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Students for Hillary Clinton: The pragmatic perspective

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February 22, 2016

11:05 PM

On March 1, we’re voting for a progressive. We will vote for someone who has been endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood, the Service Employees International Union and the Brady Campaign to Control Gun Violence. On March 1, we’re voting for Hillary Clinton.

In the past week, we’ve been reminded of how high the stakes are for this election. With two justices over the age of 80 on the Supreme Court and one open seat, our next president has an opportunity to build a liberal Court not just for the next four years, but for the next 40. For that to happen, a Democrat needs to be sworn in on Jan. 20. Regardless of what certain polls “matching up” Bernie Sanders against Republicans claim, Hillary is more electable than Sanders.

There is a reason why the Republican National Committee sent out four e-mail blasts to reporters defending Sanders during the Charleston debate. There is a reason why Republicans ran “attack ads” in Iowa against Sanders that were carefully calibrated to increase his voter turnout. The reason is that Republicans would rather run against Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, because they know they can beat him. 70 percent of the country identifies as either Republican or Independent. 51 percent of Independents are unwilling to vote for “a socialist.” Sanders’ “political revolution” cannot even decisively win over the Democratic Party, so how will it win over the nation?

Hillary was the most travelled Secretary of State of all time, and helped rebuild relationships across the globe.

Most of us have grown up with President Barack Obama. We saw 16 million people gain health insurance and a 35 percent drop in the uninsured rate thanks to the Affordable Care Act. We saw the restoration of America’s reputation abroad. We reached out to Iran for the first time in decades and negotiated a nuclear deal to build a safer world. These accomplishments are not just President Obama’s, but Hillary’s as well. Hillary’s dedication to universal health coverage in the 1990s, back when it was called “Hillarycare,” set the stage for the Affordable Care Act in 2009. Hillary was the most travelled Secretary of State of all time, and helped rebuild relationships across the globe. The Iran Deal required vigorous groundwork which Hillary laid during her tenure as Secretary of State. She advocated for the sanctions that ultimately brought Iran to the negotiating table.

Hillary has gotten things done time and time again, and if you want to secure President Obama’s legacy, you should vote for a candidate he trusted enough to conduct his foreign policy. It’s pretty simple: if President Obama was change we can believe in, Hillary is change we can rely on.

During her time in the Senate, Hillary’s voting record was more liberal than 70 percent of Democrats, including President Obama. Hillary is not only a pragmatic candidate; she is a true progressive.

Furthermore, there seems to be a widespread misperception that Hillary Clinton is “basically a Republican,” and this is simply not true. During her time in the Senate, Hillary’s voting record was more liberal than 70 percent of Democrats, including President Obama. Hillary is not only a pragmatic candidate; she is a true progressive. No Republican in the race has suggested imposing a “risk fee” on Wall Street banks that is designed to punish the acquisition of risky, short-term forms of debt that caused the 2008 financial crisis. No Republican in the race is calling for increasing the federal minimum wage, no Republican is calling for federal background checks for gun purchases and no Republican is defending women’s abortion rights. A vote for Hillary does not at all mean that you are sacrificing your progressive goals; it means you are voting for the candidate who is most likely to make those goals materialize.

Income inequality is an incredibly important issue, and we are glad that Bernie Sanders’ campaign has brought it into the spotlight. But we believe not just that Hillary will be a progressive champion of that cause, but that she will be a progressive champion of all causes. Hillary is not a single-issue candidate, because this is not a single-issue country. That’s why on March 1, we will be voting for Hillary Clinton.

Email the authors at [email protected] ,[email protected], and [email protected]

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  • Sahil Mehrotra, Kathleen Bryant, and Greg Akerman

  • RumiThought

    The problem is, people are going for Sanders because he is the fresh break from the establisment that many dem voters have been waiting for. If Clinton gets the dem nom, I just dont think these voters will care who wins, because they will see it as “business as usual”. Right or wrong, thats what is going to happen…fact. A vot for Clinton will help build trumps wall

  • Billy Samuels

    Thank you for this thoughtful article.
    Hillary ’16!

