The election of 2016 has thrown a light onto many aspects of the American Dream that have either been ignored or given short shrift in recent years. The unsuccessful primary campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders brought out the enthusiasm and frustration of young middle class Americans burdened by school debt and fearful that a prosperous future is closed to them. And the renegade campaign of Donald Trump amplified the voices of older, white, conservative, religious, working class Americans, who feel left behind in an increasingly interconnected world economy and diverse society, and betrayed by a government that is not meeting their needs.
But wholesale disruptions are not the solution. Nor are vague, “leave it to me” promises, or appeals to violence or bigotry against minorities, women and the disabled. But, unfortunately, that is almost all that Trump’s campaign has offered.
Trump, the Republican nominee for president, has shown a remarkable lack of preparedness, judgment or knowledge to take on our country’s highest office. In the course of the campaign, he has lied, and then repeated his lies. He has attacked real and imagined enemies. He has shown himself to be wholly unfocused, undisciplined and easily distracted. And he has built his strongman campaign on the disturbing image of an America warmed by Trump’s glowing sun, which treats Americans as props at mass events for the candidate. While many forgotten whites have been attracted to his call, Trump has alienated other left-behind groups — poor African Americans and other people of color — with his retrograde calls to law and order, promises to deport millions of undocumented residents and to build a wall across the border with Mexico, and his blanket demonization of Muslims, including American citizens.
This uninformed, uncurious, amoral, vicious and vindictive man is not qualified to be president.
Some voters are considering third-party candidates. But they are no better. Libertarian Gary Johnson is, like Trump, uninformed and incurious about the world. As governor of New Mexico he was a disappointment. Green candidate Jill Stein, a Harvard-educated physician, traffics in pseudoscience, raising red flags about vaccinations the way Trump does about Muslims and Mexicans.
Democrat Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, for all of her faults — and we don’t ignore them — is the only qualified candidate running for the office of president, and so she earns our endorsement. In this odd and frightening election year, Clinton is the only one running who can be considered a legitimate presidential candidate. A former advocate, first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state, Clinton has the experience and deep background in domestic affairs and foreign policy to make crucial decisions. On the campaign trail, she has demonstrated an even temperament and focus required of anyone who truly aspires to occupy the nation’s highest office.
Like many, we have concerns about Clinton’s candor and trustworthiness. We are troubled by her use of a private email server for state business and her blasé attitude toward that very clear mistake. And we also worry about whether necessary safeguards were and are in place between her governmental and political activities and the Clinton Foundation — which should have been addressed long before she joined the Obama administration in 2008, and certainly before she launched her run for the presidency.
But even with those concerns — which we don’t dismiss lightly — Clinton is a strong candidate. Her career-long devotion to public service and the championing of women and children is to her benefit. Her grasp of the issues — both domestic and foreign — is deep and solid. On the domestic side, she is a left-leaning centrist politician. And, in the international arena, she has the stature and experience to face foreign leaders where necessary, the skill and patience to stay focused on U.S. interests, the credibility to reassure our allies and the judgment to make the best decisions for the American people.
Our nation needs steady, balanced and thoughtful leadership. We endorse Hillary Clinton for president on Nov. 8.