Idealism vs Realism

In case you’ve somehow missed the media circus of the 2016 presidential race, there are more GOP candidates than pants in my dresser, and two major Democratic candidates: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.


There have been two worrisome surprises for me so far. The first is how racist the GOP candidates can be without losing ground in the polls. The second is how far Bernie Sanders has come.

You may be surprised to hear me call Bernie Sanders’ rise in the polls “worrisome,” so let me explain.

Politically, my views are much closer to Bernie’s than Hillary’s. He has a much stronger environmental and social record; he is campaigning almost(?) entirely on grassroots fundraising; he gives the impression of truly being willing to listen to what the people want. It is for almost those exact reasons that I will be voting for Hillary in the primaries.

Bernie is running on a platform of ideals. Social justice, carbon emissions reductions, restrictions on big banks, a more equitable tax system. It sounds great, but would he be able to achieve it? I doubt it. He has previously distanced himself from the Democratic Party, running for Senate as an Independent, and so it is unlikely that the Democrats in Congress will feel the same party loyalty that they would for someone who has always been a Democrat. Republicans are almost certain to challenge him at every turn. Both parties are likely to view him as too extreme. He would face opposition from every side, making it virtually impossible for him to get anything done.

By contrast, Hillary is much more moderate. Her proposals are for prescription drug price regulations, family leave, and gun control. She has foreign policy experience that will be invaluable in our global society. Democrats are loyal to her – in part because of her husband, but largely because she has a solid record. Republicans may not like her – especially since they’re trying to regulate her reproductive organs – but they will work with her. She knows to present herself as moderate and reasonable now, to get the swing voters along with the Democrats, but once she has been elected, she will be able to push for much bigger changes than Bernie could accomplish.

Environmentally and socially, I strongly support what Bernie is standing for. When the ballot for the primaries comes around, though, I’ll be voting for Hillary. I encourage you to do the same.

About ecosciencegirl

Professionally, I am a graduate student at The Evergreen State College in their Master's of Environmental Studies program, with a Bachelor's of Science from Southern Oregon University in Environmental Studies and Biology. I am a science instructor for GHF Online (Gifted Homeschoolers Forum) and I volunteer at the WET Center, a science museum in Olympia, WA. Personally, I am a young adult who is fascinated with the environment, loves to read and write, and adores all animals (especially cats). In general, I do a lot of climate change activism, and I'm passionate about social and environmental justice. Someday I would like to be a teacher, field researcher, and/or policy maker. If possible, I would also like to save the world from humanity.
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