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Progressives Should Support Hillary Clinton

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/11/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 625 times Debate No: 92627
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
Votes (0)




It is a pleasure to once again be debating BrendanD19. He has proven himself to be a formidable debater and has shown superb conduct in our previous debate.

Resolved: This house believes that progressives shoud support Hillary Clinton

This debate is whether progressives/liberals should support Hillary Clinton in the upcoming U.S. presidential election rather than support a third party candidate such as Jill Stein. Supporting Donald Trump for President is not an option.

The right of third party candidates to run for office and of voters to vote for them is not questioned. The debate presumes that progressives/liberals want to have progressive/liberal views, as generally espoused by Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, Senator Warren and others to prevail in American politics. The resolution is affirmed if supporting Clinton is more likely to ultimately lead to that end than supporting a third party candidate. The resolution is negated if supporting Stein or another third party candidate is more likely to lead to progressive/liberal beliefs prevailing.

The debate is not about whether progressive positions are correct or incorrect. The debate is about whether progressives working inside of the traditional two-Party structure is more likely to succeed in the long run than following a third party strategy now.

Everyone is encouraged to vote on the debate.


1. Acceptance
2. Opening statements (no rebuttals)
3. Rebuttals
4. Rebuttals
5. Closing arguments


1. The burden of proof is shared
2. Forfeiting will results in a full 7-point loss
3. No images or videos are permitted
4. The character limit is 10,000
5. All arguments must be made in the debate and so any arguments that are mentioned in the comments should be ignored.


I would like to thank the pro for his kind words and I gladly accept this challenge.
Debate Round No. 1


Once again, I wish to thank Con for accepting this debate.

Progressives like to expound on the virtues of social equality, egalitarianism, and an expanded safety net. They may be right, but that's not likely to win this election. I claim that the current approach of selling progressive ideology is ineffective. Progressives should win by demonstrating case-by-case that progressive policies are good and beneficial to Americans. We also need to recognize that change does not happen quickly and will not happen overnight. If we refuse to support someone for their inability to actualize the change that we want, or because we think that they are not ideologically pure enough, we will find ourselves unable to support anyone. To do this, we need to united behind Hillary Clinton right now.

1. Donald Trump poses a clear danger to the United States and the World

Donald Trump must never be allowed to become President of the United States. Donald Trump has incited violence, racism, sexism, and has bullied those whom he disagrees with. On a larger geopolitical scale, Donald Trump threatens America's reputation. The Economist Intelligence Unit notes:

Thus far Mr Trump has given very few details of his policies - and these tend to be prone to constant revision - but a few themes have become apparent. First, he has been exceptionally hostile towards free trade, including notably NAFTA, and has repeatedly labelled China as a "currency manipulator". He has also taken an exceptionally punitive stance on the Middle East and jiadhi terrorism, including, among other things, advocating the killing of families of terrorists and launching a land incursion into Syria to wipe out IS (and acquire its oil). In the event of a Trump victory, his hostile attitude to free trade, and alienation of Mexico and China in particular, could escalate rapidly into a trade war - and at the least scupper the Trans-Pacific Partnership between the US and 11 other American and Asian states signed in February 2016. His militaristic tendencies towards the Middle East (and ban on all Muslim travel to the US) would be a potent recruitment tool for jihadi groups, increasing their threat both within the region and beyond, while his vocal scepticism towards NATO would weaken efforts to contain Russia's expansionist tendencies." [1]

Hillary Clinton is the best change to defeat Trump. If we support someone like Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders, we risk having a repeat of 2000 when George W. Bush won Florida by less than 600 votes, thus giving Bush the presidency.

2. This may be a tipping point election

2016 and 2020 will be among the most important elections in recent history. Among the issues at stake is the balance of the Supreme Court, control of the Senate, the Paris Accord, and the Affordable Care Act.

The Supreme Court

It is highly likely that the next president will appoint up to 3 or more justices to the Supreme Court. Justice Kennedy, Ginsburg, and Breyer will be over 78 years old by the time the next president is inaugurated. Scalia has already passed away and that seat will most certainly be a fight. [2]

Should Donald Trump win, we will certainly expect an all out assault on important cases like Roe v. Wade, Social Security, the Affordable Care Act, voting rights, and the recent decision on same-sex marriage.