  • Mason’s State

    This seems to logically contradict itself: “There is a reason why the Republican National Committee sent out four e-mail blasts to reporters defending Sanders during the Charleston debate. There is a reason why Republicans ran “attack ads” in Iowa against Sanders that were carefully calibrated to increase his voter
    turnout.”

    So what you are saying is when they defend Sanders it is because they want him to win, but when they attack him, it is also because they secretly want him to win? This is confirmation bias at its worst. You are interpreting two polar opposite actions to mean the same thing without providing any explanation of how you know what is going on in the backrooms at the RNC.

    Is it not possible that they just attacked him in Iowa because he had a serious chance at winning the nomination? You claim that these attack ads were specifically designed to help his turnout, but you never provided any explanation of what the ads were, let alone how they would do that.

    You don’t really provide any evidence about why Hillary would be more electable, you just put forth these actions of the RNC and interpret them (despite one action being to defend sanders and another to attack him) as being part of some sort of plan to help him win. You have no evidence that the RNC ever actually had that goal, you only have your interpretation of their actions. Their actions could also be interpreted in other ways, and you don’t really explain why your interpretation is a reasonable one – frankly, it seems conspiratorial. And even if the RNC does think that Sanders is easier to beat, that does not mean that they are actually right in thinking that.

    You dismiss scientific polling so easily, but you have not actually explained WHY Hillary would be more electable. How do you dismiss that Rubio beats Hillary by 5% in an average of polls? How do you dismiss that Cruz and Hillary are tied, or that Kasich beats Hillary by over 7%?
    In contrast, Bernie is tied with Rubio, beats Cruz by 7, and beats Kasich. You mention these polls, but never explain why they should be so easily discarded.

    I know there is a word limit, but this article needs a lot more evidence and explanation.

    What makes Hillary more electable? Even if the RNC does think she is more electable (which I don’t think your article argues well for anyway) that does not mean that she actually is – they could be wrong. Scientific polling backs Sanders at this point as the more electable candidate, including the fact that Hillary has the second highest unworkability ratings of anybody in the race, only after Donald Trump. I’m not going to buy that Hillary is more electable just because you think that the RNC thinks she is. You could be wrong, and so could the RNC.

    • Mason’s State
    • Kathleen Bryant

      It is not unprecedented to try to swing the primary of an opposing party in order to deliberately run against an opponent that you know that you have a better chance of beating. Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill has openly admitted that this was her strategy to win her election against Todd Akin- and it worked. Here’s an article explaining what happened: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/08/todd-akin-missouri-claire-mccaskill-2012-121262_Page2.html#.VsyS0_krLIU

      Heres’s an article explaining what we meant about the Iowa advertisement. This article explains that the ad “was actually intended to improve [Sanders’ standing] by riling up liberals, for whom free college, a national single-payer insurance system, and taxes on Wall Street are reasons to vote for the 74-year old Democratic socialist.” The article also refers to the Claire McCaskill strategy that I mentioned earlier. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-01-26/republicans-run-ad-against-sanders-because-they-want-him-to-win

      Here’s an article that describes exactly how the RNC rose to Sanders’ defense when it came to Clinton’s statements on his single payer health care plan. Why would the national Republican party, which has voted more than 50 times to repeal the ACA and could not even support a single payer option within the ACA, try to defend Sanders in an argument for single payer health care? Because the RNC knows that they benefit from shoring up support for Sanders and attacking Hillary, even if they do not agree with Sanders on policy at all. http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-01-19/republican-operatives-are-trying-to-help-bernie-sanders

      We believe that polls “matching up” either democratic candidate against Republicans for the general election are unreliable right now because there is such a significant amount of time for the race to change on both sides between now and November. We think these polls are especially unreliable with it comes to Sanders, because the GOP has made no concerted, vigorous effort to discredit him and lambast his socialist message to the general public, which is what they would do (almost certainly successfully) if he were to win the nomination. Hillary has been attacked through millions of dollars in ad buys by the Republican establishment already, and yet she is still standing, with Iowa, Nevada, and soon-to-be South Carolina wins in her back pocket.

      • Andrew Kett

        How sadly misled you are. If Hillary does win the nomination, say hello to President Donald Trump or President Ted Cruz. If Bernie wins, hundreds of thousands of people who don’t usually vote will come out of the woodwork to vote for an honest and genuine candidate who actually believes what he is saying.

