Hillary Clinton is a candidate that can give American liberals a lot of what they want — but in all of the ways that they hate.
She has an overwhelming amount of political experience and Washington connections from her days as the First Lady in the 1990’s, New York’s first female Senator in the 2000’s, Secretary of State under Obama, and a nearly successful presidential campaign in 2008. While in public office, Clinton has advocated for all forms of social equality, endured multiple political scandals, and also fought for U.S. stability abroad. Still, many Americans, even many who agree with her on policy, remain wary.
At a time when the American public’s disapproval of Congress is matched only by its disinterest in voting, there isn’t much faith that a Washington insider like Clinton is likely to bring meaningful reform in the wake of America’s many incompetence-rooted problems. Obama, albeit briefly, was able to galvanize a lot of public support for his successful presidential run largely because of his lack of ties to Washington, something that also has been a massive hindrance to furthering his political agenda. Unfortunately, this leads many liberals (especially among the upper middle class) to criticize the well-connected Clintons rather than support them. Their attention span is also a painfully short one. Left-leaning voters will happily empower an Obama only to complain at the slightest sign of political imperfection, and in doing so totally ignore the daunting administrative tasks that fall upon any president. On the right, the main criticisms of Hillary are so utterly delusional (and redundant) that they don’t even merit an analysis.
Then there are young voters. The socially liberal millennial generation, often praised for its tolerance and open-mindedness, collectively demonstrated at the polls (and in the 2014 midterms) that superficial apathy is all too eagerly mistaken for a new sense of worldly priorities. As liberal Americans, young and old, rich and poor, smart and dumb, proudly tout their self-declared status as “independents,” they opt to skewer the best representative of their interests among America’s political elite. Many journalists with a desire to make a Watergate out of a Whitewater Controversy crank out garbage articles about whether or not Hillary’s presidential run is in actuality Bill Clinton’s unofficial third term (as if that would matter) and then proceed to slap up online columns about whether she “really cares” about women’s rights.
It has been accurately pointed out that Hillary does have some deep-seeded Wall Street ties among her potential benefactors that would make Wall Street reform difficult were she to become president. Then again, show me someone running for President of the United States without Wall Street ties. That, as well an abysmal campaign logo, translates to some realistic concern about the Clinton campaign.
To think that the United States has an obligation to be a fair and benevolent democracy that promotes progressive ideas is not a bad thing, but to think that such a reality can be made true by blatantly ignoring power dynamics and the currently existing presidential options is delusional. Showing dissatisfaction with your country’s political system by helping tarnish the image of your best bet for a levelheaded president is as ignorant as it is counter-productive. As much as Americans want a fresh face and fast results, that’s not always how politics works. For real progress, you pick a person who has their grip on the inevitably unfair political conditions of your time, and you support them based not on ideology, but on the likelihood that they will be able to get elected, and then deliver the closest possible thing to what your own civic concerns are.
If American liberals want success instead of a soap opera, they’ll do well to rally behind Hillary Clinton.