Democrats are sick and tired of the endless lies about Hillary, the character attacks, the distortions of her record, the contorted caricature portrayed in the media. They want an unfiltered connection to Hillary without the prism of GOP-style talking points and false frames.

If the headline of this piece blows some minds, you can thank three decades of relentless lies and smears by the conservative attack machine and its mainstream media enablers, who have labored to create an aura of corruption around Hillary Clinton. Hillary’s detractors on the right, left and center reel off a laundry list of unsupported accusations with an air of absolute authority, as though it is simply a given that she is a terrible, horrible, no-good human being.

And that is precisely the intention: Taint her through innuendo and guilt-by-association, throw enough dirt at her that voters develop an instant negative association with her name. Accuse, accuse, accuse until the accusation becomes the reality, and may the truth be damned.

Karl Rove, the Koch brothers, and billionaire conservative moneymen like Paul Singer have spent inordinate sums to paint a malignant picture of Hillary, using sophisticated propaganda techniques to render her toxic to the American electorate.

Sadly, many on the left imbibe and regurgitate these fabricated narratives, spewing falsehoods and filth at Hillary with gleeful abandon. They are joined by mainstream media operatives with personal vendettas like Maureen Dowd and the Morning Joe crew, whose venomous words reveal more about their own failings than about Hillary.

But the fact is this: no one has ever produced an iota of evidence that Hillary has behaved improperly because of a campaign contribution. No one has produced a scintilla of proof that there is a quid pro quo when it comes to her speaking fees. From Whitewater to Benghazi to her emails, nobody can point to a single instance of corruption or purposeful wrongdoing on Hillary Clinton’s part.

None. Zero. Ever.

The most they have are votes or positions they disagree with. And even there, the false frames are tossed around with no regard for facts. Hillary’s voting record is as liberal as Elizabeth Warren’s, yet somehow Hillary is the one portrayed by some critics on the left as a sell-out, a closet Republican, a traitor to progressives.

I agree with most of Bernie Sanders’ platform – which is very similar to Hillary’s – but contrary to the assertions of his supporters, Bernie is not some outsider untouched by the messy complexities of politics. He is a seasoned politician who has spent a quarter century in Congress; he sided with the NRA when it was politically expedient; his top adviser is a consummate DC insider; he has engaged in negative campaigning against Hillary when he vowed not to; and his campaign has shown a willingness to take swipes at progressive icons when it serves their political goals.

My point is this: the notion that somehow Bernie is pure good and Hillary is pure evil is hogwash. They are both politicians who make judgments and adopt positions, some of which we agree with, others we don’t.

Hillary’s Republican opponent, Donald Trump, has spent a year hurling insults at people who disagree with him. He has embraced intolerance as a platform. He has a shameful history of demeaning women. He lacks even the most rudimentary preparedness for the office he seeks. He has a self-admittedly vindictive temperament which is profoundly ill-suited for the presidency. He lashes out at reporters in personal terms whenever he is questioned. Yet astonishingly, he receives less (yes, less) negative coverage than Hillary, according to two independent studies.

No matter how shocking this may sound to Hillary’s professional critics – those who spend their time condescendingly mocking anyone who says a good word about her – Hillary is an upstanding, principled leader who has survived the most intrusive, invasive, aggressive and unending vetting process in political history.

Time and again, she has emerged with her integrity intact. In the words of the Des Moines Register, which endorsed her in January, “Clinton has demonstrated that she is a thoughtful, hardworking public servant who has earned the respect of leaders at home and abroad. She stands ready to take on the most demanding job in the world.”

Having worked with Hillary for three years as an adviser and seen her approach to life and politics, having watched her as a mom and daughter, as a friend to so many people, I know that the rightwing caricature of her is an offensive distortion and I feel personally compelled to speak the truth and to fight the slander.

It is gratifying to Hillary’s friends and supporters (and infinitely vexing to her detractors) that rank-and-file Democrats see through the spin and connect to Hillary on a personal level. These are the voters across America who are poised to carry her to the Democratic nomination and ultimately to the White House, sending a monumentally important and inspiring message to women and girls across the globe.

Update (7/12/16): This article has received more than 320,000 340,000 shares since it was first published in January, making it one of the top three most shared positive pieces about Hillary of the entire 2016 cycle. It was updated in April to reflect developments in the race. In the intervening months, the FBI exonerated Hillary, asserting that there was no purposeful wrongdoing on her part; Bernie endorsed her; and the basic premise remains that she is an ethical, principled and upstanding leader who has America’s best interests at heart.