Why I’m Voting for Hillary Clinton

I’m sure anyone who hasn’t blocked me knows I’m voting for Hillary. This post is really for my own benefit, as I needed to spell out exactly why, if only for myself.

I was once a registered Republican. I still believe in fiscal responsibility and the power of healthy institutions: once hallmarks of the Republican Platform, now reduced to mere platitudes. Today’s GOP is in shambles: it is a federally protected, out-of-control propaganda machine that was easily subverted by a man who knows almost nothing about the world that props him up, beyond how to use the appearance of success to bluster his way into almost anything. The Republican Party, despite the best efforts of the few honorable men and women who still hold office with an R next to their name, has been infected by a destructive cynicism so great that it has no plan beyond a plan to undo anything its opposition attempts. It no longer even pretends to try to govern a majority of Americans. The unwillingness to hold a hearing for Merrick Garland, hardly a partisan pick, should be a clear enough sign to anyone who isn’t 100% Republican, no matter what that means.

And then, Hillary and the Democrats. It’d be dishonest for me to call myself anything but a capitol D Obama Democrat these days. That doesn’t mean I reject a lot of criticism. The Democrats have some of the same problems as the GOP. They’ve lost the ability to connect with the other side: especially rural voters. They “solve” problems for rural regions without including them. I can blame the GOP for this all I want, but at the end of the day, the Democrats still have to make their case to a majority of Americans, or they deserve no majority vote. Even when the Democratic Party supports policies that are friendly to rural, poor America, they do a poor job of reaching out to that group and giving them a more productive voice. They’re backed into a corner over the Affordable Care Act, and haven’t yet acknowledged enough of the problems that still need to be fixed. They too often play victim to the propaganda of the right, rather than working to counter it at the grass roots level. And the Democratic leadership takes advantage of the people who ARE working at the grass roots level. The loss of many Bernie Sanders voters to third parties has to be placed at the feet of the Party Leadership, who made a lot of poor campaign choices. They’re too quick to blame honest criticism of their policies on bigotry or ignorance, effectively invalidating the feelings of millions of rural Americans: they very thing they accuse their opposition of doing.

And then Hillary. The opposition has had years to make their case against her, and boy have they. She’s effective and ambitious, and she really wants the job. She already has power, she already has money, so at the end of the day, I have to believe she wants it because she believes she’s right for the job. She could certainly do a lot of other things that would mean going through a lot less hell.

There are a lot of criticisms of her. Some of them are spot on: her international hawkishness is extremely concerning (though still less concerning than Trump’s hawkishness-without-the-benefit-of-knowledge). Her willingness to cut legal corners in pursuit of her goals, and her willingness to compromise on parts of her platform to secure others. Some of them are incredibly sexist. Some of them are subtlety sexist: as narrow as the road we demand our female politicians walk is today, it was a lot more narrow in the 80s and 90s, which Hillary was politically active. We have evolved since then and SHE has evolved since then. As election day nears, all stops are being pulled out. FBI agents acting out of individual interest are intentionally timing leaks to hurt her chances. Even so, if those leaks were substantial, I’d be happy to consider them. So far, they’re not, by any neutral reading of them. They all hint at things the reinforce whatever you already believe. After years of the most powerful men and women of this country working to take Hillary down, -nothing- has stuck. Either she’s the most incredibly effective mastermind this country has ever seen, or most of the accusations are exactly what Benghazi turned out to be: hyperbole or bunk.

I don’t have an answer to the person who truly thinks she’s evil. You presumably think I’m either too lost, too misguided, too naive, too stupid, or too corrupt to have read this far. But even if you believe many of the claims against her: almost every one is doubly true about the man who will take office if she loses. If Hillary loses, Trump wins. If you’re like the Green Party’s climate agenda: You’re screwed. If you like the Libertarian Party’s social agenda: you’re screwed. If you like anything Obama has supported, you’re definitely screwed. If you’re white and straight and middle class, you’ll probably do alright in the short term. Economic decline and a lack of interest in repairing social problems will take longer to affect you than most others. A large part of the economic and social progress of the last eight years will be undone: not fixed, not extended to more people, not balanced with pragmatism: just undone. But you’ll be okay, for a bit.

2008 isn’t a place I want to go back to. I don’t want to go back at all. I want to go forward. Hillary’s my best shot at that. Trump is everyone’s worst shot for almost anything.