I actually want Hillary Clinton to be President of the United States.
There. I said it.
It’s not just that she isn’t Trump.
The vast majority of media coverage over the last few months has focused overwhelmingly on how awful Trump is, and I’m not arguing. He’s a brute. But the truth is that a lot of his supporters love that about him.
They want somebody brimming with rough-hewn audacity who’s iconoclastic and confidant. They want somebody who isn’t easily intimidated. Who’s willing to confront the entrenched power brokers who run DC head on.
Trump’s supporters are angry and resentful at global capitalism, and they hate the New World Order that’s replaced the cultural homogeneity and decent union jobs they once had with graveyard shifts at Walmart and a terrifying influx of foreigners from countries they’ve never heard of.
On top of it all, they hate condescending rich people who feel entitled to police their speech, and their heart goes out to anybody willing to risk public shaming to give voice to the taboo inner workings of white America’s collective subconscious.
It’s a shame how much of Clinton’s campaign has come across as precisely that kind of finger wagging. Time and again, to the perpetual consternation of Liberal America, condemning Trump for being offensive has only brought more people to his side. Far from hurting his reputation, this Liberal disgust directed at Trump has frequently made him look like a rebel. A bad boy. His supporters love that.
It’s especially frustrating because there are actual issues here. I wish more Clinton supporters would have spoken about them. Personally, I’m not just voting against Trump. I’m actually voting for Clinton and her platform, or at least a lot of it.
Don’t get me wrong.
I’m appalled by a lot of the foreign policy that Clinton’s gotten behind over the last few decades. I don’t trust that she’ll seriously go after the kind of strict financial regulations that we need to reel in Wall Street. We’ve got to move off of petroleum as quickly as possible, and I doubt she will.
But short of revolution, electing Clinton is the only feasible, half decent option on the table right now. Here are five reasons that I feel good about having gone into City Hall last week and cast my vote for her:
1. She believes in the separation between Church and State
Clinton’s an educated liberal from Chicago, and she’s never been a bible thumper. I can’t imagine she ever fit in particularly well in the Arkansas megachurches that Bill moved through so fluidly. She’s pro-choice and pro-pluralism. While she may have been frustratingly cautious about coming out in support of same sex marriage, these days, she advocates strongly for LGBTQ rights, and she’ll appoint judges who share these values.
2. She’ll help immigrants move out of the shadows
When Clinton was in the Senate, she co-sponsored the Dream Act, which made significant strides toward enabling immigrant students to access higher education. In recent years, she’s consistently stood behind Obama’s efforts toward immigration reform, facing down a wildly xenophobic Republican Party to work toward securing fundamental human rights for everybody living in this country, regardless of where they were born or which documents they have.
Most importantly, Clinton sets a positive tone in her rhetoric, praising the contributions that immigrants make to our society and cultivating a spirit of decency and respect for all. As a person living in a multi-ethnic home, this matters to me a lot. Even if we don’t always act on it perfectly, I still think it’s vitally important that we live in a country where the leaders talk about newcomers to our nation the way that Clinton does.
3. She’s serious about moving from coal to alternative energy
Living in Maine, one story that we haven’t heard that much of is the massive push back that Clinton has received in places like West Virginia for making it clear that she plans to continue the shut down of American coal mining, a notoriously toxic and environmentally destructive industry. I could be wrong, but her plan here doesn’t sound like lip service to me – it sounds like risking a lot of votes to take a principled stand for environmental sustainability.
Cutting carbon emissions and transitioning the United States to a more sustainable energy system is a massive undertaking that will require innovation, coordination, courage and dedication to see through to fruition. From solar to wind to taxation and regulation strategies, there’s an enormous amount of work to do, and Clinton has more high level experience navigating bureaucracy and moving hard hitting policy forward than anybody. Personally, I’m really excited to see what she’ll be able to accomplish.
4. She’ll reform America’s barbaric system of incarceration
As things stand today, the United States incarcerates more people per capita than any other country in the world. While the United States represents only about 4.4 percent of the world’s population, it houses around 22% of the world’s prisoners. If there’s going to be justice in this country, we’ve got to lower these numbers.
Clinton has some great ideas for doing so. She’s advocated strongly for ending private prisons, refusing to accept any contributions to her campaign from private prison companies. She believes felons should be allowed to vote, a right that Maine is currently one of the only states in the country to protect. She’s pro-decriminalization of marijuana. She wants to allocate $5 billion for re-entry job programs, so convicted felons stand a chance of re-integrating into society after they get out of prison and don’t just fall back into a life of crime.
If Clinton is elected, I think it’s highly likely that, four years from now, substantially fewer Americans will be in prison. That really excites me.
5. She’s a level-headed person of profound intelligence
For the last six months, Clinton has endured countless millions of Americans viciously trolling her. I find it annoying when somebody posts a single nasty comment on one of my essays. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to know that there were tens of thousands of signs up in yards across the country saying I should go to prison. The fact that she can keep her cool through all of this is beyond inspiring.
I’ve worked for a few different companies that have given me a work email address, but I’ve always held onto my personal gmail address. As far as I know, everybody does that. It’s easy to see how a person could accidentally do something wrong and send a significant work message through their personal account. I know I’ve certainly come close. But when the FBI thoroughly investigated tens of thousands of Clinton’s emails, they found that she never did. It’s maddening that the story didn’t just end there. I mean, who cares?
By all accounts, Clinton is one of the most competent leaders in DC, a city that attracts the most competent people from around the country, if not the world. She’s a brilliant lawyer, respected by presidents, generals and colleagues alike.
The news media is always full of scandals and moralistic sensationalism, but what’s almost always missing is a sense of the day to day tedious grind of government. Most situations that politicians face are neither sensational nor morally simplistic – what they are is difficult. They require patience, critical thinking and team work to persevere through and solve. Clinton is a master of those things.
Other situations are easy. Like deciding who to vote for on Tuesday for President of the United States.
It took me a while to be ready, but I’m now with her. I hope you are too. She might just turn out to be a pretty good president after all.