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Posted by on Dec 2, 2015 in 2016 Elections, 2016 Presidential Election, Politics, Scandals | 22 comments

The Dangers Of Nominating Hillary Clinton To Liberal Principles & The Democratic Brand


An article at Salon entitled More like Reagan than FDR: I’m a millennial and I’ll never vote for Hillary Clinton is receiving considerable attention for providing reasons why the author would not vote for Hillary Clinton. Walker Bragman began by suggesting that the usual course would be to utilize primaries to try to select the candidate most aligned with the change he wants, and then vote for the lesser of two evils in the general election if it came to this. He argues that this strategy doesn’t apply this year due to the manner in which the DNC is resisting the possibility of selecting a change candidate in rigging the rules for Clinton.

Bragman then went through the arguments as to why he does not want to vote for Clinton. I would recommend reading his actual post as, while I am outlining his arguments, his actual post has many details and links which are worth reading. He started with Hillary’s personality repels me (and many others). The section would be better labeled with her character as opposed to personality, as it deals with her dishonesty and double talk.

The next section is more accurately labeled with On foreign policy, Clinton is a neoconservative. This section primarily deals with her approach to handling ISIS, and I would add more regarding her neoconservative views on Iraq and Libya.

The next section is On domestic policy, Clinton is basically a moderate Republican. Many examples are listed to back this up, concentrating on economic policy. I would have included her conservative views on civil liberties and social/cultural issues. Of course an article would have to be quite long to include all the reasons why liberals should not vote for Clinton–and I have pointed out other posts elsewhere along these lines in the past.

The final section is Choosing Hillary threatens the future of the Democratic Party. The section notes the conservative background of New Democrats such as Bill Clinton. I would also take this a step further. Hillary Clinton supports many ideas which Democrats would never accept from a Republican, but many Democrats defend when it comes from Clinton. Similarly, Democrats would be very skeptical of a Republican who received such large contributions from Wall Street, or who benefited financially from parties they were making decisions about. Yet many Democrats ignore unethical conduct from Clinton they would never accept from a Republican. Maybe this wouldn’t hurt the future of the Democratic Party, but it would leave us with a Democratic Party which stands for even less than the party now stands for. That threaten the future of the nation.

The article gives many excellent reasons to vote for Sanders over Clinton in the primaries, along with reasons to be upset if the system gives the nomination to Clinton without a fair fight. However, should Clinton win the nomination, it does not address the fact that the Republican candidate will be even more conservative than Clinton on some issues. While Clinton is more like Reagan than FDR, and is in many ways a combination of George W. Bush and Richard Nixon, the Republican Party has moved much further to the right in recent years.

This leaves the question as to whether it will matter if Clinton or a Republican wins–which is more difficult to say without knowing which Republican will be the GOP nominee. It is definitely possible that there will be no meaningful difference with regards to foreign policy and civil liberties issues if Clinton or a Republican wins. There is the danger that the next president will be hostile to government transparency, and nobody has reached the level of the Clinton corruption in using the office of the presidency to enhance their personal worth. We will probably see a continuation of the surveillance state and of the drug war regardless of whether Clinton or a Republican wins.

The biggest danger in a Clinton presidency would be that many Democrats will support conservative policies, leaving a weak liberal opposition to her policies, while there would be greater unity in opposing what might even be the exact same policies coming from Republicans. The question is not, as many put it, whether Clinton is more liberal than the Republicans, but whether the country will be dragged more to the right by a Republican president (facing more unified Democratic opposition) versus by Clinton compromising liberal principles, with many Democrats going along. Another issue posed by Walker, when I discussed the article with him after I posted the first version of this at Liberal Values was, “… I do acknowledge that Hillary would be better than a Republican—I just think the damage she will do to the Democratic brand outweighs this consideration. He has a legitimate concern that Clinton’s unethical behavior could taint the entire Democratic Party for years to come, ultimately strengthening the Republican Party and making it more difficult for Democrats to be elected in the future. A Clinton presidency does run the risk of putting the Democrats in the position that the Republicans were in after Watergate, although the Republicans did not take long to overcome that. 

The biggest upside to Clinton winning over the Republicans might be that, after campaigning as a progressive for the nomination, she will continue to govern as one. At very least Clinton would support a handful of liberal positions such as reproductive rights if elected. While this would be favorable, it is hardly enough to be happy with the prospect of her election considering her many conservative views. Unfortunately we have already seen her swing to the right on some issues in the past month, and she has shown throughout her career that she cannot be trusted to stand up for liberal ideas when they conflict with political expediency. Plus many of the differences we now see between the campaign pitches of Clinton and the GOP candidates are far less differences on the issues and more a matter of which party’s voters they are currently trying to attract.