The Affordable Care Act

Like my opponent, I support a single-payer Medicare for all health care system. With the Republicans likely to control the House of Representatives (if not the Senate as well), passing a single-payer system will be impossible. Ever since it was first passed, Republicans have been promising a full repeal of the ACA.

Former Representative Bill Owens notes [3]:

"If you remove tens of millions of people from the rolls of the insurance carriers because subsidies are eliminated and Medicaid expansion is defunded [sic], if young adults ages 18 to 26 lose coverage, as well as those with pre-existing conditions, where do those who lose coverage go for care? As you might have guessed, it is your local hospital emergency room. This will result in tens of billions of dollars in uncompensated care being provided by our hospitals. Prior to the enactment of ObamaCare, uncompensated care provided by hospitals in our communities was in the range of $75 billion to $125 billion.

"Would physicians continue to treat people who they knew had no coverage and no likelihood of being able to pay? That is another source contributing to the emergency room flood...

The chaos that would ensue in the health care system by repealing ObamaCare is largely unimaginable, and I suspect not at all thought through by proponents of repeal legislation."

Although Obamacare is not perfect and needs serious modifications, an immediate repeal without a backup plan will be far more harmful than leaving the law as is.

3. Supporting Hillary Clinton is not apostasy

Ideological puritans often point to the fact that Clinton is not a perfect progressive, and therefore, we should not support Hillary Clinton. However, I will argue that Clinton is in fact a progressive, and that ideological purity is not the proper way to go forward.

When Hillary Clinton was in the Senate, she was ranked as the 11th most liberal Senator [4]. Among Clinton's progressive accomplishments are creating the Office on Violence Against Women, created the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to provide insurance for children, helped to enact the Adoption and Safe Families Act, [5] spearheaded investigations into the Gulf War Syndrome [6], and was vital in ensuring the health care for responders to 9/11.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders voted with each other 93% of the time [7]. If we were to take Sanders and Stein out of the equation, it is clear that Hillary Clinton qualifies as a liberal and arguablly, a progressive. As Jeff Stoehr notes [8]:

"Bill is a genuine centrist. Hillary is not. On numerous issues, she sits to the left of her husband and of President Barack Obama. According to, a website that tracks the positions and public statements of political leaders, both presidents are "left liberals." Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is a "hard-core liberal." To put that in context, her "democratic socialist" opponent is placed in the very same category."


Hillary Clinton, while not perfect, is certainly far better than the alternatives. If we wish to see progressive policies enacted, we need to work within the Democratic Party to make that happen; therefore, we must unite behind Hillary Clinton.


3. pealed-obamacare


Like the pro, I acknowledge that change will not happen overnight, however we cannot hope to enact changes unless we can build a strong movement to enact those changes and stand firm in our principles. For this reason, I shall contend that progressives should not support Hillary Clinton, and should rally behind Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

1. Hillary Clinton is not a Progressive

Despite the populist rhetoric Clinton has been using, Clinton's record on issues from Climate Change to Military intervention show that she is anything but progressive. As the first lady, as a Senator and as Secretary of State, she promoted policies which are the antithesis of progressive values. I shall focus on just three areas in particular in this round.
The first issue is free trade. Clinton has been very trade friendly up until recently when she flip-flopped on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Clinton advocated for NAFTA as First lady and in 2008, she stated she would not support withdrawal from NAFTA. As a Senator, she voted for the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement, the US-Chile Free Trade Agreement, the US-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement, the US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement and the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement and as Secretary of State she pushed for the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement and helped negotiate the TPP, going as far as calling it the “Gold Standard” in trade deals, and pushed for it on numerous occasions. While she now claims to be against TPP, her previous actions make this claim seem dubious at best, and, therefore, unreliable. This all stands at odds with the progressive stance on Trade, which is generally in opposition to free trade, supporting fair trade as an alternative.
The second issue is foreign policy. As Secretary of State, Clinton was one of the most Hawkish members of the Obama cabinet, pushing for the 2009 troop surge in Afghanistan, the 2011 intervention in Libya and attempted to extend the US occupation of Iraq. In her book Hard Choices, Clinton bragged about taking a maximalist stance on Iran and imposing "crippling sanctions". She is also a major supporter of US Drone strikes which have killed thousands of innocent civilians, a fact which she chooses to deny. She is also a vocal supporter of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and a strong opponent of Palestinian statehood. Her tenure as secretary of state has been lauded by former SOS Henry Kissinger, someone who Clinton has praised as an inspiration. This record alone should disqualify Clinton from being a progressive. Progressives are opposed to foreign intervention, militarism, and imperial wars, things Clinton has shown to be in favour of.
The final issue is campaign finance. This is not so much an issue of stance, as much as it is an issue of practice. Progressives should not support candidates who take corporate money, and should not take corporate money themselves. This is because corporate money influences policies and corrupts the political system at large. Hillary Clinton has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from large corporations and special interest groups. Progressives stand in opposition to this and thus Hillary Clinton cannot be considered a progressive.

