democratic National Convention, I was blown away.  I looked at his platform and Clinton’s.  I felt that he was a Jr Senator, with little ties or promises to make him beholden to special interests.  Hillary Clinton has shattered glass ceilings for women, but she also does have a lot of ties to special interest, and I just believed Obama might have that rare opportunity to have slipped in under the wire.  I was incredibly happy when President Obama appointed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.  She has built a lot of international relationships, which puts her in a great position to lead this country in the global community.

But here we are again.  Hillary Clinton is running, and I was planning on supporting her.  I’m sorry that I don’t have that blind loyalty to just say it is her turn and throw her my support.  Bernie Sanders got into the race, and it was probably meant as a spoiler.  Raise the debate and try to up the dialogue.  Something happened.  He sparked a fire of his own. One that is incredibly progressive.  The kind of progressive rhetoric that I was used to hearing from the Clintons.  They have become much more moderate, and Bernie Sanders is liberal and dreams so big.  It’s fantastic.  He wants to blow open the doors to the corruption and special interest agendas in our government.  He wants to create the kind of equality that will ensure the middle class is the strongest it can ever be, and ensure we all have the opportunity to reach our potential.

In order to do that, people making minimum wage, must be able to survive.  And not just survive, but have health care, the chance to go to college, and raise kids.  I get that minimum wage jobs are meant to be a stepping stone, but they are also the only job that some people can get, and it’s not right that the pay check is not enough to pay bills, afford proper nutrition, health care etc.

I think Hillary Clinton wants these things too.  I really do, and I wish Democrats and Independents would ease up on the barrage of attacks against her.  So much of that is coming from the GOP, because they are terrified of her getting in the White House. A lot of people are not willing to unite behind her, if she gets the nomination.  I absolutely will.  She is a fantastic candidate and I respect her career and her run for President.  But we are not there yet.  While Bernie Sanders has an incredibly tough road to getting enough delegates to push a 2nd ballot at the convention, I think he can still do it, and a lot of people can.  There are a lot of primaries left, and I think we should keep supporting our candidates in a positive manner.  We should respect both candidates, because one of them WILL be the nominee.  We have to remember the big picture.  The GOP candidates have all made statements that are sexist, racist, homophobic, etc.  They are a scary bunch and the Democratic candidates shine in comparison.

The Voters’ Issues:
So now we have an issue of voter suppression, which has come to light from the NY primary, as well as AZ and other states.  I wanted to speak to this, because again I have what is probably a minority view.  I was in a good position, having worked at the Board of Elections, that I knew the election laws.  I understand them.  Yes, they are strict, and I somewhat agree with the complaints of how strict they are.  In NY, when you register to vote, you can register with a party or no party.

You can vote in primaries of the party that has a primary, IF you are registered with that party.  You can change parties, but you have to do it before a general election.  So if you want to vote in next year’s primary for the Republican party, you have to change your party affiliation to Republican before this year’s general.  That’s where a lot of the complaints in this primary are coming from.  Independents wanted to vote in the Democratic primary, but they didn’t change their affiliation before last year’s general election.  The contest between Sanders and Clinton hadn’t heated up by then, so people didn’t know how much they would want to be able to take part in the primary.

The idea of open primaries is interesting, but I am not sure I am in support of it.  If you want to vote in a party’s primary, I think you should be registered with that party.  This law that you have to change your affiliation before the next year, seems logical to me.  It (I think) is meant to prevent a bum rush of people voting for a spoiler who won’t be a contender in the general election, in an attempt to sabotage a party’s primary.  Imagine if a candidate with no real experience or agenda was running against an excellent candidate in either a Republican or Democratic primary.  If voters from the opposing party wanted to sabotage the nomination of the other party, they could vote for the spoiler and prop up a lesser candidate against their party’s nominee.

