Why I’m with Hillary
Friends of mine on both sides of the Democratic political spectrum have been surprised with me this cycle. “Why aren’t you with Hillary yet?” was the implicit appeal from some of my sisters in arms earlier this primary season. More recently, from others: “I would have pegged you for a Bernie person. Isn’t he more progressive?”
Well, here’s the skinny. I’m excited about Hillary and about the prospect of the first woman president—but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t committing for that reason only. So I did my homework, to make sure I was honoring the full breadth of my progressive values before picking a candidate. No candidate will ever agree with you 100% of the time, or have done all the things any of us would wish for—Hillary, Bernie, Obama, period. But who’s the best total package? Here’s why, for me, the answer is Hillary:
1) You know what’s Progressive? Getting things done.
This is the most important reason I’m with Hillary. She takes on tough fights and keeps plugging away—getting real results for people who need change. In the ‘90s, she took on the tough assignment of health care reform. When Congress and the insurance industry stonewalled reform, Hillary didn’t give up. She found another way to make progress—for millions of kids and their parents. She worked with Democrats and Republicans to secure passage of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which preceded Obamacare in cutting the uninsured rate of American children by half. Today it provides health care to more than 8 million kids.
After the spotlight waned in the years following the 9/11 attacks, Hillary worked doggedly to overcome GOP opposition and secure funds for medical assessment, outreach, and care for 9/11 rescue and recovery workers, and volunteers.
As Secretary of State, Hillary is widely credited both with crafting the sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table, AND with taking on—and delivering—the gargantuan assignment of getting China, Russia, the EU, and many other nations unified behind these sanctions. That’s serious evidence of her ability to do the hard work of coalition building under charged political circumstances—something our country really needs right now.
Whoever our next president is will have to govern a deeply divided nation and work with a bitterly partisan Congress. I want that person to be someone who has a record of finding a path through controversy and grandstanding to GET THINGS DONE. Rallying cries and crowds are not enough. Too many people are left waiting for change, still suffering, after those rallies are over and the righteous go home.
2) There is no issue more important to our future than education, and Hillary’s position on early education is second to none. Her commitment is long-standing, and her credentials are ironclad. The power that universal access to quality early education has to reduce income inequality in our nation, close racial and economic opportunity gaps, and deliver justice where it’s sorely needed is difficult to rival. We need a President who understands this in her bones and is prepared to fight to deliver it.
3) Hillary is vetted, she’s tested, she’s tough. If not Hillary, what woman will we elect? She’s been an editor of the Yale Law Review, a highly successful lawyer, a two term US Senator, and the US Secretary of State. Yet if she sounded like Bernie, Trump, or Carson, had the career profile of Rubio, or was as disliked by her colleagues as Cruz, she would never have been taken seriously, let alone been a major presidential contender. That makes me mad, and it should make you mad, too. And it makes me know we need her—so that we, as a nation, can start fully benefitting from the talents of over half our population.