The Great Debate: The Cases for Sanders and Clinton

Who will win: Democratic-socialist or establishment?

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” Likewise, in today’s election cycle, Hillary is the worst presidential candidate, except for all the others. So, with reluctance, I plan on casting my ballot in favor of electing another Clinton.

I’m not one in favor of polarization, but at least for this election, there’s no way in heaven that I’m voting Republican. On one hand you have the extremism of Cruz and Trump. Trump espouses hate speech while has almost no plans for America besides making it great again. And to top it off, he has no political experience, or even political knowledge for that matter. And then there’s Cruz, the evangelical who advocates for carpet-bombing ISIS-held territory (no matter the civilian toll), dismembering the IRS and the Department of Education, defunding many programs including many climate-change related ones, among a host of other ill-advised (to say the least) policies. But when we turn to the so-called establishment candidates, they don’t hold much more promise. The rhetoric is all too similar for too many of them: hard power, minimizing the importance of climate change, cutting taxes, ect. More specifically, Marco Rubio has too little experience and too many scandals (not showing up to vote often and using the Republican credit card for his own expenses come to mind), Chris Christie overestimates his abilities (being a federal prosecutor doesn’t make you a savior), and Jeb Bush lacks confidence (he can’t even get people to clap for him). With this being said, for the record, John Kasich doesn’t sound half bad on a good day.

So now I’m down ten or so candidates and left with two: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Although I agree with Sanders on many of his proposals, his lack of foreign-policy knowledge and shady gun control record coupled with his expensive (to say the least) and idealistic policies cause me to hesitate. And did I mention that many of his proposals, such as tuition-free public universities and single-payer healthcare systems, have next to no chance of being passed by Congress? Even if Democrats sweep both houses next political cycle, many Democrats will balk at voicing support for such measures. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton espouses many of the same policies, albeit to a less extreme scale, and has a better chance of actually following through on them. If Republicans dominate the houses, no Democratic president stands a chance, but with a more moderate or liberal Senate and House of Representatives, Clinton can rally the support of the Democratic establishment and hope for slight majorities to pass through important legislation. In this sense, it seems as if Clinton really is the heir to Obama and is ready to take to continue his work. And to console Bernie supporters, a vote for Clinton doesn’t spell the end to liberal change, as his democratic-socialist positions on for example economics and education have forced Clinton further to the left, leading her to become a sort of synthesis between moderate and leftist.

As many candidates have been alluding to this campaign, this race comes down to experience. And let’s face it –Clinton decisively wins here. Starting out as a First Lady, she advised a president before becoming a Senator for New York and later the Secretary of State, meaning that she has been involved in high political positions for decades, has helped push through legislation, and most importantly, has forged relationships with other world leaders. Independents, senators, and governors resumes’ simply don’t stack up the same. Some use her experience against her, as she voted for the Iraq War and helped orchestrate the failure that now is Libya, but I would rather have a seasoned veteran in foreign affairs acting as commander in chief than the trigger-happy, pro-hard power Republican Party or Bernie Sanders, whose claim to fame is voting against the Iraq War once upon a time.

Mrs. Clinton doesn’t come without her own baggage though. With a slew of scandals, from eyebrow-raising campaign donations from foreign governments to FBI email investigations, not yet quite behind her, for the past few months (even years), Clinton has been on the hot seat. This is arguably her biggest fault, as a voter desire for transparency and honesty has partially fueled the rise of populists Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. But in the end, this wave of scandals, if it ever passes, may end up hardening her resolve and testing her for future confrontations.

At the end of the day, no one likes a liar. But I also don’t like incompetency, unreasonably idealistic promises, inexperience, bumbling rhetoric, and hate speech. A vote for Clinton may not “Make America Great Again,” but at least we can reasonably expect four plus years of a battle-tested leader ready for action.

But on the other hand….

Bernie Sanders has been on the rise for a reason. His bold proposals frankness with the American people have ignited a voter base that desperately wants change in the Oval Office. Couple this with the fact that Sanders has remained remarkably consistent on important issues such as wealth inequality and the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership and he seems a preferable option to the political weather vane that is Hillary Clinton. Americans trust only him to take on Wall Street, the billionaire class, and the corruption in Washington. Many see Clinton as the product of the system but view Sanders as an experienced outsider who can bring necessary change. His policies are undeniably idealistic, but he has laid out step-by-step plans to accomplish his economic, political, environmental, and foreign goals. He even lays out how he will pay for all of this.

When compared to Hillary Clinton, many point to the fact that Sanders lags behind Clinton in the experience department. However, Sanders served as mayor for one of Vermont’s largest cities, sat in the House of Representatives and Senate for literally decades, and played a major role in many committees such as the Veterans’ Affairs and Energy and Natural Resources Committees. And we must remember that just seven years ago, we told ourselves that Obama could never become president because of his undecorated record, yet he still proved to be an adept leader from the beginning.

In the end, America is no Sweden nor Denmark, but maybe a dose of Democratic-Socialism is the medicine that America needs.

Who should win? You decide. Take a moment and let us know your thoughts by clicking on this link and registering your vote.

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