Hillary Clinton has stated many times that being president isn't about grand ideas but about making "hard choices." She even titled her book Hard Choices, and she has used this phrase regularly on the campaign trail.
She's right: making difficult decisions is an essential part of leadership. But making the right choice is what great leadership requires, and even by her own admission many of her choices have been wrong.
(Yes, you're owed an apology in advance that the list is so long.)
- For years Hillary Clinton promoted fracking while she was Secretary of State, but now she regrets her support.
- She was, and still is, personally invested in the Keystone XL Pipeline, but now she says she wants to review this project.
- For decades she was adamantly opposed to gay marriage and LGBT rights, but now she supports them.
- She believed the intelligence George Bush and Dick Cheney provided about the supposed "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq, but now she regrets her credulity.
- She supported the Iraq War itself and spoke out repeatedly in support, but now she says this too was "a huge mistake." Bernie Sanders looked at the same intelligence, listened to the same pro-war speeches, and yet came out strongly against the war, led the opposition to it in Congress, and repeatedly called out Bush and Cheney for deliberate misinformation.
- She set up a private server in her home and sent official email through this server, possibly to conceal (from oversight) or to divulge (to private individuals) official business. The FBI is investigating. She has cautiously acknowledged an error in judgment.
- She pushed for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and referred to it as the "gold standard" of international business agreements many times. Now she says she needs to "take another look" at this job-crushing deal.
- She supported the "free trade" deal with Panama, although now she says the deal was a mistake. Bernie opposed this deal from the beginning, saying it was a ruse to enable billionaires and giant corporations to move their profits overseas and avoid paying taxes. He was ridiculed for this view then, but he was proven right with the leak of the Panama Papers in March.
- Hillary called some African Americans "super-predators" when attempting to drum up support for a harsh crime bill, but she now says she regrets her words and the bill.
- She is for the death penalty, and she still supports for-profit prisons, even though the privatization of prisons has resulted in mass incarceration and vast, documented racial injustice.
- She came out against a15 minimum wage, saying it was unfeasible and "too high," but her opinion shifted once the15 wage became a reality in two states in April. Bernie Sanders has been supporting the Fight for Fifteen all along, has maintained that a15 wage is the minimum "living wage," and has made it one of his top goals.
- Hillary has accepted millions from Wall Street, although she regrets some of her decisions on banking deregulation. Her top contributors include Citigroup,891,501; Morgan Stanley,765,242; Lehman Brothers,362,853; JP Morgan Chase,801,380; Goldman Sachs,831,740; and Credit Suisse,318,120. Bernie's top donors are rank-and-file labor unions, teacher unions, and nursing unions, and the vast majority of his funding has come for over six million individual contributions from ordinary Americans throughout the country, averaging27.
- Hillary opposes restoring the Glass-Steagall Act, which for decades prevented regular banks from making risky investments with people's savings deposits. Bernie wants to bring back Glass-Steagall and break up any banks that are "too big to fail" so that we never again have to provide7 trillion in taxpayer funds to the banks as a bailout.
- Hillary participated in Republican campaigns as an enthusiastic young conservative. Bernie has always been an independent and has always caucused with Democrats.
- Hillary campaigned for Republican Barry Goldwater, who opposed school integration, voted in the Senate against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and campaigned actively to repeal integration. Bernie Sanders marched with Martin Luther King and was arrested for repeatedly protesting segregation.
- The Clintons celebrated "Confederate Flag Day" every year when Bill was governor of Arkansas. Bernie led a "progressive revolution" in city politics as Mayor of Burlington, VT, and set aside a Gay Pride Day every year.
- Hillary says she'll consider "loosening" Marijuana penalties, but she maintains that it's a "hard choice." Bernie wants to completely abolish the federal prohibition of Marijuana.
- Bernie has over 30 years of experience fighting for working Americans, and even Republicans call him an honest person. Hillary has concealed countless official emails, personal servers, transcripts of speeches, sources of PAC money, and much more, and is considered one of the more secretive politicians.
How does Bernie Sanders Approach the "Hard Choices" Facing America?
- Bernie calls healthcare a right, not a privilege. His single-payer universal healthcare plan will save each American family1,200-5,000 a year in insurance premiums and pharmaceutical drugs costs. Hillary opposes single-payer universal healthcare, saying it "will never ever happen." She has received millions of dollars in contributions from pharmaceutical and health insurance corporations.
- Bernie has opposed most recent wars, and he has received the highest VFW award for his fight for veterans' rights and services. Bernie opposed both Iraq Wars and has stated that he will, absolutely, defend the United States of America, but that war should be the last option. Hillary has a long record as a hawk, and has hinted that as president she would attack Iran, use our military to enforce a "no-fly zone" in Syria, and continue to support the failed policy of endless war in Israel and Palestine.
- Bernie has opposed the neoliberal international business agreements called "free trade deals" -- TPP, NAFTA, MFN with China, etc. -- since they were first introduced. These agreements ship jobs overseas and set up a worldwide "race to the bottom" for global wages and working conditions while enriching large corporations. Hillary has supported all of these deals, and emails recently leaked reveal she even secretly supported the Columbia free trade deal while publicly stating her opposition.
- Bernie says it's time for free public higher education. The debt that students bear when emerging from college cripples the economy and severely hampers "the pursuit of happiness" by dooming young people to decades of repayment. Hillary supports additional low-interest loans to students, although this is essentially the current policy.
- Bernie opposed and voted against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act. Hillary strongly supported DOMA, although she has since admitted her choice was wrong.
- Bernie sees immediate action on climate change as not just a political but a moral emergency. He opposes fracking and calls for all new energy generation facilities to be renewable. Hillary worked to spread the use of fracking in several countries around the world, and still supports fracking in some instances in the United States. She'll probably 'regret' this later, but millions of people might not have time for her to come around.
The First Time Matters
When you are President, you often don't get a second chance. Fatal decisions send young Americans to war and often disastrously change the course of world events.
As American voters, our choice is between a corporate-sponsored candidate who apparently will say nearly anything to get elected, and a candidate who speaks with forthright conviction and who has fought his entire career for the middle class, for labor, for women, for gay people, for civil rights and for veterans.
Bernie Sanders is a man of integrity who has demonstrated a profound, consistent moral conviction to do what is right by everyday people. Even Bernie's opponents call him honest, fair, and authentic. There are no Super PACs lurking behind him, no secret donors writing checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars, no free rides in corporate jets to private fundraisers. He brings a simple and sincere commitment to do what is right for the American people and for the planet.
Our choice is not a hard choice at all. In Bernie Sanders we have a leader who has not only made hard decisions throughout his career, but who has made the right decisions.
With thanks to Dan Grossnickle for the original idea for this piece.