Editorials

The many reasons to support Clinton, not just stop Trump

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders campaign together Wednesday at the University of New Hampshire.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders campaign together Wednesday at the University of New Hampshire. The Associated Press

Forget, for a moment, Donald Trump’s many, many fundamental flaws that make him wholly unsuited and unqualified to be president.

Focus instead on the very good reasons to support Hillary Clinton besides keeping Trump out of the White House – reasons why The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board endorses her as the strong, steady and compassionate leader America needs right now.

It’s unfortunate that making this case has been such an uphill battle for her and her campaign. Though she made strides with her strong performance during the first debate, there is deep dissatisfaction with both candidates and with politicians in general. Clinton has yet to convince many Americans that she can be trusted, or to persuade young people that she’ll fight for them.

She has been the target of political and personal attacks for decades. But some of her wounds are self-inflicted. Obviously, she made a mistake with her private email server, and she should have done much more to wall off the Clinton Foundation from the State Department. But those missteps hardly disqualify her, and they are far outweighed by her experience, temperament and other strengths.

If undecided voters looked beyond the daily campaign chatter, they would find her policies promise to help improve life for the vast majority of Americans. Unlike her opponent, she actually has specific proposals on a broad range of issues, and she can deliver them.

And if wavering voters would look a little deeper, they would find ample evidence that she is ready to be president. It isn’t mere partisan hyperbole to say she is one of the most prepared candidates ever for the presidency.

She can step in as commander in chief on Day One, which in this dangerous, complicated world is no small matter.

She is well-equipped to navigate foreign policy, collecting a wealth of knowledge and credibility as the most-traveled secretary of state in our nation’s history. She visited 112 nations during her four years in office, met dozens of leaders around the globe and knows how diplomacy works – and it’s not the bluster and ultimatums Trump believes in. While she would be the first former secretary of state to become president since 1857, the job was a common stepping-stone in the early days of the republic.

Clinton has a real plan to defeat the Islamic State that stays true to our values, unlike the un-American, anti-Islamic crusade that Trump is trying to pass off as a strategy.

The same huge gaps in experience and policy carry over to domestic policy. Having served in the U.S. Senate and as first lady, Clinton knows the ways of Washington, D.C. – and the overarching need to compromise and somehow lessen destructive partisanship.

Clinton offers many of the right policies to strengthen the middle class and make the economy work for more Americans. Unlike the millionaire-friendly tax cuts Trump wants (including a windfall to wealthy families by repealing the so-called death tax), Clinton proposes tax relief that is squarely aimed at working families.

Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders who are skeptical of Clinton should recognize that she has adopted the vast majority of major initiatives he championed during his populist campaign. She is on board with free tuition at public colleges (for families earning less than $125,000 a year), a $15 an hour federal minimum wage and opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. That’s why Sanders, again, gave his full endorsement at a joint appearance with Clinton at the University of New Hampshire on Wednesday.

Indeed, Clinton is far more in line with Sanders than Libertarian Gary Johnson, who during a town hall later Wednesday on the same campus again criticized free tuition, called for free trade and supported unlimited campaign contributions, in direct conflict with Sanders’ warnings that big money is corrupting politics. If young people truly believe in the Sanders agenda, it makes no sense to vote for Johnson, especially since doing so will boost Trump.

Clinton also wants to expand access to health care under the Affordable Care Act and recently unveiled a detailed plan to improve mental health treatment, especially early intervention for young people – not that it got much attention.

Following her career-long advocacy for women and children, she wants to improve family leave and aid to working parents – the real-life problems facing us, not Trump’s dark, made-up portrait of an America under siege.

With her strong record on equal rights, she has a much better chance than the tone-deaf Trump to help heal the troubling divisions in our country, especially those around race.

On the generational issue of climate change, while Trump suggests it’s a hoax and vows to tear up hard-won international agreements, Clinton would build upon the Paris accord and focus even more on clean energy, which will generate good jobs instead of more carbon.

There is one vacancy on the nation’s highest court, and the next president could appoint several more Supreme Court justices. Clinton has pledged to seek to overturn the Citizens United decision and would nominate justices who would protect women’s rights and voting rights. The list of potential nominees put out by Trump includes judges who have advocated limiting abortion rights and who opposed legal protections for gays and lesbians. He would nominate law-and-order judges who would set back criminal justice reform.

We know what to expect from a Clinton presidency. She is not a charismatic, inspirational leader. But she is a hardworking, smart politician who can tackle terrorism, financial insecurity and the other very complicated problems we face today. With an even moderately cooperative Congress, she will make America a fairer place with more opportunity.

That’s a lot more than you can say about Trump and the risky bet his presidency would surely be.

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