September 7, 2016


Print More

According to the Federal Election Commission, there are 1,870 registered candidates in this year’s presidential election. Needless to say, it’s a lot to talk about. For that reason, in this article, I’m only going to talk about one.

I want to take a brief movement to talk about Hillary Clinton and why I legitimately believe she is a strong candidate to be our nation’s 45th president. It’s too simple, and too lazy, to merely argue against an alternative. Further, it isn’t enough. If Democrats do not continue to make the positive case for Hillary Clinton, we will likely lose. On the brightside, I think this is an easy argument to make.

How about we begin with a brief recollection of her lifelong history of public service? Early on in her career, Hillary focused her legal career on the defense of children. As First Lady of Arkansas, she pushed to improve unacceptably poor educational outcomes. And as First Lady of the United States, she took an unusually active role in fighting for health care for all Americans, taking a noticeably progressive stance even when it was unpopular.

Hillary’s qualifications also come from her history of service in the United States Senate, where she repeatedly pushed for the support and protection of the communities that were most affected by the September 11 attacks. In addition, despite the fact that her tenure as Secretary of State tends to be the basis for conspiracies and misleading attacks, her overall record at Foggy Bottom was highly successful. Secretary Clinton fought for both gender equality and LGBTQ rights around the globe. Moreover, she departed from the unilateral decision-making of the Bush administration in favor of an approach that incorporated our closest allies. This new foreign policy orientation allowed her to navigate treacherous diplomatic waters, leading to achievements such as the Iranian nuclear deal.

Hillary has a long track record. But what, you wonder, does she plan to do in the future? More than any other candidate in recent history, Hillary has gone into substantial detail on her potential policy agenda as president. For many of you that are reading this, I suspect there’s a lot to like.

Let’s start with the big issue. One of the largest problems that we face is the growing disparity between the rich and the poor, an inequality that violates basic ideals of economic fairness. Hillary agrees, and she has a plan. The essential cornerstone of her platform is a multitude of policies that are designed to close these gaps of income and wealth.

Consider those at the bottom of the economic ladder. Hillary Clinton strongly supports an increase of the federal minimum from a distressingly low $7.25 an hour to $12 an hour nationally, with $15 an hour increases in higher-cost states and cities. She believes that the government should require employers to offer paid family leave, like every other major economy does. Further, in line with her long-term focus on American families, she has put forth an ambitious plan of investment in making childcare affordable.

Education, too, is a key focus, with a plan for a universal Pre-K education. She has also recognized the crisis in higher education costs, and she has put forth the idea that we must reduce student loan burdens and make tuition free for middle-class families. It should be noted that this latter plan was developed in close consultation with her former primary opponent.

And, of course, this economic vision also includes measures designed to prevent Wall Street from wrecking Main Street. The regulations she has envisioned, including taxes on high frequency trading and oversight of shadowbanking, are quite strict and aim to prevent the riskiest behaviors of the financial industry.

Hillary Clinton has also indicated that she would be forward-thinking. Indeed, she has repeatedly stressed that climate change is a major threat to the United States and the world, and a Clinton presidency would see multi-billion dollar investments in renewable energy. This would not only begin the transition away from fossil fuels, but create countless new jobs.

Yes, it is crucial to create a better, fairer economy for everyone. Still, it is essential to recognize that there are inequities that go beyond economic circumstance. There are many other obstacles to consider, including race. The Clinton campaign has embraced the growing push for racial justice, including the Mothers of the Movement. Hillary herself has discussed “white privilege” and the on-going role of bias in a broken criminal justice system.

On issues of immigration, she has defended President Obama’s executive actions, and embraced undocumented activists. If elected, immigration reform would be a priority of Hillary Clinton’s administration.

With regards to sex and gender, we should not forget the symbolic significance of electing the first woman president. For issues of LGBTQ rights, Hillary knows that we need to pass a federal employment non-discrimination law, and that the government must pay special attention to the rights of the transgender community.

In large part, this article is only possible because Hillary Clinton has one of the most comprehensive platforms of any candidate for president in modern political history. She has an ambitious view of where America can go, and she has the experience to get it done. In fact, the most prominent limit would be continued Republican majorities in Congress, the same force that has impeded President Obama. It is vital to give President Hillary Clinton a Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate. But even if not, who has dealt with more opposition than Hillary? I would argue that she is uniquely positioned to manage Washington, regardless of whether she is shepherding progressive legislation, or negotiating with a contentious Congress.

To conclude, I am not an unbiased source. I am a proud supporter of Hillary Clinton, and I will make that clear to anyone who asks. Furthermore, I reject the idea that college students are overwhelmingly hesitant about her candidacy; I am personally involved with an ever-growing movement of students who are passionate about Hillary.

For the Hillary supporters at Cornell and around the country, this is not about the lesser evil. We are excited, organized and ready to go. Why? Because Hillary Clinton will be an excellent president.

Kevin Kowalewski is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at [email protected]. Democratic Dialogue appears alternate Thursdays this semester.