I’ve never voted for the Green Party, and I was never on the Jill Stein, Howard Dean, or Ralph Nader bandwagon. Why not? I agree with the Green Party’s politics, but perhaps I was still too naive in my 20s, or plain politically ignorant–I would have stared blankly had you asked me to explain Neo-liberalism, couldn’t have differentiated FDR’s policies from Teddy’s, and would have become tongue tied deciphering the NAFTA acronym–to know what was good for me. Now I’m slightly more informed, am as adult as I’ll ever be (are we really considered adults in our early 20s?), and can feel the full effect of government policies that were once abstract. Isn’t that what growing up means?
As a grown-up, I also know what I want our government to provide or enforce: affordable health care, pro-renewable energy policies, environmental policies that regulate and fine polluters, an end to “free” trade, a cap on college tuition costs, mandatory sick days, maternity, and paternity leave for all workers, a reversal of the Citizens’ United decision and thorough campaign-finance reform, absolute transparency of whom politicians get their financing from, no revolving doors between government agencies and Big Agra, Big Pharmacy, Big Insurance, and the like, a federal minimum wage that people can survive on, a stop to practices such as outsourcing, tax havens, and corporate inversion, and the strengthening of practices that help keep less fortunate Americans afloat, such as social security, disability, and unemployment insurance.
To simplify things, I made a list:
- Affordable healthcare
- Renewable energy
- Free trade
- College tuition
- Sick leave, maternity leave, etc.
- Government corruption
- Minimum living wage
- Lack of corporate regulation
- Social safety net
This isn’t the Wild West anymore, but apparently the majority of us need a politician who can explain to us what’s good for us like we’re five. Using the above list, let me touch on why Trump and Clinton fulfill few to none of my expectations for what Americans need.
Trump is easy. Since he hasn’t held political office, I can go by what he spouts off about:
- Affordable healthcare: His responses have run the gamut from “We must have universal health care” to “Taking care of poor sick people isn’t single-payer.” As for what Trump would do to make healthcare affordable? Your guess is as good as mine.
- Renewable energy: “Green energy is just an expensive feel-good for tree-huggers.” Enough said. Oh, wait, there’s more: “We need nuclear energy, and we need a lot of it fast” and “Cut the EPA; what they do is a disgrace.”
- Free trade: Surprisingly, me and the Don are on the same page here: “Trade pacts are no good for us and no good for our workers,” “TPP is a horrible deal; no one has read its 5,600 pages,” and “Restrict free trade to keep jobs in US.” Of course there’s this, which kind of ambiguously contradicts all of what I just typed above: “Embrace globalization and international markets.”
- College tuition: Seems that Trumps wants kids to get a good education–if they can afford to pay for one: “Cut the Department of Education way, way down.”
- Sick leave, maternity leave, etc.: The only semi-definitive thing I could find isn’t definitive at all: “Stress importance of a strong family, & a culture of Life.”
- Campaign-finance: “SuperPACs are a disaster and cause dishonesty”;“I give to politicians; and they give back: that’s broken!” Awesome!
- Government corruption: “Government scrutiny is greatest threat to American Dream.” Not so awesome.
- Minimum living wage: “Don’t raise minimum wage; it makes us non-competitive.” Non-competitive against whom? See his views on free trade.
- Lack of corporate regulation: “Get U.S. money back into U.S.: address corporate inversion.” Woohoo! “0% corporate tax would create millions of jobs.” Booo!
- Social safety net: “I will save Social Security with more jobs, less waste.” OK then. That’s a well laid-out plan. “Disability Racket: $25B in fraudulent disability filings.” Yep, that’s the biggest problem the U.S. has right now: disability fraud. “Let “saints” help teen moms; restrict public assistance.” Caring guy, that Donald Trump.
- Affordable healthcare: Hillary is all for affordable healthcare. In theory. She wants to “get healthcare done,” claiming, “Universal health care is a core Democratic principle” and “The Affordable Care Act has had successes.” Yeah, it’s put plenty of our tax dollars into the pockets of Big Insurance and Big Pharma. Thanks, Hillary. We need surgery, not a band-aid.
- Renewable energy I’ll give it to Hillary: she’s always voted pro-environment. But what about the $300k in fossil fuel money she’s had donated to her campaign?
- Free trade Hillary is all over the place on this issue. She’s gone from defending outsourcing of U.S. jobs to India, voting for several trade agreements, and saying, “TPP agreement creates more growth and better growth” to “I oppose CAFTA & TPP, but global economy needs trade.” Sounds pretty wishy-washy to me.
- College tuition “Make community college free, but not free college for all” and refinance students loan rates. Again, teeny-tiny little band-aid where a tourniquet is needed. “Staunch the bleeding, doctor! My Affordable Care Act plan doesn’t cover emergency services!”
- Sick leave, maternity leave, etc. “Raised issues of maternity leave at 1980s Rose Law.” Wow, that was like 30 years ago. Last year she said, “US needs paid family leave, to join rest of the world,” but hasn’t done anything to back up her words.
- Campaign-finance HRC claims, “I am not beholden to Super PACs or Wall Street,” but takes millions from them anyway. She also “Voted NO on establishing the Senate Office of Public Integrity.” BUT, she did vote against the voter ID requirement and said, “Public financing would fix campaign donor problems.” Again, pretty wishy-washy.
- Government corruption “End no-bid contracts, end revolving door in government.” Sounds good. Her unfailing support of charter schools? Sounds not so good.
- Minimum living wage “$12 minimum wage, indexed for the future.” That makes sense, especially considering that $12/hour wasn’t enough for most of us to live on 5 years ago. “Voted YES on increasing minimum wage to $7.25” in 2007. Again, had that been 1977, that might have been closer to a living wage.
- Lack of corporate regulation All across the board again in terms of what she says and who she accepts money from: “Rated 35% by the US COC, indicating a mixed business voting record.”
- Social safety net She supports social security and in 2008 said, “Make sure the economy works for everybody.” Has she voted to significantly improve things for the average American? Doesn’t look that way.
Also, holy shit does Hillary take a lot of money from the financial sector!
Please, please convince me that HRC can do this and not vote in the financial sector’s best interests rather than the average American’s. If you can convince me, I’ll vote for her. And, if you can convince me that Donald Trump isn’t a rambling idiot born with a silver spoon in his mouth, I’ll vote for him. Otherwise, the Green Party gets my vote this year.