As millennials, we’ve never understood why so many people – on both sides of the aisle – rag on Hillary Clinton. The Bill Clinton presidency occurred when we were middle school and what was there about Hillary not to like? She was the first lady who declared that “women’s rights are human rights” and helped create the program giving 8 million American children health care.
By the time politics became a real passion point for us, Hillary was the junior senator from New York who helped secure $21 billion in aid to the state after 9/11. She also led the charge on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. As secretary of state, she helped secure the START Treaty ratification, advanced women’s rights around the globe, and was the principal author of the sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table and led to the Iran nuclear deal, among other major accomplishments.
So it came as no surprise that Hillary Clinton was the first female nominee of a major political party or that she won the votes of more than 65 million Americans.
But what does continue to come as a surprise is that the passionate Hillary Clinton supporter remains a key voting demographic that is not only often ignored, but regularly impugned. We are consistently demeaned by critics and pundits who continue to slight her character, policy positions, and campaign. Our energy and votes are taken for granted. Clinton supporters will just show up to vote because that’s what we do – and what Hillary instilled in us.
But it feels damn good to no longer be ignored. With Joe Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate, we, as Hillary Clinton fans, feel vindicated. Sen. Harris is the final piece of the puzzle Clinton started with her first presidential campaign in 2008 and again in 2016.
There are so many ways in which Hillary and Kamala’s focuses interact and complement one another. We’d like to highlight four key areas that tie the two women together.
Diversity is a strength. Throughout her career, Hillary has been advocating for this principle as one of the strongest allies communities of color have had in Washington. Kamala herself is the embodiment of diversity as a strength, personifying the role Black women have played in Democratic Party politics.
Support for immigrant communities. Hillary has been a lifelong supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, regularly reminding Americans that immigrants make our country better and stronger. This position was most prominently on display during the 2016 election, standing in stark contrast to then-candidate Trump’s xenophobic policies. For her part, Kamala is the proud daughter of immigrant parents from India and Jamaica and a fierce advocate for a fair immigration system that supports Dreamers and prioritizes education and health care for those within our borders.
Justice for All. Whether it’s criminal, climate, reproductive or economic justice reform, Hillary – the only U.S. first lady with a law degree — made it her life’s work to fight for equality for all Americans. In her appearance in Delaware with Biden Wednesday, Kamala spoke evocatively of her own legal career in San Francisco and Sacramento where her client was “the people” of California. As vice president, this crusading lawyer will continue fuel this legacy.
Voting rights. Nothing is more important than the right to vote. This was the final message of Congressman John Lewis before he passed away and it is the credo by which both Hillary and Kamala have lived. Hillary has long been an advocate of universal voter registration, warning of the dangers posed to communities of color by intrusive voter ID laws and the GOP assault on voting right. These are all positions Kamala holds as well, and she just introduced her VoteSafe Act to protect voters during the pandemic so we can have a free and fair election.
There is no doubt that Kamala is exciting all on her own; we have felt that way throughout her career. But as Hillary supporters, these areas of alignment and advocacy prioritization feel like the culmination of decades of support for Hillary. We couldn’t be more pleased.