I’m not sure I’m yet ready to have a change of vote but I am sure I’ve had a change of heart as a result of two things that have crossed my desk in the past 48 hours vis a vis the November Presidential election.
First, I read a very long article on the openly partisan Democratic Party mouthpiece blog Daily Kos that is the most reasoned and lucid defense of Hillary Clinton I’ve ever read. The journalist friend who shared it with me — who is decidedly not pro-HRC or, for that matter, much of a progressive — labeled it a “must read.” He doesn’t play that card often and every time he has, it’s proven worthwhile. So I took his advice.
The crux of the piece is that Hillary Clinton’s reputation for being scandal-plagued, dishonest and untruthful is not well-deserved, nor supported by a look at the evidence. There’s a lot of detail here and it would be an injustice to attempt to summarize it in so brief a space. Suffice to say the writer makes a very convincing case that, as he succinctly put it:
[T]he one thing that seems to most negatively and consistently affect public perception of Hillary is any attempt by her to seek power. Once she actually has that power her polls go up again. But whenever she asks for it her numbers drop like a manhole cover.
In other words, she’s a victim of pretty blatant sexism. Compared with male politicians with similar records, experience and public-service longevity who happen to be male, she is far more often a victim of intense and often-unfounded criticism.
Second, I’ve been following the development of the Democratic Party’s 2016 platform and, frankly, I’ve been astonished at the inroads into the policy positions and philosophical statements the Bernie Sanders contingent has been able to realize in a still-in-process draft. A big part of his policy positions have been incorporated into the platform without much dilution. There are still areas of disagreement and gaps but it is encouraging to see the party of my entire adult life taking progressive viewpoints as seriously as they appear to be this year.
Don’t get me wrong. I have been around politics long enough to know that a platform is hardly a binding document. Candidates often distance themselves from their party’s platform during the campaign and seldom even attempt to accomplish all of the platform’s promises after they are elected. Still, this is far and away the most progressive platform the Democrats have adopted (assuming they do) in at least two generations. It is indeed heartening.
So I conclude that perhaps it’s time for me to re-examine my decision to stay out of the party to which I was loyal my entire adult life until 2012 and convert to the Green Party. One of the primary blockades to that re-thinking is the Democratic Party’s take on the global climate change crisis. As the top of my blog says, it’s the only issue worth writing or talking about (and using as a basis for voting). While the Democrats are much closer to what’s absolutely essential to avoid catastrophic results, it still falls short of what is really needed. The Green platform will be on target to do what we as a nation need to do to do our part in minimizing the risks and costs of climate change.
Still, the Democrats have moved a considerable distance and I am ready to admit I have judged HRC too harshly without a serious examination of the entire factual background. It is clearly not fair to paint her with the wide brush her husband certainly earned.
A closing note. What if Hillary picks Cory Booker as her running mate? That could nudge me even farther in the direction of the Democrats. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are off the table, I’m sure. But Booker could bode very well for the near-term future of the party. His only drawback is his state-pulling power is in New England, just as Hillary’s is. But in this cycle, that may not matter.