Single payer health care, expanded Social Security, paid family leave, free quality public colleges, lowered tuitions at private colleges, cheaper college loans that don’t hound you all the way to the grave, equal pay for equal work, $15 minimum wage – I want these things, however unreasonably expensive they sound. We are the people of America and these things would make our lives easier. Only one candidate offers to fight for these things and that is Bernie Sanders.
This is problematic because, although I like Bernie Sanders and feel he would make a fine President, he is not a woman (and this is only the first problem with Mr. Sanders.) It is high time we had a woman President in the U.S. and as fate would have it we have an experienced female, Hillary Clinton, who would also make a fine President. She, of course, has a problem because so many men want this job and they don’t like to see it opened up to women. They (men) keep trying to weigh Hillary down with responsibility for political upheavals that occurred when she was Secretary of State.
Here Ted Cruz gave us the most apt logical fallacy in this blame game. ‘Just because an arsonist and a fireman are both at the scene of a fire does not make them equally to blame for the fire.’ Hillary may have been Madame Secretary when Libya (the new cry now that Benghazi is not as effective) looked ready to emerge from a totalitarian state to a fledgling Democracy during that much touted “Arab Spring”, but I doubt that she caused these earth-shaking events or that she caused the “Arab Spring” to fail. She was guilty, perhaps of celebrating Libyan freedom prematurely as did many other people at the time who were ahead of the actual pace of historical change. We have forgiven many, many such misapprehensions in our male leaders.
Hillary is, on the other hand, not as progressive as I would like her to be. She is much more towards the center of the left. She will not try for single payer health care, I am betting, nor will she fight against income inequality through reforms to the tax code with the passion of Bernie Sanders, or even Elizabeth Warren for that matter. I doubt that she will make the fight to expand Social Security a high priority and she is not inclined towards free quality public college degrees. She is pragmatic which is both good and bad. She knows the make-up of our current Congress. She suspects that each of these laws that must be passed to help Middle Class Americans will be hard fought in this Congress, if they are brought up for a vote at all.
Bernie Sander’s goals are audacious given the fact that Congress is so “red” right now, so Republican. Hillary will not go for audacity. She will approach her agenda more mildly and in a spirit of compromise. Would she perhaps accomplish more if she went after an ideal middle class agenda with great passion? I don’t know the answer to that. Perhaps passion will be made to look foolish by those who currently inhabit our government houses and who are diametrically opposed to the Progressive agenda.
We have the further problem that our elected representatives seem to be using public office as a road to riches. If you can make a career in Congress and get elected over and over again you will be worth a fortune by the time you leave (and have a great pension to boot). Clearly it is not your government salary that will make you rich; it is your ability to wheel and deal while you “serve”. The people can see that this happens but we are not sure how to change it or even if it is advisable.
Do people who are lining their pockets serve us better than less greedy people would? If greed no longer motivates public service will talented people choose to serve? If there isn’t as much non tax-payer money in government will there be less to “trickle down” to us in the form of “earmarks”? Will frugal pay make our tax dollars serve us better?
Hillary is unlikely to tackle the issue of career politics or the fat proceeds to be had in a Congressional career. She, again, is too pragmatic. She is not a revolutionary in this sense. She herself is a career politician and turned a tidy profit within the system (no wrong-doing suggested). Bernie Sanders is far more likely to try to find ways to stop the political plundering that has become de rigueur in Washington. But I do not believe that Bernie can win the Presidency or that he could achieve much of his agenda even if he did win. And I want a woman in the Presidency before I am too old to appreciate it.
I therefore recommend that if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic primary she should choose Bernie Sanders as her Vice President. If anyone can nudge Hillary further left it would be Bernie. So that’s my choice for the Democratic ticket; Hillary Clinton for President, Bernie Sander for VP. Soon I will see if anyone else agrees with me.
By Nancy Brisson