2. Lesser of Two Evils Solves Nothing
In order to enact the changes progressives wish to enact, progressives cannot settle for the lesser of two evils. This false dichotomy only entrenches the status quo and is counterintuitive. While there is very little chance that a Progressive candidate like Jill Stein will win the election, by voting for her, progressives send a stronger message than voting for Hillary Clinton. By voting for Jill Stein , progressives are casting a vote for progressive policies.

3. Jill Stein represents the best opportunity to build an independent progressive movement.

While her chances of winning are slim, Jill Stein is the best chance progressives have to build a strong political alternative to the two corporate parties. Currently, Jill Stein is receiving around 2% in polls nationwide. If progressives were to fall behind Jill Stein, this would help increase this percentage. This is vital, as once a party receives 5% of the popular vote in a presidential election, that party is eligible to receive Federal matching funds for future elections. These matching funds are vital for the Green Party, as it would help the Green party grow. The Green Party is the largest and fastest growing progressive party in the US, and federal matching funds would greatly increase the ability of the party to expand. As the GPUS represents the best alternative to the two party system for progressives, it is vital for progressives to help it to grow and gain in strength.

Debate Round No. 2


Once again, I wish to thank Con for accepting this debate.

-- Con's case --

1. Clinton is not a progressive

In my opening round, I laid out a pretty good case as to why Clinton is, and should be considered, a progressive. Con argues strictly from apostasy, namely, that Clinton isn't sufficiently progressive for progressives to support. Con picks what he believes to be determining issues, finds Clinton to be impure, and thus we should not support Clinton. Although I do believe there are problems in her record, it certainly pales in comparison to her firm progressive record and getting things accomplished. Sady Dole notes [1]:

"Clinton believes that you need to be in the system in order to change the system, and I think that is true. Clinton’s path has given her tremendous impact, and in many ways, her politics—left sympathies combined with a survivor’s instinct for using the system, and a lawyer’s love of the fine detail—are reminiscent of Obama’s. While leftists have critiques of Obama, too, I think he’s been the best president in my lifetime, which started with Reagan. I also remember that second Bush a little too well to ever believe that the two parties are “basically the same” (though I have been told this many times).

When I hear claims about Hillary Clinton, the money-grubbing shill for Wall Street who thinks just like a Republican, I don’t recognize the woman who once snapped at her husband for not fighting hard enough for universal healthcare, telling him, “You didn't get elected to do Wall Street economics.” Similarly, I see no shifty dishonesty in the Hillary Clinton who, in 2005, pushed for a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Bush administration’s failure to respond to Hurricane Katrina, and who today is the woman making the administrative negligence in Flint, Mich., central to her campaign.


And the Hillary Clinton who is “Republican lite,” “more like Reagan than FDR” and “to the right of Nixon” does not seem remotely the same Clinton whose votes aligned with Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 93 percent of the time during the two years they overlapped in the Senate. They famously parted ways on the 2002 decision to authorize the war in Iraq—a vote that Clinton acknowledges was a mistake.


So, yes. There are problems with her record, and I recognize them. I could also criticize Sanders. I could go on about, for instance, his tendency to bring every single question back to economic inequality (an outdated, single-axis analysis that, as Andrea Plaid noted in these pages, is as myopic as #whitefeminists trying to make everything “all about gender”). But I won’t. I want to talk about the woman who has survived 25 years of misogynist hatred and GOP attacks, and came out unbroken and unbowed."

2. Lesser of two evils.

Let's concede for a moment that voting for Hillary is simply a vote for the lesser of two evils. I would contend that we should still support her and help her to win. Julia Maskivker notes [2]:

If our vote is part of a set of votes that will contribute to the defeat of the realistically electable “lesser evil,” therefore electing the “more evil” candidate, then we force society to pay a high price for our clean conscience. Sometimes, our concern for feeling morally impeccable should give way to a concern for what type of society we can help to create for the sake of all, including ourselves.