The biggest differences could be the veto pen and the Supreme Court. There is now the possibility of a bill reaching Obama’s desk to repeal Obamacare from the Republican Congress–and we can be certain it will not be replaced with a single payer system. If this happens, Obama will veto it. Clinton would also veto it, along with other conceivable damaging legislation the Republicans might get through Congress. Clinton would also choose Supreme Court justices from a far different pool than any Republican president would, and it is possible they would be more conventional Democrats as opposed to ones as conservative as she is.

I don’t mean this to argue either way as to whether Sanders supporters should vote for Clinton or write in Sanders should Clinton win the Democratic nomination. This is a personal decision for each voter, and it is far too early to argue over this, especially considering that we don’t know who will win either party’s nomination at this point. It is also way too early, and far too annoying, for Clinton supporters to constantly interrupt discussion among Sanders or O’Malley supporters on Facebook, and elsewhere in social media, to ask if they will vote for Clinton in the general election. It certainly shows a degree of insecurity about their candidate that they are so fearful that many Democrats will not turn out to vote for their candidate in the general election.

Not living in a battle ground state also makes it far easier for me to consider what would amount to a protest vote should Clinton win the nomination, while I might vote differently if I anticipated a situation like Florida in 2000. There are also major differences in comparing the situation with Nader and Gore in 2000. Gore was not as conservative as Clinton, and he does not carry her negative baggage.  It was unfortunate that Bush and not Gore won due to their different views on foreign policy, leading to the Iraq war. In this case, Clinton shares the neoconservative views which we would have been better off keeping out of office in 2000. Plus Gore is not likely to have tainted the Democratic brand based upon unethical conduct as a Clinton presidency risks doing.

As many liberal voters will never vote for Hillary Clinton under any circumstance, there could be an upside to them turning out to write in Sanders (or vote third party) for president as opposed to staying home. I fear that having Clinton on top of the ticket will depress the Democratic vote, harming those running down ticket. If instead of staying home voters write in Sanders, they might then vote for Democrats running for Congress and other positions. Rather than writing in Sanders, as many now say they will do, I would first take a closer look at the Green Party, feeling that this might help build a more long term opposition force from the left than writing in Sanders would. This is about policy positions and principles, not personalities.

Updated from a post at Liberal Values

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  • IndyGuy

    So let me get this straight (I’m not a fan of HIllary)…hard-core liberals will sit at home on election day to protest her as the nominee. So then the GOP wins and in a year or two the new president will more than likely vote 2-3 new SCOTUS justices. If that happens then liberalism will take a huge nose dive as the court will shred many liberal accomplishments. Of course they will cry and ask why…failing to realize that by staying home they have now put liberalism in jeopardy!

    I do not understand this logic at all!

    • roseyrey

      Me neither. I am a fan of Hillary, but I also like almost everything about Bernie. Except his fanboys.

    • “So let me get this straight (I’m not a fan of HIllary)…hard-core
      liberals will sit at home on election day to protest her as the nominee.:

      No, you didn’t get this straight. That is not what this post is saying. The post also points out the problem of Republicans appointing the next Supreme Court justices.

  • dduck12

    Depending on the Rep candidate in the general, I can see some moderate Reps voting for Hillary (including me). I’m sorry about the SC situation, no matter which party wins, and wish there were a better way to elect new judges, but I HOPE HC will choose more balanced picks. Meantime, I would probably vote Rep on the rest of the ticket.

    • It only makes sense that some Republicans will vote for Clinton as her views are far more Republican than Democratic–even if a more moderate Republican than those who could get the nomination this year.

      Other Republicans who are more fed up with the system are now supporting Sanders.

      Personally, as I noted in the post, I’d prefer Clinton’s Supreme Court picks over any which would come from a Republican. Plus with Clinton picking among Democratic judges, I’m hoping that her picks will turn out to be more mainstream Democrats and not as conservative as she is.

      • kritt11

        Is she against gay marriage? Against gun control? Pro-life? For tax cuts for the 1% ? Does she favor treating refugees like rabid dogs? Is she anti- union? Anti teacher? Will she abolish the Dept of Education, or HUD or DOE or the EPA? Does she believe in global warming? You are kidding yourself Ron-

        • She was against gay marriage until quite recently. She has been all over the place on gun control.

          Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has already pointed out that it doesn’t matter if Clinton or Bush were to win with regards to being beholden to Wall Street.