        • Kathleen Bryant

          The Sanders argument for electability is that a “political revolution” will take place. It hinges on, as you said, Bernie’s populist message resonating with people and causing those who generally don’t vote to turn out. In Nevada, a state that holds caucuses instead of primaries (Sanders should theoretically do better in caucus states because the caucus process is more appealing to those with more extreme views), a state in which Sanders outspent Hillary 3 to 1, a state in which Republican super PACs bought ads attacking Hillary, Hillary won. Hillary won convincingly. Let’s look at turnout: voter turnout in the Democratic caucuses dropped from 120,000 in 2008 to 80,000 in 2016. Where is the groundswell of support for Sanders? The “political revolution” does not begin with 33% less turnout.

          • Andrew Kett

            Because many American view Bernie as not electable. In 2008 at this point, many people believed that Obama was also not electable and look what happened. If he wins the nomination this will change as it did in 2008.

  • tombombadil

    The premise of this article is that Hilary Clinton is more electable than Bernie Sanders, yet, there is only a single paragraph that actually cites data or polling numbers in relation to electability. The rest of the article simply mentions high points from Clinton’s career, but fails to elucidate why these achievements make her more electable than Sanders.

    I would challenge the authors to put forward specific examples of the qualities Clinton possesses that make her more electable than Sanders. “Getting things done” alone does not a President make. In fact, James Buchanan, a man that many historians would regard as the most qualified president based on his professional life, was an abject failure as a chief executive. This is not to suggest that Hilary would be as such in the Oval Office, but a successful political record does not necessarily indicate success as a President. Nor does it exemplify electability. Barack Obama was a relative novice to politics when he became President only 7 years ago.

  • Andrew Kett

    How is Hillary more electable exactly? This is the same old tired establishment conventional wisdom at its worst. You disregard all of the polling unless it’s the push polling the HRC campaign is doing. This has been a horribly undemocratic campaign. First, the chair of the DNC Debbie Wasserman Schultz was the campaign co-chair of HRC’s 2008 presidential campaigns and now she is clearly leaning on the scales in favor of HRC. Plus we have the superdelegates, most of whom are also bought by wall street and multinational corporations, who could end up deciding the winner instead of the actual voters. HRC sends out these smear artists to push lies down the throats of low information voters, like having David Brock going out there claiming that Bernie hates black people, or that he said “english only” at the Nevada Caucus which is an outright lie. Hillary is in favor of the death penalty, in favor of continuing the failed war on drugs, will not do anything as President about campaign finance reform or criminal justice reform and her record communicates this to us very clearly. She is not a progressive. Let’s keep everything exactly the same 2016! No we need changes on climate regulations, wall street, campaign finance, and the criminal justice system NOW.

    • Kathleen Bryant

      We think that criticisms of the DNC are fair, but that has nothing to do with our argument that Hillary is more electable. Please check out our post on Facebook to check out the research we cite as to why General Election “match-up” polls are unreliable.

      Superdelegates historically end up voting in accordance with the majority of public opinion as the primary process progresses. Hillary lost superdelegates in ’08 to Obama as Obama gained traction, and if Bernie really had the decisive, unquestionable, majoritarian support that his supporters claim he does, there would be nothing stopping superdelegates from changing their minds to support him. The fact is, Hillary has won 1 of 3 early states, is on track to win South Carolina, and is on track to win the vast majority of Super Tuesday states. Her superdelegate support is not unearned, and her support by the public has been reflected in her victories.

      Hillary is not in favor of continuing the war on drugs. She has spoken out in no uncertain terms about ending the era of mass incarceration, reforming mandatory minimums, ending private prisons, and providing matching federal funds to make body cameras available to every police officer in the country. Hillary supports a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United, she wants to establish a small-donor matching system to amplify the voices of everyday Americans in politics, and she wants to end nondisclosure among dark money groups. As I said in the article, Hillary supports imposing a “risk fee” on Wall Street banks that is designed to punish the acquisition of risky, short-term forms of debt that caused the 2008 financial crisis. (And unlike Sanders, she did not vote for the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which prevented regulators from investigating the risky derivatives like credit default swaps that actually drove the sub-prime mortgage crisis.) Hillary is a progressive.