If we have a duty of aid toward society, our duty becomes even more stringent when there are real prospects that a scarily unpredictable leader would take power, a candidate who, if elected, could harm society. Under such circumstances, the duty to vote for the lesser evil would be a very serious one.

We cannot expect others to act on society’s behalf if we will not do so ourselves. Thus, voting for the lesser evil is not a lesser action. Morally, it is the right thing to do.

If voting for Stein ushers in a Trump presidency, the harm that will befall Americans would be far greater than that if Clinton were to be elected. Facism must be soundly rejected and we cannot risk having a greater evil befall on the United States because we view Clinton as impure.

Regardless, I reject the claim that Clinton is the lesser of two evils. Clinton represents the best choice to win and the best chance to move progressive values forward. Furthermore, I do not believe that Clinton is evil of a "Republican lite." For Con's claim to stand, he would need to show how Clinton is evil.

3. Jill Stein represents the best opportunity to build and independent progressive movement

The Green Party and Jill Stein do not have much influence in politics. Currently, Stein is on the ballot in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington D.C., Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. These states make up only 296 electoral votes [3]. By contrast, in 2012, they only received 0.36 of the popular vote [4].

I believe, as Clinton does, that in order to change the system, we have to be in the system. The Democratic Party best represents progressives and should serve as the vehicle for progressive change.





Pro's Arguments

1) Drumpf is Dangerous

I will not deny that the possibility of a Drumpf presidency frightens me, however, this is no reason progressives should compromise on their principles and fall behind the lesser evil. The pro supports his claim of the danger posed by Drumpf by citing an article by the Economist’s Global Forecasting Service. The danger posed by Drumpf in this analysis includes his “his hostile attitude to free trade”, the possibility he could “scupper the Trans-Pacific Partnership” and his “vocal skepticism towards NATO”[3]. While I do not contend that Drumpf is progressive, and I would even go as far as to call him a pseudo-fascist, these are where Drumpf takes a progressive view, even if for the wrong reasons. Progressives are opposed to free trade deals, and progressives like Elizabeth Warren, Keith Ellison, Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein and Margaret Flowers have been working hard to defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership[1]. Progressives are also, by and large, skeptical of NATO, and support the US withdrawal from NATO and many including, Noam Chomsky, have called it a threat to world peace[2]. Given that this is a debate among progressives, these are to be considered the few possible positives of a Drumpf administration.

This does not excuse the Racism and Xenophobia of Mr. Drumpf, and his foreign policy and calls for a ban on Muslims are things progressives should genuinely fear, and are noted in the article cited by the Pro. The article still acknowledges, however, that a Drumpf presidency is unlikely, stating:

“...we do not expect Mr. Drumpf to defeat...Hillary Clinton”[3]

Current polling is consistent with this conclusion, as right now, Clinton defeats Drumpf in all the latest polls and defeats him by a margin greater than the margin of error. This applies in polls showing just Drumpf and Clinton [4], but also holds true in polls which include Jill Stein and Gary Johnson (the Libertarian Nominee).[5]

And when given the current predictions for the electoral college, Hillary Clinton only needs to win around 70 electoral votes to win, while Drumpf needs approximately 106 electoral votes, and in most Swing states, Clinton is soundly leading Drumpf [6].

The Pro finally concludes by saying that if Progressives rally behind Jill Stein “we risk having a repeat of 2000 when George W. Bush won Florida by less than 600 votes, thus giving Bush the presidency.” This is false, however, as the Florida issue was not caused by Progressives who chose to vote for Ralph Nader, it was caused by issues including voter roll purges, errors in the counting procedure, technological failures (including punch card issues), and court interference. A study of the ballots by Florida State University actually came to the conclusion that Gore actually did win in Florida [7].

2. “Tipping Point Election”

The Pro cites the issue of the supreme court, however as we can see right now, with the current control of the Senate, it has been nearly impossible for President Obama to appoint someone, and it would be just as hard for Hillary Clinton unless the control of the Senate changes. Thus, the real issue at hand here is Senate races, not the Presidential one. And given the current polling favors Clinton by a wide Margin, there is a good deal of safety in terms of judicial appointments.

The Pro also brings up the issue of the Affordable Care Act, yet this issue also has more to do with the control of the House and Senate than it does who is in the White House. Only Congress can repeal laws, the President cannot.

