Climate change activist Bill McKibben understands that Hillary Clinton is not as progressive as our preferred candidate, Bernie Sanders. But McKibben also understands that Clinton is a political creature whom we progressives can push to accept more of our goals. That’s why he’s campaigning for Clinton:
Because if Trump wins, we backslide on the small gains we’ve made. We’ve forced Clinton to say through gritted teeth that she opposes Keystone, for instance. She can’t, I think, go back on that. Trump has made it clear he’ll permit that and every other pipeline, just as soon as he’s done tearing up the Paris climate accord.
…when she wins, none of us will be under the slightest illusion about who she is. The honeymoon won’t last 10 minutes; on November 9 we’ll be organizing for science and human rights and against the timid incrementalism that marks her approach. It’s clear that we need to beat the creepy perv she’s running against. It’s also clear that we then need to press harder than ever for real progress on the biggest crisis the world has ever faced [Bill McKibben, “The Climate Movement Has to Elect Hillary Clinton—and Then Give Her Hell,” The Nation, 2016.10.18].
In democracy, we don’t wind up our President and then let her run. We elect our President, and then have to stay engaged, pushing against Big Oil, big banks, and all the other forces who would pull her from our progressive path. Electing Hillary Clinton is not final victory; it is the beginning of four years of hard policy fights that we can win.
Related: On the other hand, John Nichols points out that there would be no checking the power of tyrant President Donald Trump:
Donald Trump is a son of privilege with regal aspirations, a well-dressed grifter who has taken advantage of every loophole to avoid paying taxes, avoid paying contractors, avoid his responsibilities as an employer, and avoid accountability for his abuse of women. Yet there are still many Republicans, like House Speaker Paul Ryan, who make excuses for him—suggesting that, while they cannot defend his words or deeds, they will support his candidacy. These reckless partisans are fools. They imagine that Trump’s totalitarian impulses would be constrained by the presidency. But Trump has signaled, again and again, that this is not the case; that he is prepared to govern as an uncrowned king, a strongman, an authoritarian. Americans who disbelieve Trump do so at their own peril, and at peril to the Republic [John Nichols, “The Sexual Predator Who Would Be King,” The Nation, 2016.10.12].
We can persuade a President, but not a King.