Now, About That Presidential Primary

I’m gonna start by linking to John Scalzi’s post on this, because it does a much better job than I will of covering the same ground.

Everyone who talks to me, friends me on Facebook, or follows me on Twitter knows that I am a feminist…liberal…socialist…all that. Nonetheless, I didn’t support the most liberal candidate for the Democratic nomination, for reasons that evolved but didn’t completely change over the months.

Hillary Clinton…where to start? I love her. I really do. If you’re one of those on the right OR left (okay, only two people on the right actually read my stuff) who think she’s a shapeshifting corrupt career criminal, you’re probably perplexed by this. You may even think I’m willfully ignoring evidence. On the other hand, if you know me, you know better than that. My point is that I have never SEEN any convincing evidence of the criminality or corruption you speak of, while I have, for decades, watched this amazing woman keep trudging forward, fighting her way to what she wants, and succeeding every step of the way. She inspires me. She makes my daughter proud. I got chills both times I voted for her in a primary election.

Also, when I vote, I don’t just vote based on my own personal political views. That is foremost, don’t get me wrong, but I also gauge the candidates in other ways. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are virtually identical in their positions. Her approach has been more incrementalist, more cautious, more quiet, more diplomatic. More political. And when I vote for a President, I want a politician. I don’t WANT an outsider. I want the person who is good at the job of being a politician. She’s simply better at that job than Bernie is.

The fact that Hillary is an excellent politician is part of why people hate her. (Though her being female is a bigger part – I am unwilling to discuss her “likability” in the absence of a discussion of misogyny and double standards for behavior.) She makes deals. She compromises. She seems like the sort of person who will mess you up in public if you cross her. She seems like most male politicians. She seems like she’d be really good at the job.

It’s okay with me if you don’t want that in your leaders. That’s cool. My point is that I sort of do. I want to know that she’s willing to compromise. That she’s willing to not get what she wants now in order to get more of what she wants later. That she’s okay with people not liking her, honestly.

I don’t think she’s remotely corrupt. Or a criminal. She’s also not a pure, perfect angel. She doesn’t have to be.

I will also admit this: when two candidates are in other ways equivalent, I will vote for the woman. Every single time.

The other reason, here at the end of the primary season, that I have bad feelings about Bernie is this: he bills himself as “different”, more honest, the only candidate who has never changed his views, never had to evolve to a new perspective.

For a start, I don’t give out bonus points for longevity of rightness. If I agree with you now, and your opinions seem sincere, I don’t care when you came to your senses. So I never really cared on that front.

But on another front: the second Bernie started winning things occasionally, he suddenly became…less honest. I said this months ago – he repeats the same tired old lies about Hillary. He insinuates that the mere fact that she gave a paid speech to a Wall Street company means she’s corrupt. (That’s not evidence, that’s just wild speculation.)

Also, the tone of a campaign comes from the top down. Like it or not. And early on, I started to notice that the tone of a lot (not remotely all, but a LOT) of Bernie supporters was very much like that of Trump supporters. And the idea that you’re losing due to some vast conspiracy against you? Whatever, dudebros.

Last night, Hillary mentioned Bernie in her speech. Her audience cheered.

Bernie mentioned Hillary in his speech. His audience booed. Yes, I do hold him at least partially responsible for this.

And then there’s the last month of his campaign. EVERYONE in his camp (and in the math-using world) knew he had no shot. He and his surrogates had been saying how undemocratic superdelegates are…for months. But suddenly, that’s his plan. To flip superdelegates and win an election where you don’t have a majority of, well, anything. Not votes, not states won, not pledged delegates. But he gave that plan to his supporters, and a large subset of them bought into it. It’s a lie, people. A big one. And he told it for weeks.

Last night he was more measured. He knows he can’t win. No chance. But he was not gracious. He was not kind. He could not be bothered to acknowledge the momentous thing that Hillary had achieved. Yeah, I don’t like it. I don’t trust him. I think his ego is in the driver’s seat. Not sure it started out that way, but that’s how it reads now.

So…I was thrilled to be a California voter last night. Because, for once, we mattered. We got to say, “No, sorry, the election is over now.” Our votes gave her the majority of the popular vote she needed to claim a mandate of the party’s primary electorate. We handed Hillary Clinton the first ever nomination of a woman to the top spot on a major party ticket. And for this, I am proud.

And her victory speech? Kicked ass.

 

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