'The Young Turks' Host Ana Kasparian Talks About The Wrong Reason To Be Voting For Hillary Clinton
Ana Kasparian, the co-host of political talk show The Young Turks, proudly describes herself as a feminist and notes that it will definitely affect her vote in the 2016 election. Kasparian tells Bustle that the election features a lot of important, feminist issues, like paid family leave and the attacks on Planned Parenthood. That's why, Kasparian says, she doesn't understand feminists who say they are going to vote for Hillary Clinton because we need a woman in the Oval Office, especially if those feminists don't know the ins and outs of Clinton's platform.
"I think that is the worst way of voting in the election possible," Kasparian says. "And so I know that there are some feminists who are arguing, 'Hey, it's about time we have a female president, and as a result I'm voting for Hillary Clinton,' but what about her policy ideas and what she's going to do to the country?"
Policy and accountability are two things Kasparian emphasized a lot during our chat. She was the child of two immigrants: her mother is Armenian and her father is Syrian, and she grew up in a very conservative, traditional Armenian household. For example, she grew up believing that prostitution should be penalized and that there should be harsh penalties for it. Now, she believes that it should be legalized to keep people off the streets and, with regulation, keep them healthy and safe. She also used to have what she calls pretty "ridiculous" views about gay marriage:
I used to think that normalizing same sex marriage was a bad idea because it would make everyone gay. But, then, you grow up and you kind of educate yourself and you realize that's the most ridiculous thing imaginable.
So Kasparian began studying racial inequalities within the U.S. and around the world, and she also saw the problems of working class families in her own Armenian community while she was growing up. Gradually, she says her views changed, and she went into journalism because her mother didn't approve of her pursuing an acting career. Kasparian says that journalism fits, though, because she enjoys calling out politicians who take money from big corporations or celebrities involved in domestic violence cases on The Young Turks.
Her awareness of class and inequality is part of what makes her especially critical of Clinton. She says the former Secretary of State isn't strong enough on getting money out of politics, which she believes has corrupted the democratic process. Kasparian cites the Democratic Forum on MSNBC, when Clinton told Rachel Maddow that she went to NASDAQ in December 2007 and told bankers to "stop it" with the subprime mortgages. "That was her idea of being a tough guy against Wall Street," Kasparian says. "Of course our economy underwent a meltdown after that because politicians like her have been given massive campaign donation from the very people they refuse to regulate."
Kasparian says that she believes it's actually destructive to vote for someone "based on nonsensical factors like their sex or their race" because it would disregard the many very serious issues at the center of the 2016 election. Kasparian also says that people seem to be ignoring the fact that American politics "has become a joke," citing the fact that Donald Trump is being taken seriously by Republican voters:
"We've created a system where it doesn't really matter how experienced you are for you to run for president — it really matters how much money you've raised. And Donald Trump has a lot of money, so it makes him able to run for president, which is hilarious because he has no idea what his policy positions are," she says. "We have to change that system. We have to create a system where people who aren't clowns are taken seriously, and people who are clowns are laughed out of the race."
Kasparian says that paid family leave is one of the many feminist issues that should be discussed even more in the 2016 election. She says that the U.S. is the only developed country in the world without a federal paid family leave law, and Clinton hasn't endorsed any specific paid family leave law. Clinton has said that things "have to change" so that the U.S. isn't lagging behind all other developed countries, but she hasn't specified just how much leave she would support, according to her website.
"I know that Hillary Clinton is in favor of maternity leave, but I want it to be part of her platform. I want her to be really strong on that," Kasparian says. "I don't know how I would have kids, and continue on with my career. It would harm my career in so many ways, because I don't have any protection — no federal protection."
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders supports 12 weeks of paid family leave, according to his campaign website, but Kasparian says she supports him more because of his stance on money in politics. She says he is the only "sane politician" who has consistently spoken out against politicians receiving campaign donations from large corporations. But, she says there's one thing that he and other Democratic politicians need to do better:
Planned Parenthood is attacked during every single election cycle. You see some Democratic politicians speaking out against it, but not really. They need to really come out and just punch people in the mouth — theoretically, not literally — and just say, "This is an organization that helps so many underprivileged people in the country, whether it's breast cancer screenings or STD tests or contraceptives." There needs to be a very clear campaign against these people who are smearing Planned Parenthood and I'm just not seeing it.
Kasparian stressed, though, that money in politics is the root of many of the problems between Washington and our economy. She says that millennials need to focus on the issue, but that media also need to call out politicians for what Kasparian called legalized bribery. "The issue is our media and whether they're going to hold politicians accountable for their corruption and for this legalized bribery," she says. "And, unfortunately, they're not going to because they're bought off by the same types of corporations. So, it's this ongoing issue, and the reason I bring up money in politics is because that's really the virus that affects every other issue in the political world today. If you don't get the money out of politics then you're not going to have any real change."
Images: The Young Turks (2)