As Hillary Rodham Clinton makes history, becoming the first female Presidential nominee, it seems that unless an independent candidate runs, or the Libertarian Party can provide a suitable candidate, voters are to going to be motivated to vote based on who they dislike more, as opposed to which candidate they agree with. Both Trump and Clinton have received record high un-favorability ratings – so the question remains, who is the lesser of the two evils?
Donald J. Trump has changed the game of political campaigning – dismissing policy talk, deflecting questions, insulting opponents and reversing positions. His lack of coherence on major policy issues, inflammatory statements – insulting women, the disabled and minorities – and his radical policy proposals – to default on US debt, ban all Muslims from entering the country, and build a great wall to keep out illegal Mexican immigrants – have made him a very unpopular candidate. To most, Trump is a loose cannon – nobody knows what he is going to say or do next – and this leaves many fearful of the consequences of a Trump presidency.
In contrast, Clinton has heaps of political experience – serving as a First Lady (of the USA and of Arkansas) to Bill Clinton, as a New York senator, and as secretary of state under President Obama. Clinton is a prominent figure in US politics, one we are used to seeing making policy. Unlike Trump, Clinton is not a loose cannon – she is an educated, measured politician who sticks to her talking points and toes the party line. Hillary is everything that Trump is not.
It seems as though Hillary is the obvious choice. Trump is loud, racist, and sexist, has no qualms about making inflammatory statements in public, and has no experience or qualifications for the position (he is neither a politician nor a successful businessman) – the negatives of a Trump Presidency are in our face, and he has made sure of it. The evil of Hillary Clinton, however, is much more nuanced, hidden in measured political speech, her inconsistent voting record, and her controversial past.
Crime Bill and Welfare Reform
Clinton does not publicly denounce all Mexicans as rapists and drug dealers, or make rash statements like “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys wearing yarmulkes… laziness is a trait in blacks.” Instead, Clinton’s racism is implicit in the legislation she arduously campaigns for, her disregard for racial issues, and her subtle discriminatory language.
The 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act – written by Joe Biden, championed by Bill Clinton and strenuously campaigned for by Hillary – was a ‘tough on crime’ legislation that had horrendous effects on minority communities in the US and also entrenched racial bias in our criminal justice system. It was legislation that took no account of a person’s circumstances, social upbringing or economic background. The ‘three strikes’ facility required harsh sentences, in most cases life sentences, for third time offenders, regardless of whether their first two convictions were for non-violent crimes. With African Americans occupying the lowest socio-economic status in society, this legislation lead to a disproportionate proportion of black incarceration. The Clintons also supported the 100:1 sentencing disparity for crack versus powder cocaine – a rule that worked heavily against poorer African Americans who more commonly used crack cocaine as opposed to whites who more commonly used the powder form.
In support of the 1994 crime bill, Hillary referred to black youths as ‘super-predators’ with ‘no conscience. No empathy.’ In her campaigning for welfare reform, she racialized welfare – portraying African Americans as the lazy recipients of welfare support despite the fact that most of the beneficiaries of welfare where white. In reference to black Americans receiving welfare, she pronounced “these people are no longer deadbeats.”
Not only is Hillary Clinton’s racism implicit in the legislation she supports and the subtleties of her speeches, it is seen in her blatant disregard for significant racial issues – neglecting to comment on Ferguson until three weeks later.
Policy Failures and Flip Flops
Hillary is far from the friend and advocate of racial minorities she claims to be, but this is not her only flaw as a candidate. Similar to her counterpart, Donald Trump, Clinton is well known for reversing her position on policy issues to accommodate her political agenda. Clinton has changed her position on almost all matters: education, healthcare, same sex marriage, gun control, energy – you name it.
The last time Hillary Clinton ran for the Presidency in 2008, she opposed same sex marriage, defended her decision to vote in favor for the war in Iraq and she criticized Obama for his support of gun control measures. Now, as the demographic of Democrat supporters has changed, so too have her positions – she has announced her support of gay marriage rights, criticized President George W. Bush for having ‘rushed us to war’ in Iraq, and now advocates for stricter gun control measures. She has reversed her position on such issues as the Keystone XL Pipeline – supporting it in 2010, and then reversing her position once widespread opposition to the pipeline grew in 2015 – and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) which she took a leading role in drafting as secretary of state, and called ‘the gold standard in trade agreements’, but later criticized it for not protecting American workers and proclaimed her opposition TPP in 2015.
Clinton has also changed her position on foreign policy issues. Despite her constant critique of Sanders and Trump’s lack of foreign policy capability, Clinton’s track record is abysmal. In 2002, she voted for the US invasion of Iraq and defended her position in the 2008 Presidential election. Later, she admitted wrongdoing and criticized the President for rushing the military conflict. Clinton later pushed for regime change and military intervention Libya, but then criticized Obama for destabilizing the nation. Clinton’s obsession with regime change in the Middle East doesn’t end with Iraq and Libya – she is now an avid proponent of a no-fly zone in Syria, arming Syrian rebels and overthrowing Bashar al Assad. Clinton’s constant advocating of regime change is a continuation of historic US foreign intervention that has led to the deaths of millions around the world.
Along with all her political failures, Hillary carries a great deal of baggage. Having been in politics for over 25 years, the Clintons – somewhat like the Underwoods – are no strangers to controversy. Hillary Clinton was a party to the Whitewater controversies of the Bill Clinton administration – accused of conspiring in the ‘Filegate’ and ‘Travelgate’ scandals. The Clinton Foundation has had an extremely dubious legal history, from the failure to file appropriate tax returns to the conflicts of interests between corporate speeches and philanthropic work. As secretary of state, Clinton has her failure to adequately handle the situation in Benghazi and the email scandal hanging over her head.
At the end of the day, Clinton is not the friend she pretends to be to the minorities of the United States. She has no consistency in her policies – constantly flip flopping on matters of national concern. She has an abysmal foreign policy record and a history of shady dealings, corruption and controversy that scream a warning to keep her away from the oval office. But Trump is no better – he is racist, sexist, inflammatory and clueless when it comes to policy issues. With Hillary in office we know what to expect – four years with more of the same shady establishment politics, foreign intervention and tax breaks for Wall Street. With Trump, we are in the dark – he has already back pedaled on some of his policy proposals, most of which sound implausible, and he has no consistency on many of his positions. By electing him we run the risk of having a childish and incompetent leader who runs the America – and potentially the world along with it – into the ground – but is it a risk worth taking given that he could ‘Make America Great Again’?
So it seems that there may exist no lesser of two evils when it comes to the current choices – if there is, it most certainly is not Hillary.
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