Whelp, it’s over folks. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has made history by becoming the first woman to (officially unofficially) clinch the nomination for a major party’s presidential ticket. While I’ve been vocal in my support for Sen. Bernie Sanders over the former Secretary of State, Clinton’s nomination is nonetheless an awesome and historic moment in U.S. history.
Think about it: it took until two-thousand friggin’ sixteen for the United States to get a viable female candidate for the highest office in the land. That’s frankly disgraceful, but to paraphrase an apocryphal quote from Winston Churchill: Americans always do the right thing after they’ve exhausted all the other options.
Now that that’s said and done, let’s be blunt here: Hillary Clinton, for all of her history-making achievements, is a flawed candidate. The fuel that’s driven her rival Bernie Sanders’ movement from day one has been a burning desire — nay — a NEED, to have a genuinely liberal, genuinely left-wing candidate leading a genuinely progressive movement within the Democratic Party — a party that for the last several decades has morphed into a right-of-center, neoliberal, milquetoast alternative to the positively insane, borderline anarcho-capitalist monstrosity into which the Republican Party has devolved.
Much like her husband before her, Hillary Clinton embodies this New Democrat, Third-Way neoliberal takeover of the party of Andrew Jackson and Franklin Roosevelt. Her coddling of the finance industry (as epitomized in multiple speeches to Wall Street firms for big cash payouts because “That’s what they offered,” the transcripts of which she refuses to release), her hawkish, bomb-the-brown people foreign policy, her support for Free Trade and the Iraq War, her only recent turnarounds on LGBT rights, and her almost obsessive dedication to status-quo, inside-baseball governmental incrementalism at the expense of righteous social and economic change all characterize a candidate who dares not to dream too big.
In American political parlance, Clinton’s refusal to challenge growing financial power structures morphs into various platitudes of “realism” and “experience,” phrases used by the power-fluffer and comfortable classes alike to stifle any fundamental change to a political system that’s fundamentally rotten to core.
For example, pundits and smug academics have spent the entire primary season lecturing youth voters who have overwhelmingly supported Bernie Sanders for their supposed naiveté, their unfamiliarity with how the system works, and their embracing of progressive ideology over neoliberal compromise.
Fair enough, but if young people lack enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton, it’s because Hillary Clinton has acted every bit the part of the scolding headmaster by lecturing to young voters that idealism is dead, and the dreaming big amounts to little more than sticking your head in the political clouds. It was Clinton, after all, who claimed that single-payer health care will “never, ever come to pass.” It was also Clinton who insisted that “not everything is an economic theory” while trying to tar Bernie Sanders as a “single-issue” candidate, as if the egregiously top-weighted, 1 percent-dominated, worldwide capitalist economic structure was an unwelcome opening act as opposed to the main damn event.
The huge age gulf between Clinton supporters and Sanders supporters is no coincidence. It’s rather easy for middle-age, middle-class Baby Boomers with retirement prospects, vacation homes, tenured professorships, and steady incomes to dismiss millennial concerns as the nattering nabobing of over-spoiled, politically infantile, socialist-eyed moppets. Of course, the irony of members of the most entitled generation in world history (who count the uber-privileged Donald Trump among their ranks) calling today’s young people spoiled is lost on those with money to spend and revolutions to squelch.
Telling millennial voters who are facing an unprecedented decline in secure employment opportunities, who are dealing with apocalyptic levels of student loan debt, and who will almost certainly be the first generation in American history who won’t be better off than their parents to suck it up, be realistic, and support the change-adverse Clinton campaign is insulting. It’s like telling a fish stuck out of water to be glad that it rains every few days.
But, thankfully for the neoliberal Clintonites out there, the Republican Party has managed to outdo their already impressive resume of derangement by nominating an unhinged, narcissistic, materialistic, race-baiting mini-Mussolini to be their party’s standard-bearer. That’s right: whenever your moral voting compass fogs up in America, our Aristotle-meets-lunatic asylum style of political circlejerking has a way of clearing up the glass cover.
With the prospect of the potential Trumpocalypse in mind, it’s imperative that everyone who supported the Bernie Sanders campaign go to the polls and vote for Hillary Clinton. We should do this not because she’s the best candidate, and not because she’s the candidate we want, but because the alternative is so horrifying that it makes choosing between the guillotine and the firing squad seem like a blessing in disguise.
It’s gonna be a long, hot summer indeed.