I hope Bernie Sanders gets the Democratic nomination, but if he does not I will be voting for the Green Party (likely Jill Stein). The reason I will not vote for a mainstream candidate arises, ironically, from Bill Clinton’s first term. Unfortunately I was a naïve party line voter at the time so I voted for him because I believed that a Democrat would be better for the nation than a Republican.
Bill Clinton campaigned on a platform of health care reform, ending the ban on gays in the military, and many other “traditional” democratic values like civil rights (many of which I support). Yet once elected health care reform died; “don’t ask don’t tell” was put in place, rather than a true ban on anti-homosexual discrimination in the military (Clinton also signed the Defense of Marriage Act); civil rights were assaulted with the clipper chip proposal (forced use of telecommunications encryption that the government had a key to unlock), omnibus crime bills that added three strikes provisions, expanded death penalty crimes, limited the rights to review of said death penalty cases, and many other “law and order” rules.
Those are just some of the things that the “good Democrat” passed or proposed that I opposed. Sadly at the time I was in favor of NAFTA and welfare reform that President Clinton also shepherded into law. I still believe that free trade in principle is a good thing. However, it needs to be accompanied with worker protection for both foreign and domestic workers, environmental protections have to be included, and most importantly tax reform must be included. Taxes must be set up to make the people and corporations that benefit from these free trade agreements pay most of the additional profit towards the worker and environmental protections. Thus in reality I do not see hope for any free trade agreements to be made that I would support.
As for welfare reform, at the time I was a bit of an asshole and bought into the undeserving poor attitude that permeates out culture. Now I’m much more in line with Alfred Doolittle in “My Fair Lady” :
I’m one of the undeserving poor, that’s what I am. Now think what that means to a man. It means that he’s up against middle-class morality for all of time. If there’s anything going, and I puts in for a bit of it, it’s always the same story: “you’re undeserving, so you can’t have it.” But my needs is as great as the most deserving widows that ever got money out of six different charities in one week for the death of the same ‘usband. I don’t need less than a deserving man, I need more! I don’t eat less ‘earty than ‘e does, and I drink, oh, a lot more.
All joking aside it is true that those who are disadvantaged need more help from those who have excess. True welfare reform requires economic reform, educational reform, and ending institutional racism. The band-aid reform that politicians offer will not really fix the system, and will probably make it worse.
What I learned from Bill Clinton’s presidency is that the “good guys” whether Democrat or Republican are merely different sides of the same coin (elite workers for the plutocrats that run the country). Clinton and Bush Sr. were the same coin just different sides, same hold true for Bush Jr. and Obama, same held true for Kennedy and Nixon. Each side has talking points to inspire the mass of their base, but when they are in charge both sides primarily enact laws and policies that benefit the rich (i.e. the plutocracy).
Thus I have Bill Clinton to thank for illuminating that the Republicans and Democrats are just opposite sides of the same coin, the coin that helps the rich keep their coins. That is why I will not vote for Hillary Clinton, she is an employee of the plutocracy just like every other Democrat and Republican professional politician. With her there would be no real change, just as there was no change with Bill Clinton or President Obama.
Our only hope of real peaceful political change lies with Bernie Sanders, and maybe Donald Trump (I do not want the change that Mr. Trump would herald in). Unfortunately I can’t see how Mr. Sanders is going to be more successful in reforming Washington as President Carter was. Unless the Sander’s campaign is able to share their support with other non-mainstream candidates at the local and congressional level. That is what it will take to make real change, a complete dismantling of the current two party system. The first step in dismantling that system is to stop supporting it by voting for the mainstream candidate just because they are “the lesser of two evils”. Remember a vote for “the lesser of two evils” is still a vote for evil, which is why I will never vote for Hillary Clinton (not that she is evil per se, just a dutiful employee of the plutocracy which is itself evil).