Saturday, February 20, 2016

Caucus Day Thoughts

Since the media won't let you forget about it, you've probably already heard that the Nevada Democratic Caucus was today. For weeks the political climate here in Vegas has been growing more heated. Campus has been particularly obnoxious. "Excuse me miss, are you registered to..." "Excuse me miss, are you going to caucus on..." "Excuse me miss, can I ask who you're..."

"I AM REGISTERED IN ILLINOIS, DAMMIT. YES, I HAVE AN ABSENTEE BALLOT. LEAVE ME ALONE."

I get why they were doing it, but it was suffocating nonetheless. Sometimes a girl just wants to walk in peace.

You've probably also heard that Hillary Clinton narrowly won the caucus today, which most of my friends surely aren't happy about. Like most people my age, I run with a crowd that is solidly Feeling the Bern--with good reason, I think. We did everything our parents told us to--worked hard at school, went to college despite the costs--and we were rewarded with lots of debt and few jobs. (Unless you're me, but I recognize just how lucky I was to land a job in the middle of the recession. I'm well aware that I'm the exception to the rule.) Bernie Sanders is the only candidate addressing this problem in any meaningful way, so it's no wonder that we find his campaign appealing. Plus, his other beliefs align more with my own than Clinton's do--though I won't go into that here, as it's not the point of the post.

The point of this post is: even though I support Sanders, I can't stand the way people have been treating Hillary Clinton during this campaign. It literally makes me cringe. It's fine to disagree with her policies, but people act like she's some kind of monster, which is ridiculous.

One complaint that I see a lot is this: "But Hillary supported Barry Goldwater in 1964! An anti-civil rights Republican!" Yeah, that obviously wasn't a good move--but she was seventeen. If we all held the same beliefs that we did at seventeen, I guarantee we'd all be in a great deal of trouble. I certainly hope that each and every one of you have changed your minds about many things since high school.

How about that popular Sanders vs. Clinton meme? You know--the one where Sanders makes an insightful claim about any number of subjects, while Clinton's answer is either idiotic or blatant pandering. This NPR article does a good job explaining how sexist the meme is: "...it plays into insidious stereotypes about women: that they can't be funny, that they are calculating, stiff and that they are inherently unlikable." I completely agree with that assessment of the meme. I don't see why so many Sanders fans insist on smearing Clinton--although I suspect it says more about current Internet dynamics than it does about Sanders supporters in general. Still, the prospect of being lumped in with a group of people who think that meme is funny makes me gag a little.

I also object to the criticism that Hillary Clinton is too "establishment." Or rather, I object to the idea that Bernie Sanders isn't "establishment." Yes, he is a Democratic Socialist, and that political philosophy makes him very different from Clinton. However, he's served in Congress since 1990. How much more establishment does it get? He's a career politician. I can't help but respect Hillary Clinton. She's been playing what has been traditionally considered a man's game for years, and she's been playing it better than most of the men. True--it's not the best game to play. It's a corrupt game, full of trade-offs and lies and secrecy. But that's just what politicians do, for the most part. And I think it's impressive that she does it so well.

Here's the other thing: if Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee, the country is not going to explode. I'm confident that she can beat Donald Trump--or any of the potential Republican nominees, for that matter. The changes she proposes will not be as radical, and that will be a shame. But she'll stand up for women's rights, for civil rights. She won't be fighting in the wrong direction, at least. And if Bernie Sanders gets the nomination, it's likely he won't be able to do a single thing he promises to do. It's hard to have a political revolution with a Republican-dominated Congress blocking your every move. If Sanders gets the nomination, it will be crucial that liberals dominate the next midterm elections, or else his presidency will make little difference.

That's mostly all I had to say. Here is a beautiful ALL-CAPS RANT that says it better than I do. Happy election season, everyone.

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