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Why I can't root for Hillary even if Bernie endorses her: Part II

It seems Hillary's interest in self preservation is more important to her than the principle she is actually fighting for Photograph: (WION)

WION USA Sep 22, 2016, 07.40 AM (IST) Pritesh Patel

Here is the second part of my first post, “Why I can’t root for Hillary”.  In this I break down the logic behind not supporting Hillary for the US presidency.  

First let me quantify a few qualities I believe a leader in this position should possess.  Among others, here are some important ones I will focus on:

  • Strength to lead
  • Builds trust
  • Above suspicion

Although I will not question the true character of a person without ever meeting them in person, we do have a decision to make.  The information we have to make that decision are: the work a candidate has done and the word he/she says. We try to relate that information to the characteristics we find important to be in that position. 

Strength to lead
The Madam Secretary has shown, on some very important issues that she does not lead the conversation when the topic is difficult. This can be seen pretty clearly on how she handled the decision about the Iraq War and her noncommittal position on equal rights for gay couples.  

She voted for the Iraq war even though she didn’t really want to send troops there. It can be seen in her senate speech, she voted for the war by saying “a vote for it is not a vote to rush to war but a vote to put awesome power in the hands of our president, and we say to him to use these powers wisely.”  She pretty much voted for the war because it was the popular thing to do, and then excused herself of the consequences of making that decision by laying it all on the president.  If it were only up to the president, why would you have a vote and why would the american people send you into office in the first place?

On the issue of gay marriage, it is easy to observe that she was adamantly against gay marriage on principle. She said in the senate, “I believe that marriage is not only a bond but a sacred bond between a man and a woman”. All of the sudden in a matter of a few years, it became very popular to fight for equality on this issue. Her argument changed overnight.  

The theme here is she follows and does not lead. It seems at times her interest in self preservation is more important to her than the principle she is actually fighting for.  

Builds Trust
This too is not hard to assess.  It is very well documented in polls that she is not one that people trust.  There is a sense of questioning her real intention behind what she says given her history of shifting positions.  

Furthermore, and maybe more importantly, part of the job of a leader is to be able to reach out to others who oppose your views to find common ground and move forward together. She is probably at the top of the list of people the opposing camp does not trust nor want to work with. In fact, she so states herself (sometimes with pride) that the opposing side has been after her for a very long time. Well, being an informed voter who wants to make progress, it would not be very smart to chose someone who the opposing side has almost not chance of getting along with to make progressive decision. It seems counter-intuitive to me to vote for her if we want to make progress and end the grid lock that already exists.

Above suspicion
To be a leader, you have to have a brand that people believe in. So lets just say we look passed the trust issues and reduced probability of working with the other side, what else does she have left in her brand?  Well, there just seems to be a number of scandals that are still waiting around to be addressed.  She doesn't seem to have a brand that can ever move beyond suspicion.  

First there is the corporate and Wall street money that floods her campaign contributions. We all know, no one is going to give someone millions of dollars and not expect anything in return. Thats pretty cut and dry.

Furthermore, she makes hundreds of thousands of dollars in speeches she gives to these corporate financial institutions. It doesn’t take a genius to realise its a “pay to play” type of game. When questioned about these suspicions, she obviously denies any of that money having any influence on her, yet she refuses to release the transcripts of those speeches. Public policy is not a game to be played for self-interest.  \If I was interviewed for a job and I'm asked to validate the courses I've taken or the work I've done, I don't have an option to deny that validation.  

Now lets get to the even more serious stuff like Benghazi, her email server with classified information, favours given to donors of the Clinton Foundation, etc.  You can read about them yourself and have your own opinions but the point is that there are so many scandals that it is hard to ever put her above suspicion.

Those are the reasons why voting for her just doesn’t make sense.  Some of the common rebuttals to my argument above are that a) a non-vote for her is a vote for Trump (who is probably worse) b) Its always been that way since politicians are hard to trust, so get over it c) There is more at stake, lets just get a woman up in the White House d) Its always a choice between 2 evils, pick your poison, the other is worse.  

Sure these are fair rebuttals.  So I will address all of them and others in the next article.  Stay tuned for part 3.

Pritesh Patel

The writer considers himself a true Millennial and has an interest in understanding how Millennial psychology will influence the world. He lives in Atlanta.

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