3. Hillary Clinton’s Progressive Credentials

As this contention is similar to my first contention, I shall address this in my responses to the Pro's rebuttals.


1. Clinton is not Progressive

The Pro claims that I am contending that Clinton is not “sufficiently progressive”. This is a misrepresentation of my Argument, as I claim that Clinton is not progressive...period.

I support this claim because Clinton’s actions are mutually exclusive to progressive values. One cannot support Neoliberal Trade Policies, a Militarist foreign policy and take corporate money and still claim to be progressive. The Pro cites several actions that Clinton took in the Senate to qualify Clinton as a progressive, but this does not excuse her record on important issues. You cannot be a vegan who loves steak, and so you cannot be progressive and reject progressive values.

Clinton may have at one time snapped at her husband for embracing Neoliberalism, however since then she has gone on to embrace these policies herself. As Secretary of State, Clinton encouraged countries in Latin America to privatize state assets and undergo IMF-imposed structural adjustment programs[8,9].

The fact is that actions speak louder than words, and Clinton’s actions tell us what she really believes in.

2. Lesser of Two Evils

The odds of any vote being the deciding vote in this election are approximately 1 in 16 Million [10], and only around 7 States will really be in play in this election. In most states the results have been, effectively, predetermined. As addressed earlier, Current polling has Clinton defeats Drumpf in all the latest polls and defeats him by a margin greater than the margin of error in nearly every poll. The risk of a spoiler currently is very unlikely, especially given many Anti-Drumpf Republicans are planning to vote for Gary Johnson.

Furthermore, while every vote does count, voting is, sadly, a mostly symbolic act, and serves more as a way of expressing your views than actually picking a president. A vote in a Presidential election, or any election for that matter, is a way of expressing what policies you wish to see implemented. Thus by voting for the lesser evil, you are really voting against your interests.

By supporting the lesser evil, we perpetuate the two party system which has made change practically impossible.

3. Jill Stein represents the best opportunity to build and independent progressive movement

The pro points out that Jill Stein and the Green Party have very limited influence in politics, however, this only shows why it is so important to support Jill Stein. In order to grow the influence that the Greens have in the US, progressives will need to organize and mobilize support for Jill Stein so that the Greens can achieve 5% or more in the general election. As I have previously mentioned, once a party receives 5% of the popular vote in a presidential election, that party is eligible to receive Federal matching funds for future elections. These matching funds would help the Green party grow and achieve greater electoral success.

The pro contends that the Democrats represent the best vehicle for progressive change, however, the fact is that the Democratic Party has moved significantly to the right over the last 30 years. Numerous progressive challengers to the party establishment, like Dennis Kucinich, Howard Dean, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton were all shut down by the party leaders and we have seen this again with Bernie Sanders. According to Noam Chomsky, the Democrats today are effectively moderate Republicans. The caveat is that the Republicans have moved so far to the right that political scientist

Norman Ornstein has said that the GOP has become a “radical insurgency that doesn’t care about fact, doesn’t care about the argument, doesn’t want to participate in politics, and is simply off the spectrum.” [11]

Because of this, it is clear progressives must build an independent movement, and the Greens represent the best vehicle for this.













Debate Round No. 3


Due to unforeseen circumstances, my opponent and I have agreed to a tie. We will restart the debate and simply copy and paste what we have here.


As stated by the pro, we shall redo this debate later.
Debate Round No. 4


Please do not vote.


I want to reiterate what the Pro said, PLEASE DO NOT VOTE!!!!!!
Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by ThinkBig 4 months ago
Not a problem!
Posted by BrendanD19 4 months ago
Sorry again about the formatting. Once I was able to use a computer it it decided last minute to double space veery thing when I tried to review it.
Posted by fire_wings 4 months ago
Seems interesting
Posted by BrendanD19 4 months ago
Well it didn't format perfectly, but its good enough
Posted by ThinkBig 4 months ago
That sucks. I hate using an iPad for typing debate arguments.
Posted by BrendanD19 4 months ago
Sorry,miss taking me so long, I am trying to post my argument but I don't have access to a computer and I cannot make edits to the format from my iPad.
Posted by ThinkBig 4 months ago
Only 21 hours remaining...
Posted by ThinkBig 4 months ago
I usually do not quote that much text, but I believe that Dole's article was a perfect response and so I tried to use what I thought was most important.
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