Clin­ton for pres­i­dent

Our view: Hil­lary Clin­ton has the skills, ex­pe­ri­ence and val­ues to lead the na­tion, a task for which Don­ald Trump is un­suited and un­pre­pared

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE -

We en­dorse Hil­lary Clin­ton for pres­i­dent. But let’s be hon­est, you are not sur­prised by that. Although The Sun’s record on po­lit­i­cal en­dorse­ments is more mixed than many might ex­pect (the pa­per backed Richard Nixon three times and Franklin D. Roo­sevelt only once), we have sup­ported the Demo­cratic nom­i­nee for four pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in a row. And this year, we have not been guarded at ex­press­ing our ad­mi­ra­tion for Ms. Clin­ton’s ex­pe­ri­ence, depth of knowl­edge, steadi­ness and lead­er­ship, nor have we­he­si­tated to point out the ut­ter lack of those qual­i­ties in her Repub­li­can op­po­nent, Don­ald Trump.

We are at a loss as to what more we could say that would per­suade any­one whois still un­de­cided in this elec­tion. Sowe­won’t try. In­stead, we of­fer up an en­dorse­ment in the words of oth­ers — news­pa­pers and govern­ment, mil­i­tary and busi­ness lead­ers — who have con­sis­tent track records of back­ing Repub­li­cans but who feel com­pelled to sup­port Ms. Clin­ton.


Ms. Clin­ton has spent a life­time in pub­lic ser­vice, from the civil rights work she did in law school to her diplo­macy dur­ing four years as sec­re­tary of state. In his speech at this summer’s Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama said, “There has never been a man or a woman — not me, not Bill, no­body — more qual­i­fied than Hil­lary Clin­ton to serve as pres­i­dent.” He’s not the only one to come to that con­clu­sion. The Hous­ton Chron­i­cle, which, with the ex­cep­tion of Mr. Obama in 2008, had not backed a Demo­crat for pres­i­dent since Lyn­don John­son, con­curred in its en­dorse­ment of Ms. Clin­ton: “The only can­di­date to come close is George H.W. Bush.”

The Dal­las Morn­ing News, which last sup­ported a Demo­crat for pres­i­dent in 1940, ac­knowl­edged that it had been critical of Ms. Clin­ton at times. But it nonethe­less en­dorsed her, rec­og­niz­ing that “un­like Don­ald Trump, Hil­lary Clin­ton has ex­pe­ri­ence in ac­tual gov­er­nance, a record of ser­vice and a will­ing­ness to delve into real pol­icy.”

The pres­i­dency, of course, is not a job we hand to the can­di­date with the best re­sume. It de­mands a per­son with good judg­ment, even tem­per­a­ment, the abil­ity to work within our sys­tem of govern­ment and a fun­da­men­tal respect for Amer­i­can val­ues. Ms. Clin­ton’s record is not per­fect — no one who has en­gaged in as many con­se­quen­tial is­sues as she has can make that claim — but this elec­tion has prompted many who would or­di­nar­ily be in­clined to op­pose her to ap­pre­ci­ate her strengths.

Hil­lary Clin­ton “does not ca­su­ally say things that em­bolden our ad­ver­saries and frighten our al­lies. Her ap­proach to gov­er­nance is ma­ture, con­fi­dent and ra­tio­nal,” the Ari­zona Repub­lic wrote in en­dors­ing a Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date over a Repub­li­can for the first time ever, end­ing a126-year streak. “Clin­ton re­tains her com­po­sure un­der pres­sure. She’s tough. She doesn’t back down.”

The Cincin­nati En­quirer (last Demo­cratic en­dorse­ment: Woodrow Wil­son, 1916) called Ms. Clin­ton “a known com­mod­ity with a proven track record of gov­ern­ing.” It praised her ef­forts to help get ad­e­quate health care for 9/11 first re­spon­ders and mil­i­tary fam­i­lies, and for her role in de­vel­op­ing the Chil­dren’s Health In­sur­ance Pro­gram, which now cov­ers 8 mil­lion low-in­come chil­dren. The En­quirer and oth­ers noted that de­spite the low re­gard many Repub­li­cans hold for her, she has found suc­cess in work­ing with the other party. “Two-thirds of her bills [as a sen­a­tor] had GOP co-spon­sors and in­cluded common ground with some of Congress’ most con­ser­va­tive law­mak­ers,” the Dal­las Morn­ing News wrote.

The econ­omy

A fun­da­men­tal test for the next pres­i­dent will be to ad­dress the eco­nomic anx­i­ety that gripped both Repub­li­can and Demo­cratic vot­ers dur­ing the pri­maries. Re­cent strong wage gains and de­clines in poverty have done lit­tle to dis­pel a sense among mil­lions of Amer­i­cans that they are fall­ing be­hind.

Pub­lic opin­ion polls sug­gest this is one area in which Mr. Trump is per­ceived as hav­ing a real ad­van­tage over Ms. Clin­ton. Many vot­ers see Mr. Trump as a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man who can turn Amer­ica’s econ­omy around, but con­ser­va­tive crit­ics see no sup­port for that no­tion.

