Some say that there's no difference between Hillary and Trump, that they're two sides of the same coin, but this claim is refuted by an honest examination of their policy proposals. Look at their budget proposals. Trump has promised massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, tax cuts which the non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) estimates would increase the national debt by $12 trillion. Trump claims he would balance the budget by implementing "big time" spending cuts, but he has not specified which programs he would cut. Since he would increase military spending (how else to "completely rebuild our depleted military"), it follows that he could only balance the budget by making enormous cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
Hillary, on the other hand, has proposed increasing taxes for top-earners, mainly the top one percent, a move which the non-partisan Tax Policy Center estimates would increase revenues by $1.1 trillion over the next decade. Clinton says she would use these savings to do such things as expand Obamacare, increase funding for veterans, improve infrastructure, and fund early childhood education and college. CRFB says that Hillary "deserves a lot of credit for committing to pay for all her new initiatives and for largely meeting this goal."
So let's review. Hillary has an economic plan that is both progressive and responsible. She would increase taxes on the wealthy in order to expand social programs which would primarily benefit middle class and lower-income Americans. Trump, on the other hand, would exacerbate wealth inequality, which in turn would either cause the debt to skyrocket or social safety net programs to be slashed.
If we look at further differences between the candidates, the choice for progressives becomes even more obvious. For example --
- Federal minimum wage -- Hillary wants to increase it, while Trump wants to leave it alone.
- Health care -- Hillary wants to expand Obamacare, while Trump wants to replace it with a system which CRFB says will cost more money and cover fewer people.
- Abortion -- Hillary supports a woman's right to choose, while Trump has stated that women who have the procedure deserve "some form of punishment."
- Same-sex marriage -- Hillary wants to preserve this right, while Trump has said he would support Supreme Court justices who would overturn the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling.
- Environment -- Hillary accepts the findings of climate science and supports enforcing environmental regulations and funding clean energy, while Trump has said that "the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese" and that he would abolish the EPA.
- Gun control -- Hillary supports moderate gun control measures, while Trump opposes expanding background checks and banning assault weapons.
I could keep going. I could talk about Trump's desire to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, his plan to ban Muslims from entering the country, his blatant advocacy of war crimes, his threat to default on the national debt, his enthusiasm for Voter ID laws, his belief that the world would be safer if more nations had nuclear weapons -- all positions which Hillary firmly opposes. I could also discuss how Trump is a bigot, a misogynist, a narcissist, a sociopathic liar.
Hillary might not be as progressive as Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders, but she has a history of supporting left-of-center policies, and there's every reason to believe she would continue doing so once elected. Donald Trump, in contrast, advocates reactionary, plutocratic ideas. Slashing safety net programs would devastate millions of Americas. As would repealing Obamacare and abolishing the EPA and appointing anti-abortion judges to the Supreme Court.
Yes, voting for Jill Stein might (but might not) push the Democratic Party further to the left, which might (but might not) benefit us in the long run. But this is an irresponsible gamble to take when we know that a Hillary presidency would push forward a relatively progressive agenda, whereas a Trump presidency would wreak serious, lasting harm on our most vulnerable citizens.