My top candidate is John Edwards because he is the only candidate who seems to care that corporations run most of the government. Media consolidation, the military industrial complex, pharmaceutical gouging, lobbyist power (and conversely less power for the average american), and pork barrel spending are just some of the problems we face because of unchecked corporate greed. If you care about these issues, vote for John Edwards. If you don't care about these issues, you should.
Barack Obama comes in second place because I trust that he has legitimate progressive values, and I think he genuinely cares about Americans, unlike many candidates who seem to only care about themselves. The only reason to shift your vote from Edwards to Obama is that Obama has a better shot of winning and right now it looks like Hillary is way ahead in California.
An honorable mention to Dennis Kucinich because he tried to impeach Dick Cheney. Kucinich is a peacenik with the biggest set of balls in Congress. Chickenhawks won't learn anything from him. He has dropped out of the race due to media prejudice against him. I don't know if I would have voted for him, but I would have liked to have gotten to know him better.
Hillary Clinton is a politician's politician. She changes her point of view largely depending on what is popular, but is smart enough to not sound like a douche when she talks. I highly recommend not voting for her because she never achieved power she didn't like. While the Clinton administration had many positive aspects, Bill and George have one thing in common: belief in a powerful executive branch. If you care about the abuses of the Executive Branch ending with the Bush Administration, you'd better hope Hillary doesn't get elected, because even if you trust her, she'd leave the door wide open for her successors to abuse power. I don't trust her.
Hillary Clinton has had some very anti-democratic legislation while in the Senate:
- She tried to make it illegal to burn the American flag. If I ever choose to burn my own property, especially if I choose to burn my American flag, I will have a damned good reason. Making it illegal to burn the flag is nationalist idiocy, serves no useful purpose, and violates my property rights and right to freedom of speech.
- She made multiple attempts to ban violent video games. There is no correlation between real-life violence and video games. Violent video games have been around for decades, played by millions and millions of people, without a corresponding increase in violence. This was a misguided waste of time playing on a fake controversy while also infringing on people's freedom.
- She voted for the "PATRIOT" Act. And then she voted to renew the "PATRIOT" Act after everyone had time to read how it shreds the Constitution. Unfortunately for us, so did Obama.
All of these things have this in common - she's voted for the popular thing even though it infringes on our freedom. Add to that the reports of widespread dirty tricks by the Clinton campaign, and she's more similar to George W. than I'm comfortable with.