Why I will Caucus for Hillary

The Washington state caucus takes place in a couple of weeks and I was thinking about what I would say if I was called upon to speak. This isn't so far fetched- A caucus is not so much a horse-race election as a meeting held to decide the party's candidate. I went to the Democratic caucus eight years ago and people were invited to state why they were choosing their candidate in hopes of swaying undecided people to their side. Hardly anyone said anything, including me, as I couldn't think of anything to say eloquently on the spot.  This year has gotten a little more exciting than normal, so I am not sure how the caucus will go this time; it's hard to imagine many people having time to speak, but I wanted to be ready. This year I will be caucusing for Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton Speech
I took this screenshot from hillaryclinton.com - I hope she doesn't mind.
I was thinking about what I would say if people were called upon to speak again, and after thinking about it for a while, I decided I would write it down here since I will probably never get to fully express it anywhere else.

First, let me acknowledge that Bernie Sanders is genuinely exciting. I can see why people are fired up about him. He speaks truth to power. He says what he thinks, he goes up against big money and he acts like everyone's favorite crusty uncle. If you, like me, have been waiting on the edge of your seat for Season 9 of Curb Your Enthusiasm, you got it with Sanders. 

Bernie Sanders telling it like it is. (from the Sanders campaign media kit)

More importantly, he's clearly and loudly touching on topics - like healthcare funding, higher education accessibility, and Wall Street corruption - that are important to people in a real, visceral way. I really hope when all is said and done, these topics aren't swept under the rug. 

Secretary Clinton has a proven track record in working for middle class and poor families, but I acknowledge her approach is more mainstream, more compromising, and not as exciting to watch on TV. Sanders is an energizing combination of the class president and the class clown, and even though I'm caucusing for his opponent and I truly believe she's the better option, I am cheering him on as well.

But if Sanders is the class president, Clinton is the school principal. She doesn't flinch when everyone else is clowning. She has a proven track record and a resume that just blows Sanders out of the water. She's been involved in the law and politics for five decades. She's been the First Lady of Arkansas as well as the United States. She's the whole package; she knows which fork to use and she still cares about the people who made the fork and the people who run the fork through the dishwasher at the end of the night. 

More importantly, Clinton has been a practicing attorney, an activist for women and families, a political operative, a Senator, and Secretary of State. She's been through the Republican wringer so many times she wore out its gears. A whole new crop of Republicans are in power now, and yet she's still standing and still smiling. She's worked with leaders on both sides of the aisle, she has connections in the business world, and she's worked effectively in the international community as Secretary of State. She's been through both professional and personal highs and lows on a very public stage and we have seen her survive and thrive under pressure. 

Sanders is an energizing speaker and an admirable dreamer. Clinton is an accomplished pragmatist. She knows that lasting change is only effected through compromise. She's a more competent and more proven leader than Sanders or anyone else in the field. Narrowing the scope to our purpose in the caucus, she's also a more viable candidate. 

We have to keep perspective on what we are doing in this caucus. Seattle is a liberal bubble and a lot of people are supporting Sanders, and with some really good reasons. But we're not electing the next president this month, and unless your name is Bernie Sanders, now is not the time to make a leftist statement.

If you want to live in Sanders's dream world, you're not the only one at the Democratic caucus that feels this way, but you will find that you're in the minority in the fall. Bernie's unrepentant socialist stance is already being torn apart on social media by conservatives, and it will not stand up to scrutiny by mainstream voters on either side. You and I both know what Sanders is going for when he says the communist regime in Cuba has done some good things, but the Republicans can use those old videos to rake him over the coals with mainstream America. 

Furthermore, Sanders has been doing this shtick for decades with little effect. Wall Street just gets more rich and powerful while middle class Americans go broke paying medical bills and teenagers who've never had so much as $500 in a checking account are able to sign their lives away in student loans. Sanders seems authentic in his beliefs; he has consistently espoused the same things for decades. He has always been a leftist iconoclast from a small state who is happy enough carving out his own career and his own message. He wasn't even willing to move right to join the Democratic party until he decided to run for President under its banner. He certainly won't be able to stand up on a wider playing field come fall. 

Sanders speaks truth to power, but we need a candidate who can speak the language of power, and that's Hillary Clinton. Everyone laughs at the class clown and looks up to the class president, but it's the principal who really rules the school.

Now is the time to use your vote and your voice practically and effectively. Make your caucus decision with an eye toward the long game. Clinton is the better choice to be President, and she's also the better choice to go up against a Republican in the fall. 

Every Presidential election, we give serious sideeye to the opponent, joking and sharing concerns, but this year is scarier than most. The Republican establishment seems to have lost control of its own party and a vocal minority within the party are barreling toward nominating a narcissistic demagogue who is promising some really scary stuff. Even if Trump doesn't get the nomination, he's opened Pandora's box in a way that no one has done on that side in a while. The others really aren't much better. I know we all have a sick feeling in our stomachs when we think about any of the leading Republicans actually becoming President, but we also know that strange things happen in the voting booth and nothing is impossible. We need to defeat the extremist Republicans. Additionally, moderate Republicans are not being represented in their process, and we need a candidate who can swing them over to the Democratic side.  

We need to nominate a candidate who can stand up to Republican attacks, who can appeal to a broader voter base, who has shown grace under pressure and a proven ability to lead and get things accomplished. We need to nominate a candidate who we're sure is not going to jump into the circus ring and become one of the clowns. Hillary Clinton is that candidate, and that's why I would encourage as many Democrats, Independents, leftists and centrists to rally behind her as possible, and that's why I will be caucusing for her on March 26 in Seattle. 

3 comments:

  1. I agree with everything you said about Hillary, but her campaign is tarnished by two really big things: the Benghazi scandal and of course the emails. Innocent or guilty it doesn't matter, people will hold these against her unfortunately.

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  2. Interesting analogy for sure. Great piece.

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