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I support Bernie Sanders. I think he has the best understanding of our country’s problems, and of how to address them. If the polls are to be believed, he would run better against any Republican nominee than Hillary Clinton. I hope he continues his campaign right up to the convention.

Attitude Adjustment

Attitude Adjustment—John Peeler

But it is now clear that he’s going to lose. The odds of his being able to catch Hillary Clinton are prohibitively high. We need to get beyond the heated rhetoric of the primary season and soberly evaluate the candidate who will stand between us and a President Trump.

When the Republican Party is poised to nominate a proto-fascist, progressives will need, in these next months, to get behind Hillary Clinton, or they could find themselves under the boots of President Trump.

It’s true that she’s not an ideal candidate, even though by experience she’s the most qualified of all the candidates. If Bill Clinton could seem sincere even when he wasn’t, Hillary can seem fake even when she speaks from the heart. As Jeff Greenfield said in Politico recently, she has three big problems:

  • First, Hillary Clinton commands little trust among an electorate that is driven today by mistrust.
  • Second, her public life—the posts she has held, the positions she has adopted (and jettisoned)—define her as a creature of the “establishment” at a time when voters regard the very idea with deep antipathy.
  • And finally, however she wishes it were not so, however much she argues that she represents the future as America’s first prospective female president, Clinton still embodies the past, just as she did in 2008 when she lost to Barack Obama.

These weaknesses are givens that are the flip side of the long career in public life that makes her the best-qualified to be president. We know who she is and some of it is not good.

On the other hand, “Why Do People Hate Hillary Clinton So Much?” by motocat, Daily Kos subjects some of these perceptions about Hillary to empirical tests. On the issue of trustworthiness, according to Politifact, she comes out about equal to Bernie, and way better than any of the GOP candidates.

On the issue of whether she’s really a liberal, analysis of her record in the Senate places her as the 11th most liberal Senator during her tenure, less liberal, to be sure, than Sanders, but more liberal that Pat Leahy. While Bernie anchors the left wing of the party, Hillary’s record is only slightly less liberal.

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As to being in the pocket of Wall Street, the article acknowledges that 25 percent of her income has come from speaking fees from financial institutions. The author, however, doubts that it can be demonstrated: “Is Hillary Clinton influenced by donations and speaking fees from Wall Street firms? I don’t know. But it does seem clear based on almost a decade of history in the Senate that she was not influenced enough to put her outside of the mainstream Democratic circle when it comes to policy and record.”

In short, motocat thinks there’s much less than many think to allegations of Hillary’s perfidy.

Syndicated columnist Connie Schultz (Progressive Populist, March 1, 2016, p. 22) objects to the argument that her respect for Hillary means she’s not a real progressive.

If you tell me that, should Sanders lose, you won’t vote for Hillary Clinton, then stop calling yourself a liberal or a progressive or anything other than someone invested in just getting your way.

There is so much at stake here. [She cites women’s reproductive rights, health care and growing inequality.]

If you would sacrifice those who need us most because you didn’t get your way, then please, save me your lectures and get out of my way.

Hillary Clinton has fought for progressive causes her whole adult life, often in unfavorable terrain such as Arkansas politics or the reactionary spirit of the Gingrich Congress and the George W. Bush presidency. She’s won some, she’s lost some. She’s had to compromise to get anything. She’s had to admit to some mistakes, like voting for the Iraq War. She’s been the subject of an implacable Republican campaign over a quarter century to undermine her reputation. The success of that campaign is shown whenever her Democratic opponents echo the Republican line about her.

Is she a democratic socialist? Certainly not. Is she a confirmed liberal with a commitment to economic and social justice and the rights of women? Absolutely. If elected, does she have a better chance than Bernie of actually passing progressive policies? Probably.

john peeler

When the Republican Party is poised to nominate a proto-fascist, progressives will need, in these next months, to get behind Hillary Clinton, or they could find themselves under the boots of President Trump.

John Peeler