American voters have a clear choice on Nov. 8. We can elect an experienced, thoughtful and deeply knowledgeable public servant or a thin-skinned demagogue who is unqualified and unsuited to be president.
She stands for rational, comprehensive immigration reform and an improvement rather than an abandonment of the Affordable Care Act. She supports abortion rights, wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour, hopes to reform the sentencing laws that have overcrowded American prisons, would repair the Voting Rights Act and help students to leave college without enormous debt. Abroad she would strengthen America's traditional alliances, continue the Obama administration's efforts to "degrade and ultimately defeat" Islamic State and negotiate with potential adversaries such as Russia and China in a way that balances realism and the protection of American interests. Unlike Trump, Clinton accepts the prevailing science on climate change and considers the issue to be "the defining challenge of our time."
Perhaps her greatest strength is her pragmatism — her ability to build consensus and solve problems. As president, she would be flexible enough and experienced enough to cut across party lines and work productively with her political opponents. As first lady, she worked with Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) and Sen. Orrin
Throughout her public career, beginning with her work in the 1970s for the Children's Defense Fund, Clinton has advocated for women, children, the poor and minorities. She fought for what came to be known as "Hillarycare" 15 years before "Obamacare" became a thing; she has been outspoken in defense of women's rights around the globe, including in her powerful and influential speech in Beijing in 1995 proclaiming that "women's rights are human rights."
Clinton’s long history of advocacy and public service stands in stark contrast to Trump’s record of virtually no leadership at all. He’s famous and wealthy, a TV personality, a showman — but what in his resume suggests he is qualified to lead the country? In the coming weeks, Trump will no doubt try harder to appear presidential, but surely voters won’t forget the long litany of insults, lies, threats and ignorant statements he has made about everyone from Mexicans and Muslims to a disabled reporter to Sen.
Trump's ignorance of the issues is manifest. He has called climate change "a hoax" and vowed to renegotiate the Paris climate accord. Obamacare would be repealed and replaced with "something great." His signature proposal is to construct a wall along the southern border of the United States — and have Mexico pay the billions of dollars involved. Mexico, unsurprisingly, insists it will not. As for the 11 million immigrants already in the country illegally, they will either be rounded up and deported (though experts say that will cost billions of dollars, disrupt the economy, divide families and require massive violations of civil liberties) or perhaps some will be allowed to remain, living in the shadows.
Trump doesn’t take America’s global alliances seriously, he has cozied up to Russian strongman
In the style of earlier demagogues like Huey Long and George Wallace, Trump has aimed his misleading and mean-spirited diatribes at a struggling and frustrated segment of society — apparently touching a chord with voters who have experienced years of stagnant wages, whose jobs are threatened, who feel betrayed by Washington and nostalgic for a more prosperous past. To these voters Trump bashes immigrants and free trade and rails about law and order, promising to make America great again and assuring them that he alone can solve their problems. But those who put their hope in Trump's politics of resentment and fear are making a terrible mistake.
The more rational wing of the Republican party has been appalled by the direction in which the GOP is moving, and its braver members have spoken up. Mitt Romney called Trump “unfit.” Michael Bloomberg endorsed Clinton.
Some voters who do not like Trump worry that Clinton, too, has serious shortcomings. And of course she does; all politicians do. She has a penchant for secrecy that has caused her significant problems, not least in the investigation of her ill-advised decision to use a private email server for her official communications as secretary of State. It is true that her family foundation took millions of dollars from foreign leaders and overseas business people while she was in Obama's cabinet, creating the potential for conflicts of interest. She and her husband have spent years among the rich and powerful and have grown at home in that favor-trading world in a way that makes many voters uneasy. This page has criticized her in the past for adjusting her positions to match popular opinion and for being a little too comfortable with the use of military force. And at least on the hustings, she lacks the authentic, let's-have-a-beer personality that many voters seek in a candidate.
To be a great president, she will have to struggle to overcome her own weaknesses. But compared with Trump's infirmities as a candidate, her failings are insignificant. It's absurd — and perilous — to portray this election, as so many are doing, as a choice of the "lesser of two evils" or to suggest that her flaws are in any way on a level with his.
The election of Hillary Clinton as the first female president of the United States would surely be as exhilarating as it is long overdue, a watershed moment in American history after centuries of discrimination against women. But that's not the chief reason to vote for her. She deserves America's support because she is the overwhelmingly better candidate. Against a Romney or a McCain, she would almost certainly be our choice. Against Trump? The question answers itself.