by Shawnee Badger
The Hill | 21 August, 2016
I used to think that the Democrats were the good guys and the Republicans were the bad guys. That’s why I’ve only ever been registered and identified as a Democrat. The Democratic Party is the party of social justice that looks out for the less fortunate, right? The party of the middle class, advocating for equality and progress, while the Republican Party, is … well … stuck in the distant past.
I was correct about the Republican Party. But I was incredibly wrong about the Democratic Party. Yes, I’m a Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) supporter — specifically, I was a California delegate to the national convention. Yes, I’m also a millennial. No, I will not be supporting Hillary Clinton this November.
And also, let me clarify, no, I’m not a man. So don’t call me sexist.
And now, the question on many progressives’ minds: Can Clinton, the Democratic nominee, represent progressive voters and issues important to progressives?
No. She can’t.
What is so un-progressive about Clinton, you ask?
Where do I even begin?
She won’t ban fracking or implement a carbon tax. She formerly enthusiastically pushed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), once calling it the “gold standard.” She is funded by lobbyists for private prisons. She led the charge for violent, deadly and destructive regime change in Libya and Syria and supported the coup in Honduras.
She is against reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act. She is not a transparent politician; if she were, she would have released the transcripts of her speeches that she gave to Wall Street events — which by the way, must have been sheer, utter genius, considering how much she was paid to give those speeches.
She supported the 2008 Wall Street bailout. She supports the former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.). She is not only pandering to Republicans for their support, but she is seeking the endorsement of President Nixon’s former secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. She favors a federal $12 minimum wage, rather than $15.
She is pro-death-penalty. She appointed pro-TPP, pro-fracking former senator, Ken Salazar(Colo.), as chair of her presidential transition team. She is open to constitutional restrictions on abortion. She has deep ties to Wal-Mart, and served on its corporate board during the ’90s. Wal-mart has also been a big campaign donor.
The list goes on: Her international arms deals as secretary of State. Her campaign finance scheme where some state parties are “essentially … money laundering conduits,” as Politico reported. Her campaign’s involvement with the Correct the Record super-PAC.
Her support of the war in Iraq (and let me be very clear: she is a war hawk); her advocacy of a no-fly zone in Syria, and her call for more U.S. special forces there. Her refusal to embrace single-payer universal healthcare and her acceptance of donations from pharmaceutical and health insurance companies.
BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. We interrupt this article to remind you that it seems that the Clinton Foundation gave donors access and influence in the State Department, when Clinton was secretary of State!
Remember when Clinton was against gay marriage until 2013?
I know what you must be thinking: “I thought Clinton was a Democrat … ”
Ignore the fact that she voted for a barrier between the United States and Mexico (sound familiar?).
I know what you’re thinking, “But, but, but — all her recent speeches and statements seem progressive. Look at her nomination acceptance speech.”
I hate to burst your bubble, but Clinton cannot be trusted — from big issues, like lying aboutemailing classified information from her private server, to small things, like lying about coming under sniper fire.
I mean, why pick a pro-life, pro-offshore-drilling, pro-TPP white male as your vice president if you want to unify with Sanders supporters?
It’s clear why: Because Clinton cannot represent the progressive vote and, guess what? Neither can the Democratic Party. Not anymore.
Now, maybe you’re thinking that it’s Clinton and her crony politics that are the problem, not the entire Democratic Party. I’ll give you that. It’s not the entire party. It’s just too much of the party to make staying and fighting worth it.
It’s like a good friend of mine says: It’s an abusive relationship. You know it is so unhealthy to stay with this abusive person and that you deserve better. You know in reality that this person are not going to change. Yet, you stay.
Why? Fear is at the core.
You stay, that is, until that magical day when enough is enough. Well guess what, my friends? That day has come. Hope can be a beautiful thing. Hope can also be extremely destructive and blinding.
For me, that moment came when the DNC and Wasserman Schultz colluded against Sanders, stacking the deck against him and manipulating the odds in favor of Clinton during the Democratic primary. That was the moment when enough really became enough. Clinton and the entire Democratic establishment are antithetical to the foundation of the United States and to true progressive values.
Now, don’t get me wrong. By all means, support your down-ticket Berniecrats and progressives. However, I really think it’s time that we revolutionaries shift away from the two-party system, because honestly, both parties are just destructive tidal waves of corruption — tidal waves that, this time, climate change is not responsible for.
That is why, this November, I will reject the lesser of two evils and I will fight for the greater good. I will support Green Party nominee Jill Stein, not because she’s a woman or because I’m scared of GOP nominee Donald Trump, but because she’s a true champion of progressive values.
Remember, votes are earned, not owed.
Badger is a model and actress from Santa Clarita, California. She served as a Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Follow her on Twitter @shawneebadger.
The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.