The 2016 presidential election will be studied for generations, primarily because it's a turning point in U.S. history. Will the Democratic Party shift even further to the right, or will Democrats nominate a true progressive? Below are 25 reasons I'm voting only for Bernie Sanders in 2016. And these reasons not only highlight my value system, but also what I believe (or assumed) the Democratic Party had always stood for as well.
1. President Hillary Clinton will have a neoconservative foreign policy. Bernie Sanders says "I'll be damned" if Americans lead the fight against ISIS.
Jacob Heilbrunn, in a New York Times article titled The Next Act of the Neocons, writes, "It's easy to imagine Mrs. Clinton's making room for the neocons in her administration." Also quoted in The New York Times, conservative historian Robert Kagan says, "If she pursues a policy which we think she will pursue, it's something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that; they are going to call it something else."
In addition to voting for the Iraq War (and pushing for the disastrous bombing of Libya) while calling this decision a "mistake," her quotes in an Atlantic interview with Jeffrey Goldberg confirm that President Hillary Clinton could be a liberal Dick Cheney in the White House:
This is what Clinton said about Obama's slogan: "Great nations need organizing principles, and 'Don't do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle."
"You know, when you're down on yourself, and when you are hunkering down and pulling back, you're not going to make any better decisions than when you were aggressively, belligerently putting yourself forward," she said. "One issue is that we don't even tell our own story very well these days."
"The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad--," Clinton said.
As if the lessons of bombing Libya during Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State weren't enough, Clinton would have armed the Syrian rebels had she been president. The problem with this is not only that half the Syrian rebels are jihadists, but also that it would have pushed the U.S. into the Syrian civil war, while we were still embroiled in Iraq and Afghanistan.
If anyone wonders why I wrote an article last year on a certain GOP Senator, saying that I'd vote for that person (I'm, of course, voting for Bernie and that piece was written from a purely anti-perpetual war standpoint), the fact that Vox says Clinton's words on foreign policy sound "super hawkish," is one of the main reasons I wrote that piece.
America has suffered enough from a neoconservative foreign policy and one look at icasualties.org highlights this reality.
In contrast, Bernie says, "I'll be damned" if America leads the fight against ISIS (calling for others to put ground troops in the region, not us) and puts American soldiers and veterans first, as evident by his recent Congressional Award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
2. Bernie Sanders has always been against Keystone XL. Clinton once supported the controversial pipeline and now won't answer questions.
3. Bernie Sanders has always been against the Trans Pacific Partnership. Hillary Clinton supported the trade deal 45 separate times according to CNN.
Unions that back Hillary Clinton should remember Reason # 10 as well.
4. The Vermont Senator voted against the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 and stood up for gay rights when polls were against this issue. Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, opposed gay marriage up until 2013.
Don't claim to be outraged by Kentucky's Kim Davis if you're voting for Hillary Clinton. Both had the same views on gay marriage, only Davis didn't "evolve." Like The Guardian says, Hillary Clinton's views evolve on gay marriage, just in time for presidential campaign.
5. Bernie Sanders has a Racial Justice Platform. Hillary Clinton ran a 3 AM ad with a "racist sub-message" in 2008. South Carolina Congressman James E. Clyburn denounced Bill Clinton's remarks about Obama in 2008 and stated the Clinton's were "committed to doing everything they possibly can to damage Obama to a point that he could never win."
6. Clinton's encounter with Black Lives Matter exemplifies her outlook on race. In an interview with NPR, Daunasia Yancey, the founder of Black Lives Matter Boston, called Hillary Clinton's racial justice record "abysmal."
As for commentary on Clinton's meeting with Black Lives Matter, Benjamin Dixon and Yvette Carnell explain how Clinton politicized her meeting (and in effect, hurt the movement's momentum) with Black Lives Matter representatives.
7. Bernie Sanders has advocated breaking up the banks and reinstating a Glass-Steagall Act. Clinton does not advocate either policy objective.
It's no secret that Wall Street is in Hillary Clinton's corner and few believe the populist rhetoric from the former Secretary of State. Bernie Sanders, however, is a genuine reformer who eagerly takes on the "billionaire class."
8. Hillary Clinton is constantly involved in scandal and either the victim of a "surreal witch hunt" according to James Carville, a conspiracy among intelligence agencies (a Clinton spokesman says the government has "competing views" on what is classified, apparently making it alright for a retroactively classified email to be on a private server), or controversy.
Bernie Sanders can type an email without a nationwide scandal.
9. Bernie Sanders will not take money from billionaires. Hillary Clinton accepted $100,000 from Donald Trump in donations for her foundation and Senate runs in New York.
It's difficult to debate the potential GOP nominee and tell the country you're different, when you've accepted $100,000 from the billionaire.
10. Four of Clinton's top five donors since 1999 are Wall Street firms. Bernie Sanders is running a grass roots campaign.
11. Hillary Clinton is against the decriminalization of marijuana. Bernie Sanders supports the decriminalization of marijuana.
12. It's true that Republicans have an irrational hatred of Clinton and that the Benghazi attacks have been unfairly leveled at Clinton. However, most of Clinton's scandals are based on her own decisions, not the irrational behavior of others. Not everything is Benghazi.
13. Hillary Clinton hasn't explained the political utility in owning a private server as Secretary of State.
14. I want a female president; however, I want her to be Elizabeth Warren.
15. I don't want my president to have an ongoing FBI investigation during her first term.
16. Hillary Clinton hasn't explained whether or not her server was safer or better protected than the U.S. government's server.
17. It is a fact that Clinton had classified and "Top Secret" emails flowing through her server.
18. Many of Clinton's classified emails were "born classified," meaning they weren't classified retroactively.
19. Five intelligence agencies thus far are now a part of the email saga. They can't all be part of a right-wing conspiracy.
20. Economically, Bernie is more progressive in tackling wealth inequality while Clinton addresses the issue, but continues raking in Wall Street money.
21. Bernie Sanders was active in the Civil Rights movement and also endorsed Jesse Jackson's 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns.
22. Edward Snowden says it's "ridiculous" to think Clinton's email setup was secure. Freedom of Information Act expert Dan Metcalfe calls Clinton's email defense "laughable." Neither one is a part of a right-wing conspiracy.
23. Swing states do not trust Hillary Clinton and 55 percent of Americans, according to CNN, have an "unfavorable" view of Clinton.
24. I want a true progressive as president, especially in terms of the greatest powers of a president: getting America into wars and shaping foreign policy.
25. I trust Bernie Sanders. I do not trust Hillary Clinton or the GOP.
Finally, inherent in all 25 reasons above is the fact that Clinton's positions are too far to the right, therefore too closely related to the GOP's views on war, Wall Street, foreign policy, and other key issues, for me to accept in a president.
Ending perpetual war in American foreign policy is my biggest concern, therefore Bernie Sanders is my only choice in 2016. Also, Clinton rarely answers questions without carefully crafted wording; ambiguous to the point she can act in any manner she chooses once attaining the presidency.
As for other key issues, Clinton sides with the GOP (and away from most Americans) on the most controversial topics, which is why polling trajectory shows Bernie Sanders will win the Democratic nomination, in addition to the presidency.
Also on HuffPost: