Yeah, okay, I’m gonna do one more of these.
Because it’s an ugly sexist myth that Hillary Clinton has never gotten anything done, and Donald keeps saying it anyway, because he knows his supporters will never bother to look it up. (Also to distract from his own record of bankruptcies and lawsuits and not getting an Emmy.)
And even on the left, you get people saying “how can we trust Clinton, even if her positions sound good, how can we know if she’ll follow through?”
Gee, I dunno, maybe we can look at her forty-year track record and extrapolate from there.
(Buckle up, this one’s gonna get long.)
In fact, let’s go back farther, let’s look at Hillary Rodham the Wellesley undergrad, 1965-1969:
This kid pushed for everything from “increasing the number of black students and faculty members” to “a better system for returning library books
Seriously, Hillary did more to advance racial justice while she was in college than Trump has done in his entire life
…and one friend remembers her as the only white person who called with sympathy when MLK was shot
And then let’s talk about Hillary the law student, lawyer, and professor, with some First Lady of Arkansas thrown in:
1972: went undercover to expose secret illegal segregation in Arkansas private schools
1973: went door-to-door for the Children’s Defense Fund, looking for people whose kids weren’t getting to school, and asking why
Turns out the reason was usually “the school can’t handle my kid’s disability”
In fact, pre-1975: “U.S. public schools accommodated only 1 out of 5 children with disabilities. Until that time, many states had laws that explicitly excluded children with certain types of disabilities from attending public school.”
HRC researched and helped prepare the CDF report that was a major catalyst for the US finally making that illegal
1975: you may have heard that this was the year when Hillary was the (court-appointed) defense attorney for a rapist (who pled guilty)
but you probably haven’t heard what she did next:
She founded the first rape-crisis counseling hotline in Arkansas
And this was not a symbolic gesture
This was not something she halfassed for the sake of looking good
Hillary made herself a nationally-renowned expert in the field
Listen: “In 1975, I helped start the first rape crisis center in Atlanta. I was trying to navigate the legal issues related to child assault victims, but the law was so new, I was lost, so I asked for help. Everywhere I called, the experts would say, ‘Do you know Hillary Rodham? She’s who you need to talk to.‘”
1977: co-founded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, a nonprofit that’s still going strong
And worked for the Legal Services Corporation – a government service that makes sure low-income people can get attorneys – under Jimmy Carter
Note that conservatives hate the LSC, in part because it was openly serving gay clients in the ‘70s
Seriously, open this Heritage Foundation screed and skip to the bit about “homosexual activists”
(or just read the whole thing, it’s great)
With HRC’s chairmanship, that agency tripled its budget
1979: chair of a committee that expanded healthcare access into rural Arkansas! and helped establish the state’s first neonatal nursery! and a program to help parents of preschool-age at-risk children!
Let’s talk about First Lady Clinton, 1993-2001:
1994: (movie trailer voice) In A World where gay sex was literally illegal … where gay people were thrown out of the military, to laughter and applause on the Senate floor … One Political Couple had a politically radioactive idea: what if we stopped doing that?
1995: Hillary fought for mental health care for Gulf War veterans, back when the Defense Department hadn’t even worked out that Gulf War PTSD and chemical-warfare-related health issues were a thing
1997: long before Obamacare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program
More than 8 million children got health insurance
HRC wasn’t even in Congress yet, and her efforts were pivotal in getting the law passed – and then translating it into action
Same with the Adoption and Safe Families Act, “the most significant change in federal child-protection policy in almost two decades”
Note: “it expands both adoptions and federal assistance in general to a wider population of Americans — single adults, including lesbians and gay men, even single elderly people — people usually left out of family focused agenda”
1999: Followed that up with the Foster Care Independence Act, making sure kids who have aged out of the foster care system could get things like healthcare, housing assistance, and counseling
HRC followed that by immediately getting elected Senator from New York, and then re-elected by an even wider margin, so she served from 2001-2009.
I’m just gonna focus on the 77 bills Senator Clinton sponsored or cosponsored that that became law (although she introduced more than 2000, so imagine what could’ve happened with a Democratic majority):
Of the 70 GOP senators she worked alongside, a whopping 56 of them co-sponsored at least one bill with her.
That’s the “4 out of 5 dentists recommend…!” tier of approval
(and STILL you get people trying to spin that as proof that she’s not bipartisan!)
2001: Clinton was “instrumental” in getting federal aid for NYC after 9/11
Then in getting medical treatment for first responders
And it’s not just the people close to home she works for: check out the Afghan Women and Children Relief Act, to “provide urgent funds for immunisation, basic education and other assistance to vulnerable women and children, including refugees.”
