Why I’m Supporting Hillary Clinton Over Bernie Sanders
Disclaimer: this is not a Bernie Sanders attack piece. I hold Senator Sanders in high regard, and deeply respect his morals and values. I recognize that Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton share many of the same goals when it comes to where our country should be headed, and I believe in those goals. However, due to his lack of foreign policy qualifications, I believe that Senator Sanders can best help our country by serving in a capacity that is more focused on domestic policy, which is undeniably where his expertise and passion lie.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both have much to offer as candidates for president. Both understand that our society faces a slew of problems at home that must be addressed now, and both are impassioned advocates for a more fair and just America. Yet despite the strengths they share, I can’t help but feel that Senator Sanders is only half a candidate.
Make no mistake: Senator Sanders is a man of bold ideas when it comes to some of our most pressing domestic issues. While his proposed solutions may not always be practical, they show that he is willing to radically reimagine some of the basic assumptions of our society in order to bring justice to those who have been denied it.
But these issues only speak to one side of the presidency. Senator Sanders has unique ideas and a clear vision when it comes to domestic policy, but when it comes to foreign policy, he has little of substance to offer. The president of the United States must build a healthy nation at home, but he or she must also guide that nation through the often treacherous waters of international geopolitics—and in this arena, it’s clear that Hillary Clinton totally eclipses Bernie Sanders.
The fact of the matter is this: Secretary Clinton’s resume is rich with diverse experiences in a way that Senator Sanders’ is not. Her history as first lady, then a senator, and then secretary of state have yielded a deep understanding of the world that Senator Sanders simply has not demonstrated.
Luckily for the senator, there seems to be a prevailing opinion that whatever Bernie lacks in foreign policy acumen, Hillary lacks in devotion to the fundamental problems that are eroding American society. I might even concede that Senator Sanders is more devoted to a particular few of these issues than Secretary Clinton, if only by virtue of the fact that they seem to receive the vast majority of his attention and interest. But the notion that because her candidacy is not entirely consumed by these issues, Secretary Clinton does not share Senator Sanders’ zest for social justice, does not seem fair in the least.
Nor is it accurate in the least. Secretary Clinton’s campaign—to say nothing of her illustrious career in public service and advocacy—amounts to a comprehensive embrace of intelligent, practical ideas that, in addition to reflecting a deft grasp of world affairs honed during her tenure as secretary of state, shows a tenacious determination to extend greater justice to all corners of our society. For years, she has been advocating for many of the same causes that in this moment seem exclusively associated with Senator Sanders: a safer banking industry, wider access to quality education and healthcare, and campaign finance reform are a few.
Review both candidates’ words and actions, and one quickly sees that this image of Bernie as the sole warrior of the people is more popular perception than fact; the two candidates are in virtual lockstep on the goals they set for our society. Both have fought consistently for the same values of equality and fairness over their decades in public service, and both deserve to be taken at their word when they defend these values.
Where the candidates actually differ is in their understanding of the world around them. While Secretary Clinton is engaged and concerned with the United States’ role in the world, Senator Sanders has demonstrated a lack of proficiency—or, perhaps worse, interest—in matters of foreign policy. That is of grave concern, as the United States’ centrality on the world stage brings with it often-conflicting responsibilities that must be navigated by a president who is prepared for the challenge. Senator Sanders is a steadfast leader on issues of social justice, but nominating a candidate with such a narrow field of expertise would be a dangerously shortsighted move.
There are, of course, those who see Hillary Clinton’s experience as secretary of state as a red flag rather than an asset, with Libya being a favorite cautionary note. To them, I make one final point: when it comes to diplomacy, I’d prefer an experienced candidate who was largely successful—but learned from their mistakes—to one who has never had the opportunity to make a mistake.
Secretary Clinton’s candidacy may not be as exciting as Senator Sanders’; it may lack that certain je ne sais quoi, as one cannot ‘feel the Hil’ in the same way that one can ‘Feel the Bern.’ Yet, campaign slogans notwithstanding, it’s the better choice in this election. Let’s elect one of the most qualified candidates in recent history to the presidency, and keep one of the most inspiring in a position where the country can benefit most from his vision and passion.