          There is no doubt that she is better than the current Republicans, but not by all that much. Just in the past month she has been quoting debunked arguments from the WSJ against single payer plans. She is a neocon on foreign policy. There is little if any difference between Clinton and the Republican on government surveillance, civil liberties, and government transparency. Some Republicans have moved to the left of Clinton on the drug war. She joined up with The Fellowship while in the Senate to push a conservative social agenda. It is good that unlike Republicans she does not deny global warming, but her actual environmental policies are not all that different from the Republicans and would not do anything to help with global warming.

          Clinton was hardly all that much better than the Republicans when she supported making flag burning a felony, censoring video games, parental notification laws, the Patriot Act, the discriminatory Workplace Religious Freedom Act, her belief in religion intruding in the schools and hostility towards the principle of separation of church and state, opposition to needle exchange programs, her hard line on the drug war, hostility to government transparency, unethical conduct as Secretary of State, & pushing for the Iraq war based upon clearly false claims of a connection between Saddam and al Qaeda.

          • kritt11

            So were many Democrats. Even Obama was against it until ’12. And you have to compare that with the absolute opposition among Republicans. We have all evolved on the left since the 90’s

  • kritt11

    So what if all the liberals sit home nursing their grudges, and we get somebody in office like Ted Cruz or Donald Trump? The conventional wisdom that this could never happen in America has been turned on its ear. All it would take is for a good chunk of Democrats to just stay home

    • I fear a large number of Democrats will stay home if Clinton is the nominee. She does poorly with independents and in the battleground states, as well as with liberals.

      It is not a matter of nursing their grudges. Walker (the author of the article I was writing about) did make a valid point in my discussion of the article with him that a Clinton presidency could to tremendous harm to the Democratic brand. There is also concern on the left that a right wing Democratic administration under Clinton will leave no opposition to moving to the right, while Democrats would be more united in opposing comparable policies from a Republican.

      While these are valid concerns, I did point out that contrary issues of the Supreme Court, as well as having a veto pen in Democratic hands if the Republicans get things like repealing Obamacare through Congress (which now looks like a real possibility).

      Plus casting protest votes against Clinton (as opposed to staying home) does nothing to help a Ted Cruz or Donald Trump if limited to non-battle ground states, which many are considering. Plus if those who absolutely will not vote for Clinton turn out to cast protest votes, at least they will be present to cast votes for other Democratic candidates. I fear that Clinton heading the ticket will be harmful to downticket Democrats and I’d rather see those opposed to Clinton cast a protest vote for president and vote for Democrats for Congress as opposed to staying home.

      • kritt11

        Ok I totally disagree- Moderates and independents will be voting Clinton. Just look at Duck- he’s no Democrat.

        • Certainly some moderates and independents will vote for Clinton, but overall she polls quite poorly among independents.

        • dduck12

          Depends on the Rep. Too early for this conversation.

          • kritt11

            But at least you are considering it- if someone totally insane gets the GOP nomination

          • dduck12

            Cruz, definitely, Trump, Christie or Carson also. Rubio, Fiorina, I don’t know yet.

          • You win the prize for noting it is actually too early for this conversation, or related conversations. As I pointed out in the post, it is far too early to argue over any of this, including what liberals will do if Clinton wins the nomination. This was partially click bait to bring back readers after a long holiday weekend. It worked well with over 6000 Facebook likes so far for the original post at Liberal Values.

            Plus, while it is too early to worry about how to vote if Clinton wins the nomination, Walker did have a number of good points as to why it would be a bad thing. Pointing out the downsides to nominating Clinton is what really matters at this point in the election cycle.

  • epiphyte

    Hillary _is_ the Republican candidate (from 1985… the official Republican party ain’t what it used to be.)

    Saunders is the Democrat.

    Trump? …We all know, deep in our bones, what he is.

    He’s the guy that ends up in charge when oligarchs rouse a rabble, and then lose control of it. Hasn’t happened in living memory. At least, not unless you’re old enough to remember Germany in 1934.

    • kritt11

      Except that Reagan was against gay rights, refused to speak out about AIDS until it was a full-blown epidemic and supported apartheid in South Africa. He also ridiculed the “Welfare queens” and was anti-union- and anti energy conservation- so no. You might be able to make the case that she’s as conservative as the GOP from the 70’s

      • epiphyte

        It’s an exercise in tortured logic to draw a draw a distinction between Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians in the west bank and Gaza and apartheid – but Clinton seems to manage it without difficulty.
        Clinton was full-speed-ahead on the TPP trade deal until she backed off (for now) when it wasn’t polling well, that’s not exactly union-friendly.
        And on energy – do you really think that given what we know now about climate change, a position of “I don’t actively oppose doing something about it” is the one we want the chief executive of the planet’s biggest contributor to global warming to hold?

    • That’s what a DLC Democrat is–a Reagan Republican who is slightly less conservative.

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