Four Myths Keeping Clinton Afloat

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Four Myths Keeping Clinton Afloat


Myth # 1 – Hillary is more likely to beat Republicans in the general election

For months now, polls show that Sanders has done better against Republican opponents than Hillary.  In fact, he wins against opponents she loses to.  In the latest polling, for example, she beats Trump by only 9 points, ties Cruz, and loses to Kasich.  Meanwhile, Sanders beats Trump by 20 points, Cruz by 12 and Kasich by 11.  And Republicans are plotting on ways to select a more electable candidate if the convention is deadlocked, so running Hillary is risky for Democrats.

This is especially true since her trustworthiness and likability ratings are both negative, (exceeded only by Trump’s) which makes it difficult for her to pick up support beyond what she now has.  Sanders, on the other hand, has the highest likeability and trustworthiness rating of any candidate, Republican or Democrat, which means he is likely to pick up more support the longer he runs. 

Bottom line: not only does Hillary do worse against Republicans than Sanders, she has unique vulnerabilities  that make her a risky candidate for Democrats to run.  Indeed, running Hillary may be the only way the Democrats could lose the Whitehouse.

Myth #2 – Hillary knows how to get things done

This is one of her favorite lines and it gets picked up by her many surrogates in the press.  The fact is, it doesn’t bear scrutiny.  For example, she only sponsored 3 Bills that became law during her 8 year tenure. One established an historic site in New York, another renamed a Post Office, and the third named a portion of a highway in New York after Timothy J. Russert.

How about her claim of being able to work with Republicans? Politifact, which normally finds at least a little truth in just about any statement, rated her claim that “…every piece of legislation, just about, that I ever introduced had a Republican co-sponsor” as flat out false.

Ms. Clinton also didn’t rank as particularly progressive, according to, a non-partisan organization which has been keeping stats on legislators for several decades. And while she introduced a lot of Bills, she had a very low rate of getting them to become law, relative to the average Senator over the years.

Bottom line:  She didn’t get a whole hell of a lot done, and she wasn’t particularly progressive.

Incidentally, Sanders also sponsored 3 bills during his Senate tenure that became law.  Two were largely ceremonial, much like those Clinton sponsored.  The third Bill added $17 billion to the Veterans Health care system, gave the Administrator of the Veteran’s administration broad powers to fix a broken system, and extended educational benefits to veterans and their dependents. In short, it was consequential.  And Bernie got it done with bi-partisan support.

Finally, GovTrack rates Sanders as one of the most progressive members of Congress. 

In short, he’s a real progressive who got real things done.

Myth #3 – Sander’s isn’t a real Democrat and he isn’t doing anything to help the Party’s downballot candidates

Where you stand on this depends upon how you define a Democrat.  If it’s merely a label that can be worn by anyone regardless of their positions, then Sanders is guilty as charged.  And certainly Hillary has offered financial and other help to Democrats that Sanders has not.

But if you believe that being a Democrat is about values, not labels, then Sanders is doing a tremendous amount to help the Democratic Party at all levels of government.

The fact of the matter is, the Democratic Party left the people behind decades ago, when they embraced the pay-to-play political model that now dominates our elections and our governance.  

Hillary helps status quo Democrats who wear the label, without necessarily embracing the values that once defined the Party as the Party of the people.

So what is Sanders doing to help Democrats?  He’s making it safe run on the New Deal values that defined the Party for much of the 20th Century. That’s the Party that brought unprecedented prosperity to our country from the end of World War II until the 1980’s.  Since then, the Party has been running from the notion that government can be a force for good; that it could and should assure a level playing field for all, both economically and socially; that capitalism was in need of strong regulation and restraint if it was to serve the masses rather than the few; that our planet was worthy of protection and preservation. 

These were not only ethically correct; they were winning political issues too.  And as Americans are strongly progressive on an issue-by-issue basis they still could be, if Democrats hadn’t been bought off and scared off ever since Reagan’s big con. 

Finally, Sanders is attracting new voters to the Party, and these voters will ultimately help elect more progressives at every level of government – something Democrats desperately need if they are to avoid the disastrous low turnout that crippled the Party in 2014, when a mere 36.4 per cent of eligible voters showed up -- the lowest voter turnout in 72 years – and Republicans won big at all levels of government.

Bottom line: Sanders has made it safe to be a real Democrat again and he’s attracting much needed new voters, and is likely to have the coattails to help Democrats in Congressional and state races.  Hillary is busy propping up the status quo, which will limit turnout.

Myth #4 – Her experience gives her an edge

At the end of the day, experience counts for you only if you got things right, or at least learned from your mistakes.

Hillary is pretty much batting zero on all counts. Her foreign policy is basically the same as the neocons.  She voted for the Iraq war, then compounded the error by supporting regime change in Libya and Syria. Her economic policies are soft on Wall Street and she’s refused to back the $15 minimum wage. Finally, all this experience seems not to have given her a consistent view of policy.  She’s flip-flopped on energy policy, trade agreements, crime issues, tax policy, regulation of the big banks … on and on it goes.

Bottom line:  Ms. Clinton has loads of experience but she’s demonstrated poor judgment.

Experience without judgment merely allows her the opportunity to make the same mistakes over and over again. Experience without independence assures that she will. And taking money from Wall Street, fossil fuel interests, the pharmaceutical industry and other fat-cats assures that she has no independence.

Sanders, on the other hand, has demonstrated good judgment in both domestic and foreign affairs and he is dependent only upon the people of the United States – as our Constitution intended.

John Atcheson

John Atcheson

John Atcheson is author of the novel, A Being Darkly Wise, an eco-thriller and book one of a trilogy centered on global warming. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the San Jose Mercury News and other major newspapers. Atcheson’s book reviews are featured on

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