Over at the Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky lays down the brutally pragmatic reasons for voting for Hillary Clinton: the Republicans cannot be allowed to win the White House in 2016.
So this isn’t about love. It’s about a deal between Clinton and liberals. It’s strictly business, and it’s about work. The work of maintaining Democratic control of the White House and keeping the loony right at bay for another four or eight years. The work of trying to move the country forward to a post-supply side economic paradigm. And, yeah, the work of electing our first woman president.
If you don’t love Hillary, let me offer you two things to love:
1. A liberal majority on the Supreme Court for the next 30, 40 years. You know that the next president may name three or four new justices. Two liberals, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, will likely retire soon. A Republican president would be able to expand the conservative majority to seven, replacing the two aforementioned with two more Alitos or Scalias. Sit with that.
President Clinton, on the other hand, will replace them with liberals and may replace Anthony Kennedy or Antonin Scalia, or both, with liberal justices (I’m not wishing illness on anyone here, just being actuarial about things). We haven’t had a liberal Supreme Court majority in this country in 35 years. Such a court would reverse loads of terrible Rehnquist-Roberts era decisions—it would restore voting rights, reverse school re-segregation, revisit the Second Amendment; at the same time it would uphold Roe, defend affirmative action, endorse workplace anti-discrimination policies for LGBT people, and on and on. And those are just the things the Court does that generate the big headlines. Corporate personhood; workers’ rights; campaign finance laws;campaign finance laws (right, I wrote that twice). If you are a liberal and these things aren’t awfully important to you, well, it’s hard to understand exactly what sort of liberal you are.
2. A coming civil war in the Republican Party, and the hope/prayer of a little moderation on its part. When a party loses two consecutive presidential elections, the losses can be chalked up to the appearance of a charismatic candidate and, then, the powers of his incumbency. But three; that’s when people have to start looking hard in the mirror.
Certainly, there will be some in the GOP who’ll trot out the “we weren’t conservative enough” argument if their side loses. But say Clinton wins with somewhere between Obama’s 2008 total of 365 electoral votes and his 2012 performance of 332; say 347 (Obama’s ’12 map plus North Carolina). A party that has won 173, 206, and 191 electoral votes, respectively, in the last three elections is a party that’s simply never going to have a prayer of hitting 270 without some major changes.
For one thing this would be great fun to watch. If the party goes crazy(er), it could split in two. And if it decides to respond with sanity, there’s a great silver lining in that for Democrats and for the country: Tea Party power will wane, non-extreme Republicans won’t fear Club for Growth-financed primary challengers so much, and some of them will actually make compromises and legislate!
I could go on, but you get the idea. What I’m talking about here is not just a handful of policies. I’m talking about the bulk of the Reagan-Gingrich-Bush legacy. Obama could not undo it because he had to deal with the Great Recession. But eight more years of a Democratic presidency can do exactly that—undo it, across a whole range of fronts.
And to add my own two cents, there are people who believe that there's a distinct chance that Hillary Clinton will not advance liberalism. To those folks, I say there's a precisely zero percent chance that a Republican president in 2016 will do so. Like it or not, when it comes to political power, we are in a two-party system.
Choose a side.