“The upcoming election isn’t about detailed policy proposals. It’s about power – whether those who have it will keep it, or whether average Americans will get some as well.”
–Robert Reich, Former US Secretary of Labor1
Head v. heart, pragmatism v. vision
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the most experienced presidential candidate in the modern era and probably ever.2
Her most recent tenures as Secretary of State and Senator of a major state (New York) would forever be the first line of Clinton’s bio if the ride were to end here—already a longer resume than some former (and current)3 Presidents when they assumed office. As such, she understands foreign policy, the nuances of governing and institutional record more than anyone in the field, and will be the most prepared on day one to tackle the job.
As FLOTUS, she represented her husband’s more liberal 4 angels—universal healthcare, children and women’s rights. Before and throughout her stint as FLOArk, Clinton was highly politically engaged. It was during this time, she took up the fight—which she continues today—for women and children, all while playing “rainmaker” at her prestigious law and bringing home the bacon.5
Clinton’s broad experience and deep devotion to public service makes her an unimaginably qualified candidate. Her brand of pragmatism and “progressive doer” is vital to the health of the Democratic Party and American Civics. Hence our absolute, unqualified endorsement of her as Vice President of the United States and first alternate for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
In the preference of practicality, Clinton has eschewed a grand vision for America.6
Mario Cuomo7 famously said, “You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.”8 Hillary Clinton is all prose and pragmatism—even in this, her most important campaign. We need political leaders with Clinton’s breadth and depth of knowledge and experience; it’s the only way we’ll ever get anything done.
In the same breathe, the Luckswing Editorial staff strongly believes that a candidate asking to be President of the United States should have a clear and sweeping vision of tomorrow’s America. It is not only poetic, but vital to our self-determined national narrative, which, frankly, is one of the last vestiges of American exceptionalism.
There is only one candidate in today’s Presidential election cycle—on either side of the primaries—that understands that elections present opportunities, not only for peaceful political revolution, but to recast ourselves in the image of what we believe we should be. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) not only represents a normalization of progressive politics and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to correct the atrocity of big money in politics, he has real support and hard numbers that can be leveraged into instruments of political will.
A real shot
Let’s be clear upfront: though the odds have shifted dramatically in the last six months, a Sanders inauguration is still unlikely. The headwinds of change come strongest during election year, however, and here are four headwinds to heed from the last week alone:
- The 50-50 split in Iowa was a win. Hillary Clinton was ahead 30% in Iowa as little as four months ago.9 Make no mistake: that coin flips dominated the post-caucus narrative and not margin by which Clinton spanked Sanders is a major victory for the Democratic Socialist.
- New Hampshire is a lock. The generous University of New Hampshire pollsters had Sanders up 30, whereas the stingy Suffolk University number-crunchers10 him up 9, and Fivethirtyeight is giving the neighbor Senator a greater than 99% chance of victory.
- If money is speech, Sanders’ choir sings loudest.11 Sanders out-fundraised Clinton for the first time this cycle with $20M in January—$5M more than the Secretary. He certainly hasn’t closed the gap, but to put this feat in perspective, Clinton started the campaign with $47M in the war chest to Sanders’ $15M. His, at one point, novel fundraising model is gaining momentum too. He’s fundraised over $75M with over 3.5M individual contributions at an average of $27 and no PACs. The sheer number of individual contributions alone is unprecedented in American politics and makes its own case for populism.12
- Early states, momentum still matters as national poll numbers keep rising. A Quinnipiac University national poll released on Friday shows Clinton and Sanders in a virtual tie—44% to 42%, respectively.13 Six weeks ago, Quinnipiac had him down 61/30.14 The biggest difference? Sanders’ results in Iowa, of course! He outperformed expectations, which puts column inches and air time in his favor, which signals to the general political conscious that he’s electable because other people are doing.
The nomination is far from guaranteed, but if Sanders’ margin of victory in New Hampshire is substantial, then we’re off to the races.15
Unapologetic liberals are a thing now16
The rise of Sanders has coincided with the growing prevalence of unapologetic liberals and increasingly progressive political rhetoric.17 A chicken and egg situation to be sure, the fact remains his “for the people by the people” candidacy, campaign, and message resonates strongly within the liberal sweet spot.
