by Delphine Burns
Last Fall, the Ready For Hillary campaign bus made its way to CMC’s campus for students to gather and show support for Hillary Clinton. Students signed a sheet of paper agreeing to receive electronic updates about the campaign, and got to take home stickers and posters in return. I was among the students who showed up ready to display support for Clinton’s 2016 Presidential Campaign.
Then, Clinton had not officially declared she would be running for president, but many were hopeful, including myself. I’ve always thought Clinton has been a strong political voice and has shown immense competency. Problems aside, she’s truthfully always been someone who has inspired me.
However, as time went on and we continued to near the 2016 Presidential Election, I grew skeptical of Clinton. I was not alone, as the general consensus of Pitzer students seems to be that Clinton is not liberal enough, too militant in foreign policy, and therefore will not have their vote.
When Bernie Sanders started gaining media attention, I was intrigued. I wanted to know more about this politician who seemed to actually embrace the far-left political views I tend to identify with. Finally, a candidate, who did not believe socialism was a bad word, had emerged.
I watched interviews with Sanders and enjoyed his spirit. I appreciate his recognition of widespread inequality, and that he is not a militant leader. The way he speaks is no doubt inspirational, and I quickly decided he was the candidate for me. Evermore skeptical of Clinton and her lack of outrage with the growing inequality in America, I covered up my Ready For Hillary sticker with a random sticker I had in my desk. I was ready for Bernie.
But, here we are, almost a year since I first started really supporting Clinton and maybe six months after I changed my mind and supported Sanders. And I’ve changed my mind again. I’ve been watching interviews with both candidates, and obviously also watched the first Democratic debate last week, in which both Clinton and Sanders tackled some difficult questions. Although I recognize my opinion might change several times again before Election Day, for now my mind has changed back.
Here at Pitzer, this is an unpopular opinion. But if the election were tomorrow, Clinton would have my vote. Although Sanders is enraged about the very issues in America that enrage me, and although he speaks of a better tomorrow and revising these issues, he’s not extremely detailed about how he would do so. Clinton backs up her beliefs by detailing policies, and showing America more comprehensive strategies. As a Political Studies major, coherent policy is something I value highly in a candidate. I believe Clinton will get things done. I believe she will show America the progress it so desperately needs. And although I find Sanders competent, I find Clinton more qualified.
Having served as first lady, senator from New York, and Secretary of State, Clinton is experienced. There is no denying that. She has much experience in policy, and is capable of breaching party lines to make progress. I love Sanders’ rhetoric, but I love Clinton’s attention to detail and political transparency.
Sanders has played a valuable role in the Democratic primary by pushing Clinton to the left, and that is certainly necessary. However, although historically many of her policies have seemed moderate or maybe even conservative, she has evolved with the times. Many are critical of this evolution, believing that when a candidate changes their mind, it erases authenticity.
Personally, I see value in changing opinions. I know I’ve believed problematic things in the past, and so have we all. What matters is acknowledging problematic beliefs, and appropriately revising them. I see much more merit in identifying with a policy, educating oneself and realizing the policy is unjust, rather than just blindly opposing it. Clinton has edited her opinions time and time again, and is blamed by the media for being wishy-washy. I don’t think changing one’s mind when proven wrong is corrupt. I think it’s admirable. More politicians should be willing to be critical of their views and revise them when they become more educated.
If I were joining a revolution and electing someone to lead it, there is no doubt I would choose Bernie Sanders as my representative. However, since I’m electing someone to represent the United States and enforce comprehensive, strategic policies, I choose Hillary Clinton. Clinton is not perfect, but as of right now she has my vote.