You like research and care for leukemia and other blood cancers, right? So does HRC
You like research and care for breast/cervical cancer, right? And you think Native American women should be covered by the treatment options? So does HRC
2002: Requiring pharmaceutical companies to do specific research on the effects their drugs have on children, and label accordingly
Pediatricians talk about how this has led to real, substantial improvements in their ability to treat kids
2003: You like research and care for West Nile and other mosquito-borne viruses, right? So does HRC
Congress’ very first nanotech bill, authorizing R&D funds
2004: Creating a State Department envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism
Try to look this one up and most of what you’ll get is furious articles from Stormfront
2006: You like research and care for babies born prematurely, right? So does HRC – and the March of Dimes loves it
Protecting people in the armed forces from predatory insurance schemes
Improving our preparedness for public health emergencies, including funding for NHS workers, more consideration for at-risk individuals, and uniform coordination of electronic response systems across states
Look, I’m not saying there will be a zombie apocalypse
I’m just saying, HRC has taken into account the needs of children, people with disabilities, and people with limited English if there’s a zombie apocalypse
2008: You like research and care for traumatic brain injuries, right? So does HRC
You like early screening and care for congenital disorders that show up in newborns, right? So does HRC
There’s a whole package of amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act to make it apply more broadly, which, again, just go read the whole thing, it’s worth it
You like research and treatment for ALS, right? “A nationwide registry will help us learn what causes ALS, how it can be effectively diagnosed and treated, and ultimately how it can be cured. This is a tremendous victory.”
btw, this was 6 years before the Ice Bucket Challenge
Hillary Clinton: Cares About Stuff Before It Goes Viral
Mapping broadband access across the US, particularly in rural and native communities, so we can compare our progress to other countries and identify barriers for getting high-speed internet access everywhere
Hey, Tumblr, you care about keeping sexual predators from targeting children online, right? Here’s a bill with a ton of provisions going at that
2009: the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which is still having real-world effects as it lets women and minorities sue for equal paychecks
At this point she was also running for President, but in swept Barack Obama and charmed the hearts of America, so Clinton ended up serving as his Secretary of State from 2009-2013.
There’s no Big Flashy Showpiece you can point to from Secretary Clinton’s tenure. A lot of her diplomatic work was straight-up post-Bush-administration repair work and maintenance. A lot of it was, frankly, unsexy. No one writes breathless headlines about statistically-supported initiatives to distribute lifesaving low-pollution stoves.
Also, she didn’t singlehandedly bring peace to the Middle East. So, y’know, missed opportunity there.
But she was obviously doing something right, because Hillary Clinton had a 69% approval rating when she left the State Department in 2013.
A quick roundup of some things Secretary Clinton pulled off just fine:
Visited more countries than any Secretary of State in US history
Seriously, she spent the equivalent of 87 full days on airplanes
Do not talk to Clinton about stamina
2009: Policy nerd Hillary gave the State Department internal reviews and long-term planning on a level they had literally never done before
(I told you some of this was unsexy)
2010: Did you know we had a 25-year loss of military defense ties with New Zealand? Yeah, HRC fixed that
“Clinton enacted a new rule making it easier for transgender people to register their identities on their passports. […] At the time, this was the most pro-transgender action by the federal government ever, and—coming a full six years before the Pentagon announced transgender troops could serve openly—it stands as one of the most progressive things Clinton has ever done.”
2011: pledging disaster relief for Japan after the earthquake and tsunami
Oh, and the team behind the takedown of bin Laden
When surveyed a few months after that, a third of Americans believed Clinton would’ve been a better president than Obama
2012: Negotiated an unexpected ceasefire in Gaza between Israel and Hamas
and hey, you want to talk about business experience?
Clinton’s State Department helped clinch a bunch of business contracts between US companies with foreign governments
Notables: Boeing and Russia in 2009, Lockheed Martin and Japan in 2011, Space Systems/Loral and Australia in 2012
”…the State Department’s 2012 fiscal-year request includes $1.2 billion in programs specifically targeting women, $832 million of which will go toward global health initiatives. Tellingly, comparisons with past years can’t be made, since the department only started tracking women-focused dollars in 2010.“
People keep talking about how Clinton is, historically, one of the most unpopular presidential candidates. Those people usually don’t mention how, three years ago, she was the most popular politician in the United States.
And, look: no one is saying she’s only done good things. You can’t work this long in politics and expect to make only the right choices – follow only the strongest intelligence – back only the best policies. Reasonable people can find plenty to disagree with in her record. Plenty to criticize.
But when people try to claim she’s done nothing?
Or that she doesn’t have any consistent beliefs or principles – that her record doesn’t have constant themes that she’s been reliably standing for since the 1970s?
Hillary Clinton has made real, substantial progress for women’s rights.
Real, substantial progress for people with disabilities.
Real, substantial progress for the rights and protections of children.
Anyone tries to tell you otherwise, you laugh in their faces and start listing things. I bet you anything they run out of patience before you run out of list.