Let’s pause to point out that in these flickering shadows of the Cold War,18 Sanders’ viability as presidential candidate is, without exaggeration, incredible. He was a child during the McCarthy19 years, and now he’s a self-proclaimed Socialist among the two most likely candidates to be elected President of the United States.
But more to the point of a more progressive America, socialism is gaining traction among young voters; a June Gallup poll showed that 60% of 18 to 29 year olds and 50% of 30 to 49 year olds would vote for a socialist.20
People are responding to Sanders’ radical politics. They’re contributing real money and showing up in the tens of thousands.21 Should this trend continue, his political world view no longer remains radical but becomes mainstream. His presence in the presidential political landscape validates an increasingly liberal electorate, and, like it or not, his presidency would normalize progressive policies and ideals, redrawing the very boundaries of mainstream national politics to the left.
The importance of aligning American policy to progressive ideals cannot be overstated, if only to set up Sanders’ political revolution.
We say we want a revolution
The 2016 Sanders political revolution is two-fold, and his thus far successful insurgency is the opening salvo and the proof of concept for perhaps the most important part.
Part 1: Socialism is totally okay
Liberal policies are good for Americans.24 More education opportunities,25 broader healthcare coverage, greater access to civil rights—there’s no way anyone says that every American citizen wouldn’t benefit from all of them. Surely, there are debates to be had on where the money comes from, but the fundamental values these policy outcomes represent are irreproachable.26
We stand with the most liberal candidate in the field27 because, in this moment, the evolution of our political consciousness requires it.
Sanders’ strain of socialism presents as myopic, so says the criticism. There’s virtually no foreign policy experience.28 His world view is limited to middle-class economics and income inequality.
To his critics: yes.
To Sanders: stay strong.
The question every Democrat and eventually every American voter has to answer is this: Is it middle-class economics and income equality the defining issue of our time? And can my vote in this election serve to preserve opportunity, meritocracy, and the American Dream?
We think it is, and we think your vote can.
Part 2: Nothing short of preserving American democracy
A Sanders presidency will net out the best and only real opportunity to take big money out of politics, thereby reinvigorating the democratic process and the very nature of representation.29
Academics, a former president, and anyone with working knowledge of a dictionary agree America’s trend towards oligarchy—as opposed to a true democracy. Power is concentrated among the rich. And thanks to the Supreme Court’s 2009 Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (FEC) decision, money equates to speech, safeguarding the system for wealthiest Americans to keep the loudest voices in the halls of government.
There aren’t many options when it comes to overturning a Supreme Court ruling, but the most definitive is through constitutional amendment.
If Bernie wins, a constitutional amendment stands a chance,32 and he’ll point to this cycle’s fundraising, volunteer, and voter support as the model for subsequent elections. A Sanders victory would be a signal to elected officials33 across the US that in they in fact have leverage against corporate interests; it would represent the eye in the heretofore unthreadable needle of big money in politics. It’s a chance to fundamentally alter the nature of representation through our republican democracy at the state and federal level.
There is absolutely no guarantee that an opportunity like this will arise in our life time. It’s incumbent on us to seize it.
- Incidentally, during the Bill Clinton administration. Quote comes from his endorsement of BS (spoiler alert!).
- For more, read the NYT Editorial staff’s perfectly sound endorsement of The Notorious HRC. Read an oped they foolishly passed on here.
- You still my boy, Barak. You know I got you. #OFA2012
- Read: better
- According to Wikipedia according to Carl Bernstein’s A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton, The Notorious HRC made more money than her husband every year from 1978 to when he was elected POTUS.
- The Notorious HRC and her staff would surely disagree, pointing to an Obama-like vision for America. But for many liberals, it’s not landing.
- New York Governor, 1983-1994
- Famous in the context of political junkies, not normal people who don’t inhale the latest approval/disapproval splits.
- According to RealClearPolitics’ poll aggregator
- Probably still smarting over being snubbed as the go-to spot to incite Vermin Supreme riots. That’s kind of a thing.
- Like Members-Church-of-God-International-gospel-choir loud.
- If you’re into that kind of thing.
- Within the margin of error.
- Full footnote disclosure: Public Policy Polling released a report on Thursday that showed The Notorious HRC up 53/32.
