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Gazette endorsement: Clinton the clear choice

Gazette endorsement: Clinton the clear choice

Hillary Clinton has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience needed to perform the most diff
Gazette endorsement: Clinton the clear choice
Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign event at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Oct. 21, 2106. (Ruth Fremson/The New York Times)

“There should be no bitterness or hate where the sole thought is the welfare of the United States of America.”

— Franklin D. Roosevelt

• • •

Our needs are pressing. Our struggles are real. The anger is palpable. And the voices are loud.

Unemployment and economic stagnation. Racial strife. Fear of crime and terrorism and war.

Of the two major party candidates running for president, Hillary Clinton is the only one qualified and experienced enough to address these problems as president of the United States.

In 30 years of public service dating back to her days as a legal aid attorney, through her many years as an advocate for children and families, through eight years as first lady and adviser to her husband, President Bill Clinton, through eight years as a U.S. senator with a well-documented reputation for working across the political aisle, and four years as secretary of state, she has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience needed to perform the most difficult job in the world.

Even if you agree with everything Donald Trump says is wrong with this country, even if he puts his finger on exactly what troubles you the most, even if his promises sound genuine against a government that has let so many of us down, he is not the man to see his revolt through.

Given countless opportunities through debates and campaign rallies, Mr. Trump has proven time and again that he fails to possess more than a casual understanding of world and national affairs, the experience of working with multiple constituencies, the art of compromise needed to negotiate with Congress and world leaders, or the temperament to control his impetuous nature in an evermore dangerous and unpredictable world.

Clinton rises above Trump on policy

On actual policies, independent experts have put Mrs. Clinton’s positions on taxes, the economy and foreign affairs far above Trump’s in terms of how they will best serve the American people.

In several analyses of their respective tax plans, experts from both ends of the political spectrum agreed that Trump’s plan would significantly increase the federal deficit, perhaps by more than $5 trillion, while providing only modest tax relief to some middle-class Americans and much more generous tax relief to the wealthy.

On their immigration plans, which includes Trump’s famous wall across the Mexican border, both favor strong border security. But experts say Trump’s xenophobic plan would be costly, unworkable and extreme to the point of being “un-American.” Clinton’s plan has been criticized as being overly generous to immigrants, due to her willingness to focus less on deportation and more on providing a path to citizenship and keeping families together. Which option sounds more American to you?

On foreign policy, international relations scholars at U.S. colleges and universities, both conservative and liberal, overwhelmingly agreed that a Trump presidency would negatively affect U.S. relations with its allies and damage our credibility with Russia and China. Under a Clinton presidency, relations would stay about the same as they are now, they said.

Clinton is certainly not without her flaws

For all of her shortcomings, Hillary Clinton is the one most likely to promote racial harmony, the one most likely to be successful working with Congress toward solutions, the one most likely to look after the poor and the elderly, the one most likely to work out solutions to the student loan crisis and job loss and the trade deficit, and the one best capable of putting the United States in the best position for dealing with the complex, violent struggles of a tumultuous world.

She has indeed made mistakes along the way and she has taken positions and made decisions with which many people, even her supporters, can strongly disagree. And she has been loose with the truth in certain occasions. She has. But so has Trump. Call the lying issue a draw.

Is her handling of the Benghazi incident or her use of private email server as secretary of state a reason for concern about her judgment? Indeed they are. Are some of the memos contained in the WikiLeaks documents concerning? Absolutely. Is the FBI’s decision Friday to reopen the investigation into her email use as secretary of state disturbing? Of course, although nothing has been revealed or concluded to disqualify her for the presidency.

But do all those issues — taken together with her vast experience, knowledge and demeanor — disqualify her for the presidency against an individual who has never even found himself in the position to make the same types of mistakes? No, they don’t.

With Clinton being in the public eye for three decades, her shortcomings have been identified, debated and criticized to an extraordinary level. Yet she has gotten this far by learning from those mistakes and by being flexible enough in her positions to adjust to changing circumstances.

Trump’s divisiveness will not lead to solutions

Donald Trump promotes himself as a refreshing, politically incorrect, modern-day man of the people. And he has successfully tapped into the legitimate anger and frustration felt by many people who, like Trump himself, feel the system is rigged against them.

But he also has demonstrated a boastful intolerance for the rights for women (as evidenced most prominently by his own despicable, even criminal, conduct toward women), Muslims, blacks, Hispanics, the disabled and even war heroes.

In lending a megaphone to those who would promote hate, intolerance and division, Trump has fomented a caustic environment more likely to make our problems worse than to generate solutions. His scare tactics will only further alienate the disenfranchised among his own supporters and make their problems more difficult to solve.

Worse yet over the long-term, his divisive rhetoric within the Republican Party and toward its leaders has further clouded the GOP’s direction and exacerbated its steady retreat toward polarization and disarray. Such prominent Republicans as the last two Republican presidents, the last two Republican presidential candidates, former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell and others have abandoned party allegiance on the presidential race because of Trump’s unfitness for office and departure from party principles.

Shattering the glass ceiling

In considering a Clinton presidency, one must also not discount the fact that should she be elected, she will become the first female president in our nation’s 227-year history. For both women and men, this is an extraordinary milestone.

She has reached the precipice of this accomplishment by shattering glass ceilings, by overcoming challenges and demands not placed upon men of similar experience, and by compiling one of the most impressive resumes of anyone ever to hold the office.

And she has done so in a climate of misogyny and discrimination that pervades to this day in the workplace, in politics, on college campuses, in the military and throughout our society.

The American people will never find a candidate for president with whom they will all agree. They will not find one who is without political or personal baggage.

Of the two candidates seeking the highest office in the land, in a time when the qualities of leadership, experience and a rational demeanor are most needed, there is only one candidate who clearly rises above the other.

That person is Hillary Clinton.

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