If I Had My Way:
But what am I in favor of?  I got beat up on twitter this week, for trying to explain this whole view, and was even accused of supporting Jim Crow laws.  Yeah, online posters are something.   I am in favor of the following – automatic enrollment at 18, with no party affiliation, until you choose one.  You must be affiliated with a party in which primary you want to participate at least 6 months ahead of the contest.  I know, that may result in missing out on their primary, but it does prevent people from enrolling with a party that they don’t genuinely favor.  I also support elections being a national holiday.  We pride ourselves on our free and open elections, but laws keep getting passed to make it harder to vote, not easier.

I think elections should be a holiday, where voter turnout is as close to 100% as it can get.  Students from high schools should take part, by helping at polling places, so they can learn the process and see democracy in action.  It should be part of their curriculum in school, but we can iron that out with the educators teaching participation in government, or PIG as we called it.

So there you have it.  I want nothing more than for Bernie Sanders to shock the political world, and this country.  I want him to win the nomination and I probably haven’t expressed that as well as I would like, here.  But it’s true.  I am a #Berner and I love the movement.  I #FeelTheBern and will keep supporting his campaign all the way to convention.  It was the coolest feeling, canvassing for his campaign.  I didn’t do as much as I would have liked. I only completed 1 list, but I tried to do my part.  I donate to the campaign and I plan to make time for phone banking this weekend.  I loved getting to vote for him, and I am excited to see how the convention goes.  I have a positive view of how the debate in this primary can raise the level of what we can accomplish in this country.

I am in the absolute minority that I would love to see a Sanders/Clinton ticket.  She would be the presumptive nominee in 4-8 years and that would be perfect, to me.  If that can’t happen, I would also love to see a Sanders/Warren ticket, but I’ll hold off on dreaming too big, until we see how the remaining state primaries go, and how the convention unfolds.  I am a realist and I know there is a real probability that Clinton will get the nomination.

Down with the Hate, Let’s Come Together:
It’s not my first choice, but please don’t take that to mean that I don’t believe Clinton will make an excellent president.  She will, and the hateful attacks on her are so disrespectful.  A lot of them are inflamed by her true opposition, but it makes me sad to see Democrats, Independents and liberals attacking her, and saying #BernieOrBust.  She is not the enemy, and you are doing the bidding of the conservative republicans, when you bash her.  I can’t believe that people will be willing to stay home or vote for Trump, Cruz or Kaisch, just to stick it to Clinton.  I just can’t grasp the reasoning. Trying to write in a name, or vote for a 3rd party, will only ensure that the election is handed to a republican, and that is truly terrifying right now.

I hope those people come around and see what is truly at stake.  Our civil rights, the environment, health care, education and so much more.  Good luck to Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.  Good luck to the citizens of the United States.  May we always pay attention to elections.  Learn the candidates. Respect them, but stand up for what you believe in.  Insist that the people elected to office represent you and all of us.

Revolution Now and Forever:
It’s time we vote out the officials who are clogging our system with pandering to lobbyists and conservative prejudices.  McConnell, Cruz, Cotton, Rubio, Paul, Graham.  The list goes on.  It’s time to vote these career politicians out of office, and be willing to vote out any elected official not doing their job.  Our vote is our way of hiring/re-hiring someone for a position, where we are the boss.  It is our right and our duty to pay attention to how people represent us, and to not reward them with votes or by not voting and allowing them to stay in office. Let’s not let this opportunity to wake up and pay attention, go to waste.  Let us move forward with a commitment to vote, not just in Presidential years. Let’s pay attention to the local officials too.  That’s where the power struggle starts.

So we as citizens must start there, if we want to change the way our government is run, from the bottom up.  I believe we can do it.  I believe our vote matters.  If 50% of the population believes their vote doesn’t matter, we have what we have today.  Low turnout and not a lot of participation in choosing who is in office at any level.  If those same 50% would just get involved enough to learn the candidates, and what elected officials are doing in office, we might just get some of the politician not serving the people, out of office and out of the way.  Imagine 90%+ turnout.  What a revolution for democracy, that would be.

Let the twitter attacks commence. (Please don’t be too mean!)