Let’s face it: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has dominated headlines since she became First Lady. Even more so than other political figures, the media attack on Clinton is unparalleled. The constant scrutiny she has been put under has lead to wild misconceptions about her capacity to lead the country. Hopefully, I can clear up some of these myths about Clinton now.
Myth 1: Hillary Clinton isn’t trustworthy.
If you think Clinton is untrustworthy, then right-wing media and pundits have accomplished their goal. The multiple investigations into Benghazi and the discussion of her emails are nothing but another Republican tactic to try and destroy her character. These investigations were partisan and baseless. Though months ago the State Department and the Justice Department determined that Clinton acted appropriately with use of her email, her untrustworthiness is still being tied to the discussion surrounding her emails. Criticism of Clinton’s use of her private email server shows a continuation of a trend: the GOP investigating her even when there is no evidence of her wrongdoing. The GOP’s veiled attacks have helped perpetuate the depiction of Clinton as “untrustworthy” when multiple investigations have found she has not done anything wrong.
In reality, Clinton has the trust of countless Americans. Organizations like Planned Parenthood and NARAL trust her to fight for women’s autonomy over their own bodies. The National Education Association trusts Hillary to fight for K-12 education and educators and the Human Rights Campaign trusts her to fight for LGBTQ citizens. Beyond these organizations, more than eight million voters trust her to fight for them in the White House. The millions of people that support Hillary is the most important testament to her trustworthiness.
Myth 2: Hillary Clinton isn’t a true progressive.
Clinton has often been labeled as a moderate rather than being recognized as a progressive. This cannot be further from the truth. Although she and Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, voted the same 93 percent of the time during the two years that they were both in the Senate, Clinton’s status as a progressive is often brought into question.
Clinton has earned the badge of progressivism through a record of fighting for families and women. She had the option to work for a corporate law firm after college, yet she chose to work for the Children’s Defense Fund instead. At the CDF, she investigated segregation in Alabama’s school system and fought incarceration of juveniles in South Carolina’s adult prisons. As First Lady, she helped eight million children receive access to health care by advocating for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. In the Senate, she consistently advocated for women’s access to reproductive healthcare and right to equal pay.
Clinton’s expansive platform shows a continuation of this progressive record. She plans to end the school to prison pipeline that is prevalent in African American communities. She plans to make college affordable through her New College Compact, launch a Clean Energy Challenge to combat climate change and increase renewable energy and focus on ending campus sexual assault. These plans show continuity in Hillary’s consistent advocacy for progressive ideals.
Myth 3: Hillary Clinton can’t beat a Republican.
Sanders has been very vocal about the fact that he would be the most competitive candidate against the Republican candidate. Clinton is just as, if not more, competitive. Head to head polls show Sanders beating Donald Trump. The polls also show Clinton beating the Republican’s current frontrunner. She is also the candidate who has received the most votes, overall, so far in this primary season.
Even more importantly, Clinton has not only survived but rather thrived through the baseless attacks from the conservatives. Her ability to hold her own against fierce Republican opposition was shown by her performance in the 11-hour Benghazi hearing. As a strong woman in a male-dominated field, Clinton is subject to more insults and personal attacks than any of the other candidates. The contrast between attacks on Sanders and Clinton is huge. She has been mercilessly criticized for 25 years and Sanders has faced nothing comparable. Clinton’s ability to outperform him in terms of pledged delegates and popular vote even after the constant media scrutiny proves that she can survive in the general election.
Clinton doesn’t get enough credit where it is due. Regardless of the noise of the pundits, her advocacy and work shows that she is trustworthy, progressive and the best candidate to beat a Republican. Her experience and this campaign both show that she not only meets but exceeds expectations for the presidency of the United States. I could not be prouder to cast my vote for Clinton in the April 5 Wisconsin primary.
Brianna Koerth ([email protected]) is a freshman majoring in history and political science.