July 27, 2016

Yes, Bernie Bros, Hillary really is progressive

Many conservatives fear that Hillary Clinton is a raging liberal, while the Bernie Bros make her sound like the modern incarnation John C. Calhoun. Hillary is certainly not as liberal as Bernie Sanders, a self-described "socialist," but there can be no doubt that she is solidly liberal.

Evidence #1: Senator Clinton had a liberal voting record.

DW-NOMINATE, an algorithm that computes roll call votes, rated Hillary as the 11th most liberal member of the Senate from 2001-2008. The algorithm shows that Clinton was considerately more liberal than the median democrat and considerably more liberal than Senator Obama. David Hawkings notes that Hillary cast far more votes against George W. Bush than most of her Democratic colleges, proving herself "a reliable opponent of Bush’s economic policies, including opposing the trade liberalization agreement with much of Central America. And she opposed a long list of White House nominations, including John G. Roberts Jr. and Samuel A. Alito Jr. for the Supreme Court."

Hawkings adds that Hillary's voting record represents a center-left ideology that is "quite comparable to the way she’s been representing herself as a candidate in 2016." He further notes that her voting record received high ratings from liberal advocacy groups. "She voted the way big labor wanted 95 percent of the time and cast ballots the way social and economic liberals had hoped 90 percent of the time — as calculated by averaging her eight annual scorecards on key floor votes identified by the AFL-CIO and Americans for Democratic Action. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, the personification of modern mainstream liberalism, yielded average percentages just a point or two higher." It's also notable that she received incredibly low scores from conservative advocacy groups -- e.g., 11 percent from the American Conservative Union, 8 percent from Americans for Prosperity, and 0 percent from Eagle Forum.

Evidence #2: Hillary has consistently voiced support for liberal ideas

Harry Enton points out that Hillary "also has a history of very liberal public statements." She "rates as a 'hard core liberal' per the OnTheIssues.org scale. She is as liberal as Elizabeth Warren and barely more moderate than Bernie Sanders. And while Obama is also a 'hard core liberal,' Clinton again was rated as more liberal than Obama."

Evidence #3: Sanders ain't no saint

All things are relative, and although Sanders is clearly to the left of Hillary, it needs to be pointed out that Sanders' rhetoric has at times been belied by his actions. For instance, although Sanders has spent much time attacking Hillary for the 1994 crime bill that Bill Clinton signed into law, Sanders in fact voted for the bill. The Senator has tried to explain his vote by citing the bill's ban on assault weapons, but Patrick Caldwell points out that "the initial House version that he voted for didn't include the assault weapons ban, a provision added by the Senate." Similarly, Sanders has criticized Bill Clinton for a 1996 bill which prevented immigrants from overstaying their visas, but Sanders also voted for that bill. Additionally, Sanders voted to keep Guantanamo Bay open, and in 2000 he voted for the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, a bill which loosened the government's ability to regulate derivatives and in turn helped cause the 2008 financial crisis. 

No comments: