Being with Her for Her: Why we Shouldn’t View Clinton as the ‘Lesser of Two Evils’

We here at High Schoolers for Hillary feel like HRC doesn't get the credit she deserves for being an exceptional stand-alone candidate. She's helming the most progressive Democratic Party platform EVER- let's celebrate it!! Read Ilana Cohen's (NY) thoughts on this below. -Bella D.

“What we've got to do as Democrats - what we've got to do as Democrats is to be united to actually solve these problems. And what I believe is that I have a better track record and a better opportunity to actually get that job done.” - Hillary Clinton

“What we've got to do as Democrats - what we've got to do as Democrats is to be united to actually solve these problems. And what I believe is that I have a better track record and a better opportunity to actually get that job done.” - Hillary Clinton

In the face of the racism, sexism, xenophobia, and bigotry of Donald Trump and the campaign he has run over the course of the last year, it is fairly easy for many, Democrats and Republicans alike, to determine that voting for Clinton is the right choice in this election. Though this is a reasonable conclusion, there is a stigmatic mentality that plagues many reluctant Clinton supporters and is constantly played up in the media; that Hillary Clinton is the ‘lesser of two evils.’ Even I, a volunteer for and supporter of Clinton, once felt resigned to this notion. But I soon realized that Clinton is so much more than how she is so often publicly depicted. The conditions of her candidacy are not all that make Clinton deserved of Americans’ votes; her unique political experience and policy agenda make her an outstanding presidential candidate. 

Clinton seems to not only fit but exceed the bill for the Oval Office. As a woman in government who has broken gender boundaries throughout her career, Hillary Clinton may become the first woman President of the United States. Her qualifications as former Secretary of State and a former Senator from New York are incredibly difficult to match. A proponent of universal pre-K and a staunch advocate for tighter gun legislation, Clinton will work to ensure that our generation has a brighter, safer future in the forms of expanded opportunities for higher education and a continued fight against gun violence and police brutality. She is a fighter for all Americans; a devoted Democrat who will push for economic equality and social justice. Still, Clinton’s mistakes continuously seem to be broadcast over her accomplishments.

Of course, few presidents and politicians are flawless. Next to Clinton, Bernie Sanders may have seemed to be a much purer, anti-establishment pick for the Democratic nominee. Yet it is important to recognize that Sanders’s political career has never been under national scrutiny as Clinton’s has and he has not held offices of as high a national caliber. Thus, the lack of speculation about Sanders’s career and character is due in part to his having a much lower-profile life than that of Secretary Clinton. And despite differences in their campaigns, Sanders has thrown his support behind Clinton and expressed hopes that she will help enact much of his liberal agenda if elected.

It’s true that next to Donald Trump, even Satan might seem to have a more angelic disposition. Often likened to Mussolini and Hitler, Trump’s ideals of mass deportation of undocumented immigrants and a tracking system for Muslim Americans are eerily similar to the oppressive policies enacted in Germany during the Holocaust. Trump’s even shared admiration for Vladimir Putin, invited Russian hackers to find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails, and suggested that Second Amendment supporters could ‘do something’ about Clinton picking Supreme Court justices if elected President in poorly thought-out, if not frighteningly suggestive, terms--not to mention the flow of racist, ableist, and sexist remarks that have permanently tainted his offensive and divisive campaign. The few policy plans Trump lays out are no better than his repugnant personal spiel. The Economist deemed a Trump presidency to pose one of the top ten global threats. No matter how much Trump attempts to soften his tone as the election nears, a vote for Trump has irreparably become a vote for a hateful, exclusionary America.

Thus, voting for Hillary Clinton out of pure dislike for Donald Trump is certainly a popular and respectable decision. But it is important to recognize Clinton’s merit even if the reasoning behind voting for her is that she seems to be the only viable option for many Americans. While running against Trump has certainly given Clinton’s campaign an edge--and some effective marketing tactics--it should not be the defining aspect of her run. She may have her flaws, but Clinton’s certainly qualified for the presidency regardless of the identity of her Republican opponent. The work Clinton has done in her decades-long career should be weighed at least as much as the email scandal that has devolved over the last year.

The image that Trump strives to paint of Clinton as “crooked Hillary” is one that should not be accepted so easily. Labeling her this way--and seeing her as the "lesser of two evils"--only dismisses all of the work Clinton has done and plans to do to improve our nation. Although she has made mistakes, Clinton has spent her life as a political leader fighting for the issues she believes in and has proven herself a worthy presidential candidate deserving of our support.