- Okay, not quite, but a quick hypothetical on the primary sequence of events that lands the BS nomination: A big double digit victory in NH gives BS a week and a half of “This Girl is on Fire” national media, which pulls him within single digits in Nevada. The BS campaign takes a close silver in The Silver State then should/will likely punt on South Carolina. Then one of two approaches to come out of Super Tuesday alive: 1) the stay alive approach: double down on non-southern states (CO, MA, MN, VT, VA) and remain respectable or 2) the throw a haymaker approach: turn out the black and minority vote in southern states (the strategy that worked for Obama, and is more feasible than pundits might allow because polling of black and minority voters is historically inconsistent/inaccurate and BS has a strong civil rights record that can win votes). Either way, FL and OH are both on the table at this point. If he wins one and keeps the other close, then he likely wins WI, which is a virtual tie today. Suddenly a Democratic Socialist candidate for president has most of the major swing states under his belt, and we’re going into the Democratic National Convention arguing about who won and what qualifies a win and how delegate counts aren’t representative of today’s democracy and that the whole damn model was created by paranoid newspapermen spooked about the Freemasons. Not kidding about the last bit. Primetime television here we come—now we’re off to the races!
- I’m one of them! Just try hanging “soft on crime” around my neck in 2016. What a time to be alive.
- If you disagree, are skeptical, or generally want to nerd out on this, read Peter Beinart’s dope piece in The Atlantic: “Why America Is Moving Left”
- Think a topless Putin bullying Crimea into giving him its shirt—not to wear, but so he can point and laugh a Gulag officers’ laugh at its puny, resource-starved arms.
- Not Paul. Joseph, a Republican Senator from Wisconsin who drug people before Congress, accused them of being communists and summarily ruined their lives. What a time to be alive.
- Compare that with the mere 34% of 65+ who would vote a socialist into the White House. Incidentally that’s the same percentage of 65+ year olds that know that their Social Security and Medicare benefits come from the federal government.
- Seriously, check out this August WaPo headline from when he was still a blip under the radar of the things The Notorious HRC aides had to worry about like which SNL skits to axe for being too aggressive and such: “100,000 people have come to recent Bernie Sanders rallies. How does he do it?”
- We know. Using this idiomatic language opens us up to “Bernie Bro” attacks, but before you do that, read Glen Greenwald’s well-researched takedown of that myth. Also, both our female counterparts love Bernie, so chill out, Gloria Steinem and Madeline Albright.
- Roiling under the overflowing cynicism and self-doubt is a wide-eyed bushy-tailed idealist, I swear it.
- It were liberal policies that pulled us out of both the Great Depression and the Great Recession.
- Real quick: Opponents of the BS campaign’s free public college proposal are quick to say something like, “Taxpayers shouldn’t paying for Donald Trump’s children to go college.” Well yes, because he’s rude, delusional and racist, but taxpayers would never pay for Trump’s kids to because they went to/are in UPenn (Wharton), UPenn (Wharton), Georgetown, and UPenn. Rich kids go to private colleges and universities. Like really though.
- Seriously, find me a Republican who says education or healthcare treatment or the right to vote for everyone is bad. And seriously seriously, find me a Republican who wants to talk state’s rights and allocation of federal spending. That should be a great debate.
- Big ups to being unapologetically liberal in 2016 and not feeling guilty about it.
- Another charge leveled against your main man, POTUS. Still love ya, Barak!
- During the 2012 cycle, US Representatives had to raise an average of $1.7M to win their seats. Each of their Senate counterparts had to raise $10.5M. The Notorious HRC and JEB! have raised—in conjunction but not collusion with their PACs—over $150M for their White House bids. In comparison, the median household income in America is just over $50K. Any campaign finance reform will lower barrier to enter the political class, which, you better believe means greater access to the political systems for minority, female, and LGBTQ voices. Take a moment to imagine an America wherein its representatives and their legislative agenda actually represented its citizens and what they cared about. This could be a real thing, y’all!
- Thanks, Obama!
- God this was so much easier when there were only 13 states and 50 land-owning white guys making all decisions.
- Only one constitutional amendment has been passed since 1971 and it was first proposed 200 years ago.
- Who, by the way, abhor fundraising for the obvious reasons. It’s already pretty hard to beg people for votes without asking for their cash too.