Apparently, those three letters sum up how a good number of Americans, in particular younger voters, feel about the prospect of voting for Hillary Clinton. Tina Nguyen at Vanity Fair put it as follows: “...the majority of millennials, nearly all of whom disagree with Trump’s positions, are not sufficiently excited by the Democratic alternative to do anything about it.”
Granted, it’s just one survey, but look at the numbers from Quinnipiac’s poll conducted September 8 to 13. Almost half of those under age 35 say they’re voting for either Gary Johnson (29 percent) or Jill Stein (15 percent). Other polling—along with Clinton’s performance among younger voters in 2008 as well as in the primary contest against Bernie Sanders—show similar problems for her.
I don’t want to focus too long on the numbers, but these kinds of figures tell me that younger Americans are probably the group with the highest percentage of persuadable voters. It’s not likely that many people saying they’d vote for Trump at this late date in the campaign are going to end up voting for Clinton. However, voters who think Trump is an unqualified bigot—and about two-thirds of those ages 18 to 39 said they did in a recent poll—should be voting for Hillary. Yet many are not. So, what are we going to do about it?
We who do support Secretary Clinton have a number of options. We can wallow in pessimism; we can get angry at those who, it seems to us, just won’t see reason; or we can try to persuade them. I think you know which is the most productive.
Separate from the fact that it is true, it is strategically important to talk about how dangerous Donald Trump is. Doing so will motivate some of our voters—and of course much of our energy should go to making sure our voters go to the polls. But others have already gotten that message about Trump—yet for them, it hasn’t translated into supporting Hillary. They need a reason to turn their vote for ‘not Trump’ into a vote for Hillary as opposed to a third-party candidate, or no one at all. I’m voting for Hillary, and not just because she’s not Trump. Here’s why.
First and foremost: I’m a progressive, and so is she. Progressives, let alone Democrats, don’t agree on every issue. However, Hillary Clinton and I believe most of the same things, and share most of the same priorities for our country. She is the candidate who comes far closer to my values than any other on the ballot, and that would be true no matter which of the Republican presidential candidates became the nominee.
To name just a few examples, I believe in women’s reproductive freedom, I believe we need to aggressively combat global warming, I believe our tax policy should benefit the 99 percent rather than the 1 percent, I believe every American has a right to affordable health care, I believe we need strong regulation—of Wall Street and every industry—both to protect consumers and ensure that honest business people can compete without having to cheat.
Hillary Clinton shares these beliefs. Furthermore, she’s spent a lifetime working to implement them, as seen in her decades of work advocating for children, for improvements to education, to improve the lives of disabled Americans, and going undercover to expose racial segregation and discrimination. She’s been fighting for progressive change her entire adult life, and she’s gotten results.
Two final points: First, having served in both the U.S. Senate and as Secretary of State, she will be able to hit the ground running the day she takes office. As President Obama said: “there has never been a man or a woman—not me, not Bill [Clinton], nobody—more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.” Second, there hasn’t been a more progressive Democratic nominee for president in at least a generation. That’s why I’m inspired to vote for her.
Donald Trump doesn’t share my progressive values, that much is obvious. Neither, however, does Gary Johnson. As a libertarian, he rejects the notion of the common good. That means that on economic issues, he’s an Ayn Rand right-wing Republican. Don’t believe me? He said so himself:
I think I view the system the same way that Ayn Rand views the system - that it really oppresses those that create, if you will, and tries to take away from those that produce and give to the non-producers.
This is the same Republican “makers vs. takers” rhetoric you hear from Rush Limbaugh. As Elizabeth Warren has explained: “The Republican vision is clear: ‘I’ve got mine, the rest of you are on your own.’” Gary Johnson agrees. Here’s just one example. He said we should raise the retirement age for Social Security “perhaps to 70 or 72,” and that “a portion of Social Security ought to be privatized, if not all.”
Additionally, here are some other Johnson positions. He opposes all of the following: federal guarantees for student loans, just about all gun control/gun safety measures, laws mandating equal pay for women, and collective bargaining for public employees (just like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker). He supports sending Medicare and Medicaid to the states (how’d that go with the Obamacare Medicaid expansion? Not well if you live in the wrong state), supports privatizing prisons, and, for the kicker, doesn’t think the federal minimum wage should exist. Oh, and in 1999 then-Gov. Johnson vetoed the minimum wage increase passed by the New Mexico legislature that would have raised it from $4.25 to $5.65 an hour. As a progressive, these are deal-breakers for me.
What about Jill Stein? I like her views on some economic issues, such as the minimum wage. However, she (not to mention her running mate) is simply far too extreme to be president. You’re probably familiar with her anti-science views on vaccination as well as other issues. There’s much, much more, as Jordan Weissman found in his in-depth examination of Stein. His conclusion appears in the title of his article: “Jill Stein’s Ideas Are Terrible. She Is Not the Savior the Left Is Looking For.”
For me, the beliefs and values of the candidates are the most important basis on which I cast my vote. But beyond what Hillary Clinton and I share on that front, I am also inspired by the way I see her handle issues that come before her. She is thoughtful, she doesn’t jump to conclusions, and she makes sure she understands an issue before making a decision.
This week offers yet another example. In response to the shooting in Tulsa, where a police officer killed Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man who had his hands up, Hillary Clinton not only expressed sympathy, she responded by proposing that we develop a “set of national best practices” on police training. Her response was more than just words: it offered a way to help our society make positive, institutional change going forward on this vitally important issue.
By comparison, Donald Trump simply blamed the officer who pulled the trigger, suggesting she got “scared” and that she “chok[ed].” He had nothing to say about the larger, systemic problem of cops shooting unarmed citizens—a disproportionate percentage of whom are black—in unacceptably large numbers. Clinton acted the way I want a president to act. I trust her to do the job the right way. She is by far the best candidate on the ballot. That makes me an enthusiastic supporter of her candidacy.
I’m more than just ready for Hillary, I’m chomping at the bit to vote for her. Not just against Donald Trump, but for Hillary Clinton. In the primaries, I voted for Bernie Sanders, and wrote about why I did so at the time. But now, the reason I’m excited to vote for Secretary Clinton is simple: I know she’s going to make a great president.