America is an exceptional nation. I don’t mean that in the sense of someone preparing to launch into a tirade about how God has chosen the United States to be a divine instrument on Earth, but rather I mean it in a much more mundane sense.
America’s political development has been gradual and uneven, with plenty of pitfalls and setbacks, but it has shown how steady, moderate leadership is capable of making America more fair for more people while maintaining American leadership in the global community.
For the Democratic Party in the 2016 presidential election, I believe Hillary Clinton is the person most capable of preserving and building upon President Obama’s legacy of leadership and progress.
For Democrats across the country
This is a delicate time for the Democratic Party. The Democratic majorities in state legislatures across the country were decimated after the 2010 election. This is no time for a less experienced outsider who has made a point of mocking and avoiding a Democratic Party that would depend on his leadership. And because the Republican Party won so many legislatures at the same time that congressional redistricting was coming due, they have a locked-in advantage until the next redistricting cycle in 2020.
In the existing and unfortunate configuration of American politics, where campaigns are as much about fundraising as persuasion, no candidate is better equipped to help progressive candidates raise the money they need to win than Hillary Clinton. When Sen. Bernie Sanders suggested that, “Any Supreme Court nominee of mine will make overturning Citizens United one of their first decisions,” it belied an immature and incomplete understanding of how the American judicial system works. Sanders cannot simply request the court reverse itself on Citizens United, because that is not how our system works (regardless of how much one might wish it to be).
For leadership on a global level
As an American who lived overseas from 2011 to 2015, and now as a graduate student in international relations, no issue is more important to me than preserving the leading position of democracies as guarantors of stability in the international system.
“Hillary Clinton calls for Medicaid expansion at Tulsa rally” by William W. Savage III
The crisis in Ukraine should have taught us that this is no time for a diminished role of American leadership. Indeed, we must be prepared to exercise the full portfolio of American power to maintain the existing international order of laws and norms that preserve peace. We cannot preserve peace — and we cannot prevent war — by electing a president whose foreign policy envisions a diminished role for America on the world stage. Conversely, we cannot risk our future by electing a president who would have us bomb the Middle East until the region glows with nuclear fallout, à la Ted Cruz.
Hillary Clinton’s term as Secretary of State showed that she has the right balance to be tough and smart. To rebuild alliances after the disastrous Bush years, she flew nearly 1 million miles during her four-year tenure. The progress she made was critical to ensuring the success of the nuclear agreement with Iran and the development of a new policy toward Asia that recognizes China’s inevitable growth as an economic and political power.
‘If we seek a perfect candidate, we are asking to be deceived’
No candidate is without faults, and there are no doubts that both President and Secretary Clinton are flawed individuals. But, as The West Wing reminds us, if we seek a perfect candidate, we are asking to be deceived.
Sen. Sanders, for all the bluster of his campaign and his supporters about not being a politician … is a politician. If Democrats are willing to trick themselves into thinking Sanders isn’t a politician, and that his so-called revolution will march to Washington on the hopes of the masses, we are setting ourselves up for the same disappointment the political right feels about conservative presidential candidates who promise to end a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. For that reason, I am glad Hillary Clinton has not promised the moon to her supporters. She has made reasonable, achievable policy commitments that will make America more fair for more people.
The world finds itself in a state of systemic flux as we continue to deal with the after-effects of the Eurozone crisis, the Arab Spring, and the Great Recession. No candidate on either side is more well-prepared to manage this flux and ensure America’s position in the world than Hillary Clinton. For that reason alone, I will proudly cast my vote for her on March 1, and in November.
(Editor’s Note: Between now and Oklahoma’s March 1 presidential primary vote, NonDoc is accepting commentaries from likely voters about why they support a certain candidate. Two caveats: Campaign representatives are barred from submitting articles, and we will run a maximum of two commentaries supporting any one candidate. Email email@example.com for details.)