Many people I respect greatly support Hillary. This leads to conversations (arguments?) as to why I think Bernie is a better choice than Hillary. Often these conversations are frustrating because I do in fact respect these people, but also because despite saying over and over again that I really don’t care how realistic Hillary’s policies are over Bernie’s, it keeps coming round to how realistic Hillary’s policies are over Bernie’s.
So let me repeat, I don’t care how realistic Hillary’s policies are over Bernie’s. I don’t.
The way I see it we can elect Hillary who might make minor changes, but nothing meaningful and worse, not even set a meaningful narrative or we can elect Bernie who might try to get meaningful changes, only get minor or no changes, but at least start the path toward a meaningful narrative.
Is Bernie going to break up the banks? No. Is Hillary even going to champion breaking up the banks? No. Is Bernie going to end the revolving door corruption of Washington? No. Is Hillary going to even champion ending the revolving door corruption of Washington? No. Is Bernie going to end the influence of big money in Washington? No. Is Hillary going to even champion ending the influence of big money in Washington? No. Is Bernie going to enact “single payer”? No. Is Hillary going to even champion “single payer”? No. Finally, is Bernie going to end our endless war? Actually maybe. Is Hillary going to even champion ending our endless war? Hell no.
So when their presidency is done and over, what message will the public be left with? Will “liberal” be any less of a dirty word?
To that end, to me at least, Bernie is more realistic – because the only way we can make real change is to change minds and the only way to change minds is to get a different message out. Hillary is not going to change the message. It will still be just as “unrealistic” to aim for these ends after she leaves as it is when she gets in. We have effectively gotten nowhere.
I also think this may be a basic difference in how we look at the current state of the nation. If you think the fundamental direction of the nation is basically “ok” but needs a few tweaks, then by all means I see your vote for Hillary. However, if you feel that the country is heading in an ugly direction with greater and greater inequality, where the average American lives in uncertainty and fears to meet the basic necessities, where war is endless, where democracy looks increasingly like a sham, then it’s time to aim higher. “Better than the Republicans” is not good enough.
To me at the moment the Republicans and the Democrats are two buses going to the same station, the only difference being the Democratic bus is going slower and smells better. It may be that Bernie isn’t going to change the direction of the bus any more than Hillary, but he’ll at least get the passengers to think about trying to.