I am going to be honest. I don’t support Hillary Clinton. I think she is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall St. I think she makes Mitt Romney look like a rock of consistency and that she will do or say anything to get elected. I think she is republican light and her recent lurch of populism to the left is a front to get elected and after elected she will go back to the policy of fiddling around the edges of issues to be able to say she is enacting policies while really doing nothing to disrupt the status quo.
All of that being said, I would still vote for her over any of the Republican candidates. However, that vote would be voting for the lesser of two evils. It is not that she presents something to vote for, it is that the Republican candidates represent so much to vote against.
I know that Hillary has a lot of supporters. Obviously, as she is the front runner in the Democratic primaries. I think that there is a large portion of the liberal crowd who feel like I do. I don’t think that she will garner a huge amount of enthusiasm in the general election as Bernie Sanders would. I think that a very large swath of liberals will be enthusiastic about being against whatever Republican candidate emerges. Particularly considering who the Republican front runners are and what their policies are.
I debate several fairly hardcore conservatives on an almost daily basis. These people are not your caricature of a Tea Party fool or religious zealots. They are intelligent and thoughtful people who bring a lot of insight into their position on topics. We don’t agree on a lot of topics, but it is fun to debate them and I learn a lot about how the “other side” views the world.
I can tell you that the “other side” has a very visceral reaction to Hillary Clinton. They view her the same, or worse, than the people on the left view Dick Cheney. They would rather vote for Vladimir Putin running as a illegal immigrant on a platform of repealing the second amendment and declaring himself emperor than to see Hillary Clinton elected president. There is very little that is more galvanizing of the people on the right than to be against Clinton.
Bernie Sanders has one big knock against him. The “socialist” label. It doesn’t help that he declares himself as a democratic socialist. The right has spent 50 years programming their base to view the word socialist as a dirty word that is only spit out with extreme venom. We know that people, particularly the Republican base, don’t understand the nuances of democratic socialism compared to the socialism of a hippy commune or even the difference between socialism, communism, and fascism.
That is the downside to Bernie Sanders. However, when you get past the label and talk about specific policies, a lot of conservatives actually kind of support many of Sanders’ policies.
The thing is, the word socialist is the only thing that Republicans have to hold over Sanders’ head. They cannot argue that he is the most honest and consistent candidate of both parties. They cannot say that he is bought and paid for. Even though they may not agree with his policies, they cannot say that he is not, at heart, truly fighting for the working class. He has no history of scandals, past or present.
As for the socialist label, you have to take that with a grain of salt. Obama was labeled as a socialist. Clinton will be labeled as a socialist. Considering how far right the Republican party has lurched, Ronald Reagan would have to run as a Democrat these days and would be labeled a socialist. Anybody who runs on the Democratic ticket is going to be labeled as a socialist. Sanders just owns the label instead of fighting it.
If you have an election of Clinton vs Trump/Cruz/Rubio, it is going to be extremely ugly. I believe that the vast majority on both sides will be fighting tooth an nail just to prevent the other side from winning. It won’t be an election of believing in a candidate at all, on either side. It will be an election of visceral hatred of the candidate of the other side being viewed as Darth Vader.
I believe that conservatives, particularly in recent years, are more easily fueled by that negativity and turn out in large numbers, while liberals tend to be more put off by voting for the lesser of two evils. Liberals flat out have more numbers. That is a fact. However, conservatives tend to vote in higher percentages. Low voter turn out results in conservatives winning consistently. High voter turn out results in liberals winning.
In the general election, enthusiasm to vote for someone bodes well for Democrats. Enthusiasm to vote against someone bodes well for Republicans. On the conservative side, Clinton is viewed as the spawn of Satan. I believe that there is a massive gap between the feeling of voting against Clinton and voting against Sanders on the conservative side. While many conservatives don’t support Trump’s message of fear and bigotry, I think they will gladly vote for that just to ensure that Clinton never gets into office. The same cannot be said for Sanders. While they may not like him, that visceral hatred inspired enthusiasm is missing. With no scandals or skeletons to exploit, they are left with a genuine policy debate. Those conservatives and independents who are more centrist may not support Sanders policies, but openly reject the Trump style of hatred politics.
The call that Sanders is not electable is coming from the Democratic establishment, who have spent the last 4 years gearing up for a Clinton candidacy. The idea that the DNC is openly rooting for and pulling strings to ensure a Clinton candidacy is one of the worst kept secrets in Washington. From the schedule of debates to lining up super delegates for Clinton prior to even declaring candidacy, the DNC, and in particular DNC Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz who was Clinton’s campaign chair in 2008, have hardly been a neutral broker.
The entire Republican line-up is gearing up to run as anti-Clinton. Their entire strategy is built around running against Clinton. Bengazi, the emails, the list goes on and on. Clinton has enough skeletons in her closet to fill a battlefield graveyard and all of those are going to be fair game. Republicans have spent the last 4 years whipping their base into a frenzy that is frothing at the mouth to crush Clinton. Without her, all they have is a label of socialism and a platform of hatred and bigotry and trickle down policies that people are seeing though more and more.
In my opinion, based on all of the above, Sanders is far more electable than Clinton will ever be.