Dear Owen Jones,
I just read your post for the Newstatesman entitled "Back Clinton if you think it's the only way to defeat Trump, but don't pretend she's an LGBT champion". I think I'm one of the people that article might have been aimed at and so I've written this open letter containing a few thoughts in response.
As most people who know me are probably aware, I don't often disagree with you. In fact, I'm confident enough that you share the majority of my opinions that I'd feel entirely comfortable simply referring people to you when they want to know my thoughts on something. Not that I would, it's just a testament to how often we agree. And so, when I do disagree with you, I consider it significant. This is, unfortunately, one of those times. I feel that it warrants a response, and though I'm not sure that you'll see this or have the time to read it, I need to make my thoughts here, clear.
I love Bernie Sanders. I think if Clinton and Sanders were running in my constituency to simply be MPs, I would vote for Sanders. It's the scale and difference of American presidential politics that makes me lean to Clinton. Not only is the overton window of American politics substantially to the right of the United Kingdom's, but the role of the American President has a much larger position on the world stage than any U.K politician. I believe that Sanders has much of the same problems as Corbyn- he isn't eloquent with his ideas nor is he the most realistic. He isn't enough of a politician and, unfortunately, that is a bad thing.
To me, Clinton is a case study for pro-LGBT campaigns. We're being severely hypocritical if we criticise once-detractors for changing their opinions on LGBT issues. This is in fact the entire goal of our LGBT campaigns, to convince people of power and to have them use that power for good. Attacking her only detracts from our ability to say that that is our goal with a straight face. In addition to this, does it really matter what she actually thinks? It's what she says and what she does that makes a real difference. The reason her campaign is receiving so many endorsements from various pro-LGBT organisations is that her LGBT manifesto is very strong and she is the candidate most likely to be in the position to implement that manifesto of pro LGBT policies come November and come January.
Yes, her recent slip up regarding the Reagans makes her intentions questionable. However, while it may have been offensive, in all practically no one really suffered due to the comment, which was quickly and unconditionally apologised for in a way that is uncommon from politicians. This was not a policy decision. In all honesty, I think my opinion of her may have increased since this debacle due to the swiftness of her apology. She is trying to win an election so that she can implement her manifesto, much of which is made up of pro-LGBT policy, and winning an election as a relative left winger in America is not the easiest thing to do. You have to forgive a few mistakes, I believe.
There's also the fact that for many young gays today, including myself, LGBT issues are not the main contributor to their decision on who to support. Personally, I believe issues such as gun violence, sexism, and the healthcare industry, are the biggest issues facing America at the moment. These are all issues that Hillary is championing. Meanwhile,** Bernie's record on gun violence ranges from spotty to disastrous**, and his healthcare plan is widely considered unworkable. These criticisms would only grow were he to win the nomination.
Lastly, I think that you make a mistake to assume the republican nominee is going to be Trump. It's looking more than likely from where I stand that the republicans are going to have a brokered convention where, frankly, anything could happen. Sure, Sanders may win against Trump, but do I believe he would beat a moderate republican? Not a chance. You can point to all the match up polls you like, but they're just not predictive according to many data scientists, not least of which is 538's Nate Silver. I consider them an irrelevance, and I think you should too.
I'll finish by saying that I am by no means a right winger. In fact, I'm one of the few people I'd confidently say is more left wing that you yourself, Owen, which is made clear in our difference in party allegiance. I'm also gay. However, that doesn't mean I automatically support the candidate who is seen as most left wing; it's just far too nuanced, which is something I hope this letter has explained. In short, Hillary's policies are good enough for America and she's the candidate most likely to be able to and most likely to implement policies that I see as good for America.