April 19, 2016

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Why We Support Hillary Clinton for President

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To the editor:

The media has devoted quite a bit of attention to Senator Bernie Sanders’ (D-Vt.) strong support among young people. As a group of progressive student leaders on campus, we want to take the time to explain why we plan on voting for Secretary Clinton in the New York primary on Tuesday.

Underpinning Clinton’s campaign is a keen and focused understanding of what it means to put together a platform. We hold candidates accountable for what they say they’ll accomplish if elected, which is why it’s so important that a candidate’s platform and positions be fundamentally grounded in reality. They don’t propose ideas in the context of a political system as it ought to be, they work through the system as it is, all the while striving to make the system better.

This is they key difference between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — Clinton doesn’t make promises she knows she can’t keep. Clinton understands that it isn’t right and it isn’t honest to promise free healthcare and free college when there are political realities that contort these proposals into pipe dreams. Even the most optimistic projections show the Republican Party retaining control of the House of Representatives in the next Congress. In a Republican-controlled Congress, Sanders’ single-payer healthcare plan and college affordability plan are dead on arrival.

As Democrats, we all share the same goals. We want to see more people have access to affordable healthcare. We want to empower people that might otherwise be unable to further their education. We want to address systemic racism by reforming the criminal justice system in a way that ensures everybody is treated equally regardless of what they look like or where they come from. But we also know that change doesn’t happen overnight. If we want to enact real change, we have to be pragmatic. We have to be honest.

Over the course of this campaign, Clinton has had her record as a progressive called into question. Her integrity. Her support from the “establishment.” Never mind that Clinton and Sanders voted the same way 93 percent of the time while serving in the Senate. Never mind that when Senator Sanders was asked to name a single vote influenced by donations Clinton received from Wall Street, he couldn’t. We reject these attacks through innuendo wholeheartedly. Which isn’t to say that Clinton has never made a mistake — far from it. But these phony attacks not only distract from the issues, they undermine the value of debate.

We agree that idealism is important in politics. It is important to question the status quo and push for progressive change. However, we cannot allow our ideals to blind us to basic practical truths. Idealism without regard to pragmatism, without compromise, is not a governing strategy. We deserve a president who can get the job done. We deserve more than quixotic rhetoric at the expense of meaningful change. President Obama serves as a reminder of this balance. While his rhetoric is inspiring, he uses it to offer pragmatic policies and goals.

Clinton is unquestionably the most qualified candidate to seek the Presidency in modern history. Her wealth of experience in public service as First Lady, as a United States Senator, and as Secretary of State makes for a distinguished record that speaks for itself.

Our primary goal moving forward is to see President Obama’s legacy protected and built upon. President Obama trusts Hillary Clinton’s judgment. We think you should too.


Billy Bristow ’16, president of the Cornell Democrats

Nate Jara ’16, vice-president of the Cornell Democrats

Elie Kirshner ’18

Millie Kastenbaum ’16

Note: The Cornell Democrats have not yet endorsed a candidate for president.

  • Kathleen Newton

    If Bernie Sanders costs the democrats the presidency in November due to his assertions about Hillary Clinton he will go back to being an independent (not democrat) senator from Vermont while the rest of us continue to be victimized by the new republican president and the obstructionist republican congress that has completely disregarded the citizenry for both of President Obama’s terms. He should seriously consider the ramifications of his assertions.

    • Ryan McHugh

      The Democratic Party is a rigged system within a rigged system. Bernie won’t be responsible and neither will his supporters. It will be because the DNC and the establishment actively tried to silence and degrade us. You, as a Hillary Clinton supporter, have the entire mass media giving you positive air time ALMOST ALL THE TIME. Go research David Brock, Correct the Record, Blue Nation Review and Anita Hill. Your candidate supported everything that was bad before she opposed it. It was too late to oppose it, obviously, because she had already supported it. Bernie Sanders didn’t support DOMA, DADT, NAFTA, the War in Iraq, the overturning of Glass-Stegal, She accepts money from those she claims she will fight to regulate, but all of that rhetoric only came when she was pushed to by Bernie and his supporters. Hillary Clinton is pro-fracking, get with the program.

  • bruce

    With Bernie, rain bows and lolipops things are sure to come your way.Really???its all wonderful what he proposes but in the real world with a republican congress pretty sure to be in power again.it just aint gonna happen.im sure Hillary knows this as seasoned as she is.i mean I luv x-mas and santa claus and the easter bunny isn’t bad either but come on!!!reality can be cruel but that’s the way it is.

  • Juan

    This letter is surprisingly bereft of substance. It is entirely unsubstantiated opinion. You speak of wanting to “reform systemic racism”, apparently ignorant of the fact that it was Bill Clinton (with Hillary’s support) who signed the 1994 Crime Bill into law. This law is largely responsible for perpetuating the systemic racism you speak of. Both Bill and Hillary eventually admitted it was a major error in judgment. You naively think that making incremental adjustments to an already broken system is better than setting a high standard of living and working towards it.

    If this is all you have to back up your position, you are clearly without an argument. I suppose Ivy League prestige doesn’t count for much anymore. This reads like a high school sophomore’s essay.

    Best of luck with your student loans (if you have any).

    • Grace

      Juan, Bernie also voted for that very same 1994 Crime Bill when he was a representative in the House of Reps… So with your logic I could say the same thing about Bernie.
      Obviously there are a lot of issues with this bill but to get angry at Hillary Clinton for supporting that bill when she couldn’t even vote for it, and not at Sanders when he could and did isn’t fair.

      • Juan


        The point is that she has a history of supporting mass incarceration and systemic racism. She wasn’t able to vote for the bill, but as we are all (hopefully) aware, she was very vocal in her support of the mass incarceration provisions of the bill and in her disdain for the so called “super-predators.” And she wasn’t a First Lady on the sidelines. I don’t know if you are old enough to recall, but her voice was heard loud-and-clear on a whole host of issues.

        Bernie supported the bill for its ban on semi-automatic assault weapons as well as the Violence Against Women Act provision. He was at the same time vocal in his criticism for the mass incarceration and death penalty provisions of the bill. He stated at the time:

        “…it is also my view that through the neglect of our Government and through a grossly irrational set of priorities, we are dooming tens of millions of young people to a future of bitterness, misery, hopelessness, drugs, crime, and violence.

        And Mr. Speaker, all the jails in the world, and we already imprison more people per capita than any other country, and all of the executions in the world, will not make that situation right. We can either educate or electrocute. We can create meaningful jobs, rebuilding our society, or we can build more jails.

        Mr. Speaker, let us create a society of hope and compassion, not one of hate and vengeance.”

        He voted over six times to remove the death penalty and minimum sentencing provisions of the bill. So, can you show me the logic whereby Bernie supports systemic racism and institutionalized, mass incarceration?

        The line in the Letter to the Editor about HRC not making promises she can’t keep is a load of malarkey. HRC doesn’t make any firm promises at all. She didn’t have a direct answer for most of the questions posed to her during the last democratic debate. (If you didn’t hear it first hand, you would have been none the wiser from the ensuing media spin. Personal opinion: it wasn’t a “draw” at all.) She is not a bearer of any standard; she just plays politics. She has an awful record, not only of having supported mass incarceration, but also of having opposed same sex marriage (having spoken firmly against it as a senator in 2004). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

        I urge you to search for and check out Bill Moyer’s interview with Elizabeth Warren in 2004. Warren gives a fascinating account of her interaction with HRC and the actions that followed. Hear the part in regards to HRC’s change in stance on the bankruptcy bill. Hear it for yourself. And then ask yourself if she has the character to represent us as our president. Ask yourself if she is honest and trustworthy. Set aside your pride, press the pause button, and ask yourself: Who does Hillary Clinton represent?

        In order to employ logic, you need to start with accurate information.