Over the weekend, I wrote a very long — at almost exactly 2,500 words, probably too long — essay about the current American political climate. Titled “The Rhetoric of Negativity,” the essay’s subhed promised to explain “why I’m supporting Hillary Clinton.” I think I achieved this! But while I do support her and expect her to be the Democratic nominee for the US presidency, I’ve learned some things about Bernie Sanders over the last few days that would make me very happy to vote for him instead.
Sanders’s rhetoric of “revolution,” of figuratively blowing up the current systems, should be very pleasing to me, but as I noted in my essay, “a drastic uprooting of the American system is not going to happen.” And since so much of the country would strongly oppose such a disruption, that’s probably a good thing. The trick, then, is figuring out how to solve the problems our country faces — like access to quality health care, especially for women; economic injustices; racial inequities in the economic and justice systems; ecological devastation — within the framework of the United States as currently constituted.
For all his talk, Sanders knows this. Some of his policies are, certainly, impracticable, but when you start to actually look at his policy papers they’re much more realistic than one might expect. So that’s good. (Though that same realism means there is almost no chance he achieves his stated aims.) My largest issues with Sanders continue to be his supporters, who are by-and-large kind of annoying to a curmudgeon like me, and his age. He would be 75 upon taking office, 79 by the end of his first term. Hillary is even too old for me, but she is still six years younger.
On the Republican side, Rubio is now done, which is probably good. He was a subtle sort of evil, as opposed to Trump’s and Cruz’s explicit lunacy. Kasich is now the most mainstream of the candidates, and surely it would be good for the Republicans and the country if, somehow, he was the nominee. He’s fairly moderate, though his decision to defund Planned Parenthood is the worst sort of right wing fear-mongering, as doing so hurts women while having a negligible effect on abortions.
Consider this an addendum — an appendix — to that monstrous essay.