Not Ready for Hillary: A call for stonger progressivism

—By Shreya Sunderram—

Hillary Rodham Clinton has announced her bid for the presidency—and I could not be less thrilled. Wait, hold up—a feminist liberal who isn’t over the moon about a Clinton campaign? Yes. That’s correct. Here is your once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a rare species of female—a “Not-Ready for Hillary.” Don’t get me wrong—I am ready to see a woman president. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to throw all my support behind just any uterus-bearing biped. I would gladly join the Elizabeth Warren campaign, but in my mind, Hillary lacks the guts to break the party mold.

Clinton’s a moderate democrat who votes along with the party to a tee and a campaign-finance juggernaut who relies on big money. Warren, on the other hand, has time and again discussed the dangers of money in politics and the necessity of legislation like Glass-Steagall, shaping a generation of thinkers now known as the “ Warren Wing.” But how on earth can liberal Democrats rely on Clinton, who, alongside her husband, has raised more than 2.1 billion dollars in donations from industrial giants? More than 50 percent of Americans support a constitutional amendment overturning the Citizens United decision, which ruled that money is speech and corporations are people. Clinton has spoken out against Citizens United, but it’s hard to believe she’ll fight to take big money out of politics.

More than 76 percent of Americans are in strong favor of prison reform and switching from a punitive system to a more rehabilitative one. However, as First Lady, Clinton said, “We need more police, we need more and tougher prison sentences for repeat offenders. We need more prisons to keep violent offenders for as long as it takes to keep them off the streets” (Pew Research). Sure, Clinton does recognize problems with recidivism rates, saying “there has been an unacceptable increase in incarceration across the board,” but she’s never introduced an innovative plan to actually combat the problem (Pew Research).

But most concerning are her views on the death penalty. As First Lady, she lobbied for her husband’s infamous crime bill, “which expanded the list of crimes subject to the federal death penalty” (Pew Research). Clinton’s crime bill is often cited as one of the fundamental causes of increased incarceration.

I am ready for change. I am ready for a woman to take office, and I am ready for a progressive president to bring our nation forward and force political demagogues to their knees. And at the end of the day, I suppose a Clinton presidency would be much better than the Republican alternative, but that doesn’t mean I have to give her my vote—nor does it mean that she’s the Democrats’ only option. Blind, straight-ballot voting is destructive, almost as destructive as not voting at all. With Congress’ approval ratings hovering just above those of cockroaches, maybe it’s time for the electorate to take a new approach—to vote for a thinker rather than a figurehead, an intellectual rather than a personality. So where is my vote going, you ask? To Bernie Sanders, the progressive Senator from Vermont—because why not give another old white guy a shot at the Oval Office?

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