By Nicholas Riebel || Staff Writer
The Iowa Caucuses are rapidly approaching, and what will happen in Iowa on Monday is anyone’s guess. But the first day of February may end up deciding who our presidential nominees, and our president, will be. The polls suggest that for the Republicans, it will be a battle between Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz. For the Democrats, it’s a close race between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders. I believe that Trump will decisively win Iowa, while Bernie Sanders will squeak out a narrow victory there as well. But your guess is as good as mine, and we could see huge upsets for both parties on that day.
I personally think Bernie Sanders is the best Democrat running and the strongest possible Democratic candidate. I think Clinton is too weak and unpopular of a candidate to win the election. Sanders has better policy positions, popularity, and electability. Clinton, meanwhile, may run while under questions concerning her role in the Benghazi tragedy and over her use of a private email to potentially send or receive classified material. Even if she is absolved of all wrongdoing (as I suspect she will be, but I of course cannot be certain) the Republican efforts here, fair or not, will continue to do their damage until election day.
Hillary Clinton is a tough person. I want to see a female president someday soon. But I do not want it to be her. As former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said recently: “‘This election is about changing the parameters of what’s feasible and ending the choke hold of big money on our political system. I’ve known Hillary Clinton since she was 19 years old, and have nothing but respect for her. In my view, she’s the most qualified candidate for president of the political system we now have. But Bernie Sanders is the most qualified candidate to create the political system we should have, because he’s leading a political movement for change. The upcoming election isn’t about detailed policy proposals. It’s about power—whether those who have it will keep it, or whether average Americans will get some as well” (http://bit.ly/1OXYU0U).
When Barack Obama was campaigning for president, he was urging his supporters to prove the skeptics and doubters wrong: that we can achieve what many tell us is impossible. After all, if you keep believing something is impossible, and don’t do anything on it, you won’t make it possible. Whether intentionally or not, Hillary Clinton is deciding that vital policies are not possible, and thus not worth fighting for. In my opinion, this isn’t courage, toughness, or pragmatism. This is fear of, appeasement towards, and service for wealthy and powerful interests that support her.
Hillary Clinton could end up becoming a great president. I will admit that now. She could prove me completely wrong. I am not so blinded by ideology or my beliefs that I will not concede that I could possibly be mistaken, to paraphrase Oliver Cromwell. But, her history and actions do not lend credence to this. I think she would be a good cog in a broken system, but I think the system should be fixed or replaced. Sanders is best positioned to do this.
But either Democrat (or Martin O’Malley) would almost certainly be better than any of the Republican candidates, who refuse to acknowledge our real problems and make false or minor ones up (the ever-deadly threat of “political correctness” for example). We need leadership that recognizes our problems, which are numerous, and fixes them rather than pretending they don’t exist, that they can’t be solved so we shouldn’t try, or distracting us with fake problems or scapegoats.
I know you likely aren’t voting in the caucus on Monday (I don’t think many of us at F&M are from Iowa, let alone registered to participate in the caucuses there). But I urge you to think about my words when the primaries come to you and your state.
Junior Nicholas Riebel is a staff writer. His email is nriebel@fandm.