tl;dr: I voted for Gary Johnson in 2012 and Bernie in March. Now I’m enthusiastically voting for Hillary this November.
I’m a Bernie guy. I loved his challenges to dream big and to start competing with other countries where it counts; quality of life. I voted for Johnson in 2012. I loved his balanced view and wanted to help him reach 5% nationally because I believe that this country would be better served with more political parties. This general election I’m voting for Hillary. She is the only viable candidate that represents my views, has a proven track record, and, frankly, would set a tone for the country that I’d be proud to have my kids learn about in history class someday. I’m not here to tell you how to vote. That’s your decision. Instead, I want to tell you why I made my decision.
Here’s why #ImWithHer.
She’s put up forward thinking, viable, reasonable policy.
From climate change, to higher education, to immigration reform, I agree with Hillary on more policy ideas than any other candidate. In this hyper-personality driven election cycle, I wish more Americans would weigh policy ideas higher in their decision making.
She’d set the tone I want for our country.
Her slogan “Stronger Together” is actually represented in the way she speaks and the policy ideas she promotes. She preaches inclusivity, equity, and progress. Has she made off comments that I don’t agree with? Yes. Do things like the deplorable comment disqualify her? I don’t think so. Do they discredit her? Not any more than comments made by her challenger.
She has the experience.
I’m sure you know. This woman has served as an extremely active First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State. No matter who you’re voting for, it’s hard to deny (although, people still do) that she is an accomplished, well-traveled, and dedicated public servant.
Her approval ratings. Really.
Average approval rating while First Lady: Around 60%
Average approval rating as a US Senator: Around 55%
Average approval rating as Secretary of State: Around 62%
When you look at how people view her when she is actually doing the job instead of campaigning, taking largely unsubstantiated hits, people tend to like her.
She’s dedicated her life to public service.
From women’s rights, to health care, to children, Hillary has spent her entire adult life fighting for the public good. She’s been an advocate from her days as a respected lawyer to her time in the national spotlight. Her opponent can’t say the same.
Her Endorsements Extend Across Party Lines
Hillary has accrued a number of GOP endorsements. These endorsements include many members of the Regan, H.W. Bush, and W. Bush administrations. And while not a direct endorsement, 50 leading GOP officials have warned her opponent would put the nation's national security ‘at risk’. You don’t see many (if any?) democratic officials crossing party lines to endorse the Republican nominee.
Her voting record backs her up.
You can claim that she’s bought and paid for, or that she wants to take down America from the inside, but that’s not what her voting record says. Her voting record is strongly that of a center-leaning democrat.
When she’s wrong, she admits it.
There’s something different about Hillary Clinton as a politician; she listens. She takes this trait a step further by listening to others in order to evaluate her choices and admitting when she’s wrong. Now you may claim she does this for her own political expediency, and I can’t blame you. However, compare that to her opponent, who literally said he couldn’t remember the last time he apologized for something, despite having plenty to apologize for. I think it’s fair to say Hillary has demonstrated a higher ability to take responsibility and learn from past actions.
“But, Austin, you’re ignoring all of the corruption and illegal activity she’s taken part in! Lock her up, lock her up!”
Honestly, out of all of the controversies surrounding Hillary, nothing has come up that leads me to a) believe that she doesn’t have the best interest of the American people at heart or b) believe she is incompetent and should not be trusted as POTUS when compared to her competitor. Despite the hundreds of thousands (maybe more?) of hours spent digging through emails, tax returns, and her personal life nothing has been found that substantiates into a direct, self-serving attack on the American people. Were there bad things I don’t condone revealed? Absolutely. But nothing found is disqualifying, especially when compared to her competitor.
Let’s go line-by-line.
But the Emails!
What you find when you go through one of the most publicly documented records of a public official in human history is a boring record of someone doing the monotonous, day-to-day work of a dedicated public servant. With that said, that doesn’t mean I condone what happened here. Setting up a private email server was irresponsible, sloppy, and was a mistake. However, this matter is settled. The FBI has conducted an intensive investigation and found no conspiratorial or malicious intents by Clinton in setting up the server. What I’ve gotten out of this drawn out saga is a) the federal government needs to get their shit together on IT issues and b) Hillary has been burned so bad by this there is no way she won’t employ even higher discretion when dealing with classified content if elected to office. I can’t say that about her opponent as the only experience he has had with classified materials started recently when he began receiving briefings. While not a good move, not by a long shot, this does not disqualify her.
The attack in Benghazi was awful and I have sincere sadness for the Americans that lost their lives that night. However, to claim that this was Hillary’s wrongdoing is outright incorrect. There are improvements in the system that should have been made to ensure that an attack like this couldn’t happen. With that said, there have been 7 investigations into Benghazi, mostly lead by Republicans. Not one of them found that Clinton had done anything wrong or that anything was done with malice. Frankly, this is a sick politicization of an unfortunate incident.
