Why I'm voting for Hillary not Bernie

I love Bernie. I’ve always loved Bernie. I loved Bernie before loving Bernie was cool.

He was always my favorite Senator to hear speak during my time in the Senate. After I moved home, every time he’d come on The Diane Rehm show I’d crank up the volume and agree loudly with everything he said.  As he’d passionately defend the working poor and rail against the growing economic inequities, I’d testify like I was in church. “Amen!” “Let ‘em know, Bernie!”

But …

I’ve been here before.

I liked Barack Obama, too. I STILL like Barack Obama. I think he has been a great president, and if I could vote for him again I would. Bernie would also make a great president although one who would face very similar challenges to Barack Obama – an increasingly erratic and extremist House of Representatives and growing complexities abroad.

However, I don’t just want a great president. I don’t just want a progressive president.


When I tell people (men) this, they balk. They tell me it’s outrageous to support a candidate just because she’s a woman. They mansplain all the “problems” with Hillary - as if I’ve never heard of Benghazi, as if I’m unfamiliar with the inner workings of email, as if I DIDN’T WORK FOR HER AND AM THEREFORE MORE QUALIFIED TO EDUCATE THEM ABOUT HER.

Diversity of leadership is very important to me as a voter and voting based on that value is no more or less acceptable than voting based on abortion or Wall Street reform or gay marriage.

It matters to me that Hillary Clinton is a woman and – the truth is – it matters to every single one of you as well. No one – male or female, Democrat or Republican – is immune to the effects of gender. If you believe your opinion of Hillary Clinton isn’t affected by the fact that she is a woman, you are FOOLING YOURSELF.

Can you disagree with policy positions? Absolutely. Can you think there are more important issues than the election of the first female president? Absolutely. BUT if you are using derogatory language to talk about Hillary Clinton, check yourself. If you are disparaging her looks or her wardrobe or the way she speaks, check yourself. If you are talking down to a Hillary supporter, CHECK YOURSELF.

And, for the record, I disagree with Hillary on several policy positions. I don’t believe you can – or that anyone really does – pick a candidate based solely on their policy positions. People smarter than me spend their careers researching why we vote how we vote. It’s not math. It’s psychology and it’s complex. So, let's all acknowledge that and stop pretending like we're the rational ones who are really just assessing the facts. 

All I can say is that I’ve stood in a room with this woman. I’ve seen her work up close. I’ve seen how she treats her staff. This is a brilliant human being who has dedicated her entire life to this country. There are few people in public service that have taken it on the chin as many times as Hillary Clinton and returned to the ring to fight again. She is tough. She is smart. She will fight for each and every one of us.

I would vote for her, even if she was a man.

But, I love her and support her and fight for her because she’s a woman.

And it’s time for a woman in the Oval Office.