With the Presidential election officially beginning this week in Iowa, the process of selecting the Democratic nominee has kicked off. Since declaring his candidacy in May, Senator Bernie Sanders has increasingly chipped away at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s lead, pulling ahead in the first two states, and now finds himself neck and neck with Clinton nationally. Conclusively, there is reason for Democrats to support a Clinton nomination, and flaws in supporting a Sanders one.

It’s obvious that Clinton is the most experienced and prepared candidate for the presidency in decades. She has spent twelve years in the Executive Branch and eight in the Senate, promoting contemporarily progressive goals and effectively guiding the country forward. Her tenure at the State Department was so effective that during the 2012 Election, Mitt Romney adopted the same or very similar foreign policy stances to Barack Obama himself. She has pushed legislation granting healthcare to millions of children (while negotiating with a conservative Republican Congress), advocated for women’s rights on the global and domestic stages since before we were born, and promoted liberal, achievable goals during her entire 25 years involved in government. Bernie Sanders, too, has spent 25 years in Congress, and yet he has passed almost no meaningful legislation. In fact, it’s no secret around the Hill that he is actually too devoted to his own virtues to “wheel and deal” and actually pass laws. Many view this as a positive trait, that he has stuck to his guns for decades, but in practice, it’s as dogmatic as the Tea Party’s insistence on ideological purity.

As laudable and morally just we believe his ideas are, they won’t be made policy in this country for the foreseeable future. Firstly, the unfortunate fact of the matter is that the United States is a conservative country, with double the number of Americans identifying as conservative than as liberal; the gap is even greater when the label “progressive” is used. Now, combine this with the fact that US Congressional districts have become totally gerrymandered by Republican state legislatures over the last ten years, and it becomes clear that the “political revolution” Bernie is calling for to pass his agenda simply won’t come to fruition. Additionally, his supporters’ call for ideological homogeneity in the Democratic Party will cripple our “big tent” strengths necessarily developed since the 1960s. Hillary for America, on the other hand, has already donated tens of millions to local party committees around the country to rebuild the organization that Obama has mismanaged.

Ultimately, Hillary Clinton will be an effective advocate for slow and achievable change, instead of a messianic advocate for the ideal who crashes into the right­wing wall that is the House of Representatives.

Sweely is a member of the class of 2017.

Tagged: 2016 Election


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