In eight days the people of Iowa will caucus and make their decision on who should be the Democratic nominee for President. Many say they are making a choice between their head and their heart. I would suggest they think of this as a choice between one candidate who understands the reality we face in the world today and has the experience to handle it; and the other whose policies suggest he believes in an alternative reality and a record with a distinct lack of real accomplishments.
Hillary Clinton has the experience and proven ability to get things done. She is also someone who dreams of a better world and acts to move those dreams forward. In 1995 as America's First Lady she courageously went to the United Nations Fourth World Congress on Women in Beijing and spoke out for women's rights. In 2011 as Secretary of State she spoke out in Geneva declaring 'gay rights are human rights'. Those speeches moved those causes forward, saved lives, and made a difference around the world.
She has been vetted over-and-over by the press and the people. Attacked by Republicans for forty years and still stands tall. She has made mistakes and owned up to them and evolved on some issues as intelligent thinking people do. But through all that she has never veered from the principles of decency and fairness she learned from her mother and her church.
Her entire career is about helping people. From the Children's Defense Fund, to becoming Chair of the Legal Services Corporation, to chairing the committee to upgrade education for all children in Arkansas. As First Lady of the United States when she couldn't achieve national healthcare for all she worked with Republicans to gain healthcare for millions of children. She worked across the aisle to get legislation encouraging more adoptions. As Senator from New York she worked hard and got help for first responders to the 9/11 attacks; and worked across the aisle to get health benefits for those in the National Guard. As Secretary of State she put together the coalition to impose sanctions on Iran which led to the agreement that will keep them from getting nuclear weapons for at least fifteen years if not forever. She traveled the world representing the United States and has the world's leaders on speed dial understanding how to work with them. She is able to walk into the White House on day-one and take on the work of President and Commander-in-Chief.
The same cannot be said of Bernie Sanders. The only real job Sanders has ever had is as a politician. He was Mayor of Burlington, Vermont for eight years and has now been in the Congress for over twenty-five. In all that time no one outside of Vermont heard much about Bernie Sanders. There is a reason for that. He has very few real accomplishments and zero experience in foreign affairs. He, like Hillary, has stuck to his principles but unlike her has never learned to work with others to move his ideas forward. He cut a deal with the NRA to vote against the Brady Bill and against allowing people to sue gun manufacturers. That deal got him his seat in Congress but then he was never able to work with others to get much accomplished. Today he suggests he will lead a political revolution. There is no evidence anyone other than some Democratic primary voters would follow him.
Bernie Sanders has never been vetted by the press for the job of President. He was never really vetted for his other jobs because outside of Vermont it didn't matter. After thirty-three years in politics as an elected official he still denies he is a politician. Well one must question what you call him then? He pretends he can get a single-payer healthcare bill passed but fails to tell people he has introduced it nine times and failed. He says he will raise everyone's taxes to pay for his programs when he knows Congress would never vote for that. Sticking to his principles is great, but not being honest about where that has led isn't.
Democrats in Iowa have other issues they should consider as they caucus. As the press begins the vetting of Sanders will the general electorate vote for a self-described old socialist? The honest answer has to be no. Will Americans who defeated Walter Mondale when he suggested a tax increase for all, and defeated George HW Bush when he broke his no new tax pledge vote for the candidate who has said he will raise all their taxes? The honest answer has to be no. Add to that the question of will Democrats in other states; candidates for United States Senate, Governor and state legislatures be able to say they are supporting Sanders if he is on the top of the ticket and still be elected? The honest answer has to be no. His candidacy will only lead to bigger majorities for Republicans in state legislatures and Congress.
What this means is Iowans have a huge responsibility on February 1st. Will they caucus for Bernie or for Hillary who has proven she will fight for a woman's right to control her own body? Hillary who will fight to lower interest rates on college loans and work to make community college free and all college affordable. Hillary who has listened to Iowans and proposed programs to fight heroin addiction and help those suffering from Alzheimer's and their families. Hillary who has a passion for and will fight for early childhood education for all.
Hillary has been endorsed by most union members; the largest LGBT civil rights organization in the nation; major women's groups like NARAL, Planned Parenthood and Emily's List all of who have worked with her for over forty years. They know and trust she will stay true to their missions. Add to that the endorsement of most members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus which Sanders co-founded but who trust Hillary more to move their agenda forward. Add the mothers of many of the young African American men who have been murdered in the last two years by our police because those mothers understand Hillary will do more to reform the justice system to make real the goals of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Contrary to what Sanders says groups fighting for LGBT rights, worker's rights, women's rights and to see that young African American men get a fair chance to live long and productive lives aren't the establishment. They are supporting Hillary Rodham Clinton because she is willing to fight the establishment in a way that brings results. As Hillary has proven, "She is a progressive that gets things done".
I believe Iowa Democrats will decide to caucus for Hillary because I trust Iowans understand Hillary is the right person to be the next, and first woman, President of the United States.