But her health!
Hillary is a 68-year-old woman and would be 77 at the end of her time as President if she were to serve 2 terms (her opponent would be 78) so it seems valid to want detailed health records released for all candidates. Both have released some degree of information but due to the nature of these kinds of records, it’s very easy for campaigns to paint them in a certain light. With that said, I have yet to see any valid evidence that she is unfit to serve or any less fit than her opponent. Conspiracies about her health are frankly bizarre. Given that, do I think the way her campaign handled her recent spat with pneumonia was off? They could have absolutely handled that better. But given the bizarre conspiracies that have oddly gained traction, I can at least understand why her campaign was hesitant to be forthcoming.
But her foundation!
Aside from claims about the actual functionality and partiality about the Clinton Foundation there has recently also been talk about pay-to-play actions involving meetings set with Hillary with donors in her Secretary of State role. First, let’s talk functionality. There is a deep misunderstanding by the public about what the foundation actually does fueling misconceptions. The fact of the matter is that the foundation does good work. Questions about the effectiveness of the foundation are more subjective, but I have yet to see anything convincing speaking to ineffective use of funds. Now, about pay-to-play. Coverage of this has been a mess, starting with the AP’s expose, which was admittedly handled sloppily (especially on social media. With that said there does appear to be a preference for meetings with foundation donors, however, there hasn’t yet been proof that this has impacted policy, just that there were meetings. It’s also odd that the Clinton’s acknowledge the need to stop accepting foreign and corporate donations only if she wins in November when logic says she should have done that back when she was Secretary of State. With all of that said, none of this disqualifies her for me, especially when compared to her competitor's supposed foundation.
But she’s going to take my guns!
Another bizarre instance where her views have been skewed and morphed into something unrecognizable. Stop saying that anyone, including Hilary, that is for gun control, wants to abolish all guns everywhere in a war against the second amendment. Do I agree with all of her policies on guns? No. However, there is no evidence anywhere that she would take away anyone’s guns.
But her constant lies!
Hillary, like most in the public eye, has made statements, either intentionally or not, that are just not true. But she doesn’t speak falsely any more than most other politicians, frankly. Let’s compare her PolitiFact scores to that of her competitor. PolitiFact rates 28% of her statements on the site as some degree of false. To compare, they rate 71% her competitor’s statements on the same metrics. Now these numbers aren’t an exact science, and you could claim that PolitiFact cherry picks their statements. But if you dive into the facts and severity of false statements made by both candidates, obvious trends emerge that lead me to put more trust into Hilary.
But she voted to go to war in Iraq!
A decision that she has admitted was a bad choice. Compare that to her opponent, who despite having a running mate that made the same vote in the house, still slams her decision. If you’re going to bring Hillary down for this, you have to bring her opponent’s running mate down to.
But her Wall Street speeches!
Did I think she should release them? Yes. Would the result make me not vote for her? Probably not. We have a pretty good idea about what she probably said. It’s not likely she walked in and scolded them, that wouldn’t be a wise investment of $250,000 on Goldman Sachs part. With all that said, while I think it was done in bad taste this isn’t disqualifying. Many former politicians take part in the speaker circuit. Singling Hillary out would be hypocritical.
But there are other options!
Yes! I know! I voted for one of those other options last election! I am 100% for a reformed voting system in order to allow third parties to gain traction and agree that in an ideal system you should be able to vote solely for the person who speaks to your beliefs and who you believe is best equipped for the job. But here’s the truth; that isn’t the system we have right now. I voted for Johnson back in 2012 because a) I wanted to help him reach 5% nationally to allow the libertarian party to claim public financing in future elections () and b) I lived life more dangerously and believed that Obama still had a great chance of winning.
That isn’t an option this in year’s presidential race, and frankly, I’ve come to discover that, while counter intuitive, the way to reform such a wonky election system isn’t through voting for third party candidates. It’s ineffective and can leave stinging consequences. The best route is through voting system reform. It hurts my heart to say this. It really, truly does. But if I were to vote for a third party candidate this year I would effectively be voting for Donald John Trump to be the next president of the United States. It’s not fair, but it’s our reality.
But I’m not fearful about the outcome of this reality. In fact, I’m excited. I’m excited because Hillary has proven time and time again that she has the best interest of this country at heart and that she will do everything in her power to create a culture of inclusiveness, innovation, and prosperity for all. She cares about the issues that are important to me and has applicable, responsible, and feasible policy to address our countries greatest challenges. That’s why #ImWithHer