Greetings and salutations. Matthew Fleischer, digital editor of The Times Opinion section, here. We’ve got 44 days left until the most nerve-racking election in our nation’s history. Take a deep breath and relax while you still can.
It’s not exactly controversial to argue that Donald Trump is unfit to be president — and that, should he win in November, the country could plunge into an economic and moral abyss that would be difficult to recover from.
Yet while the conventional wisdom acknowledges that Hillary Clinton must become the next president for the good of the nation, there aren’t too many folks who seem to be especially happy about it.
Is America really just holding its collective nose and choosing the lesser of two evils by voting for Clinton?
The Times editorial board puts that notion to rest with a full-throated endorsement of the Democratic candidate.
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.
Neither Libertarian Gary Johnson nor Green Party candidate Jill Stein offers a serious alternative to the major-party candidates. Even voters who have questions about Clinton must recognize that neither Stein nor Johnson stands a chance of winning — and that a vote for either is merely one less vote for the only candidate who can defeat Trump. Besides, neither is a better candidate than Clinton; both were interviewed at length by The Times editorial board, and despite certain superficial appeal, neither comes close to matching Clinton’s qualifications, expertise or understanding of the political process.
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.
If Clinton does lose, we’ll have mealy-mouthed equivocations of the press to thank. At least according to Harvard professor and Times op-ed contributor Thomas Patterson, whose analysis of election media coverage found that two-thirds of stories written about Clinton are negative in tone, while almost completely ignoring the substance of her policy positions. In fact, Trump has been quoted more often about Clinton's policies than she has. L.A. Times
Presidential politics aside, Californians have a giant decision on their hands about whether to legalize and regulate marijuana, by passing Proposition 64. The Times editorial board argues for a yes vote, because the reality is that California has already, essentially, legalized marijuana. L.A. Times
Just because marijuana should probably be legal doesn’t mean it can’t have deleterious effects on developing brains. How do you talk to your kids about marijuana, legal or otherwise, without delving into hyperbole, or diminishing the true dangers? L.A. Times
Worried about scarring your kids with your potty mouth (possibly while discussing marijuana)? Well, don’t. While homophobic and racial slurs can cause anxiety and depression in kids, there’s no scientific proof that exposure to your typical four-letter words causes any sort of direct harm. L.A. Times
Is it OK to sleep next to your newborn baby? In a piece that drew its share of impassioned critiques from the medical establishment, op-ed contributors Robert LeVine and Sarah LeVine argue, yes, it can even be beneficial. L.A. Times
On Sunday, after 60 years, legendary Dodgers announcer Vin Scully will call his final game. On her podcast, Patt Morrison speaks with Roz Wyman, the woman who fought to bring Scully and the Dodgers to L.A. all those decades ago. L.A. Times