“WhenTrumpas­sures us he’ll do for the United States what he’s done for his busi­nesses, that’s not a prom­ise — it’s a threat,” Henry M. Paul­son Jr., the trea­sury sec­re­tary un­der George W. Bush, wrote in The Wash­ing­ton Post. “The tac­tics he has used in run­ning his busi­ness wouldn’t work in run­ning a truly suc­cess­ful com­pany, let alone the most pow­er­ful na­tion on Earth.”

As the Hous­ton Chron­i­cle notes, Ms. Clin­ton has wellde­vel­oped plans for ad­dress­ing in­come in­equal­ity and wage gaps through poli­cies like a higher min­i­mum wage and ex­panded tax cred­its for low-in­come fam­i­lies. But Mr. Trump’s plan is sim­ply to be Mr. Trump, and a close look at his record sug­gests that’s not a good deal for Amer­ica. “It’s true that he has cre­ated jobs,” The Cincin­nati En­quirer’s editorial board wrote. “But he also has sent many over­seas and left a trail of un­paid con­trac­tors in his wake. His re­fusal to re­lease his tax re­turns draws into ques­tion both Trump’s true in­come and whether he is pay­ing his fair share of taxes. Even if you con­sider Trump a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man, run­ning a govern­ment is not the same as be­ing the CEO of a com­pany. The United States can­not file bank­ruptcy to avoid pay­ing its debts.” Hil­lary Clin­ton’s ex­pe­ri­ence, tem­per­a­ment and val­ues make her The Sun’s choice for pres­i­dent.

Mr. Trump’s bel­li­cose rhetoric about in­ter­na­tional trade and ad­vo­cacy for pro­tec­tion­ist poli­cies have sim­i­larly alarmed con­ser­va­tives. We share their dis­ap­point­ment that Ms. Clin­ton now op­poses the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship — a trade deal she helped craft while sec­re­tary of state and which would not only bol­ster Amer­ica’s econ­omy but also serve as a cru­cial coun­ter­weight to China. But Mr. Trump’s anti-trade poli­cies are on an­other level en­tirely. “Rip­ping up our trade agree­ments, as ... Don­ald Trump sug­gests, and rais­ing a tar­iff wall around the U.S. econ­omy ... would dec­i­mate mil­lions of high-wage Amer­i­can jobs and slam fam­i­lies try­ing to make ends meet,” U.S. Cham­ber of Com­merce Pres­i­dent and CEO Thomas J. Dono­hue wrote in The Wash­ing­ton Post.

Na­tional Se­cu­rity

But it is in the realm of na­tional se­cu­rity and for­eign pol­icy that Mr. Trump has truly raised alarm among many Repub­li­cans. Dozens of GOP for­eign pol­icy ex­perts signed a let­ter an­nounc­ing they would not vote Mr. Trump be­cause he would be a “dan­ger­ous pres­i­dent” who would “put at risk our coun­try’s se­cu­rity and well-be­ing.” Not only does he lack ex­pe­ri­ence in for­eign pol­icy, they wrote, but he “shows no in­ter­est in ed­u­cat­ing him­self.” No less a con­ser­va­tive than Paul Wol­fowitz, one of the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion’s chief pro­po­nents of the Iraq War, ob­served of Mr. Trump, “He says he ad­mires [Vladimir] Putin, that Sad­dam Hus­sein was killing ter­ror­ists, that the Chi­nese were impressive be­cause they were tough on Tianan­men Square. That is pretty dis­turb­ing.”

“Trump’s in­abil­ity to con­trol him­self or be con­trolled by oth­ers rep­re­sents a real threat to our na­tional se­cu­rity,” the Ari­zona Repub­lic wrote. “His re­cent ef­forts to stay on script are not re­as­sur­ing. They are phony. The pres­i­dent com­mands our nu­clear arsenal. Trump can’t com­mand his own rhetoric.”

Even those who find fault with some of Ms. Clin­ton’s record ac­knowl­edge that she com­pre­hends the im­por­tance of Amer­i­can lead­er­ship in the world and of our in­dis­pens­able role in the sys­tem of al­liances that has de­fined the global or­der since World War II. She is, in the Hous­ton Chron­i­cle’s words, “knowl­edge­able, de­pend­able and trusted world­wide.”


To be sure, many of the con­ser­va­tives who have en­dorsed Ms. Clin­ton ex­press mis­giv­ings about her. We, too, have crit­i­cized her for the way she han­dled her emails as sec­re­tary of state. We worry that her ad­min­is­tra­tion would lack trans­parency. As the Dal­las Morn­ing News put it, “Clin­ton has made mis­takes and dis­played bad judg­ment, but her er­rors are plainly in a dif­fer­ent uni­verse than her op­po­nent’s.”

We­could make myr­iad crit­i­cisms of Don­ald Trump, but the fault that wor­ries us most is one that con­ser­va­tives seem par­tic­u­larly at­tuned to ob­serv­ing, and that is his pen­chant for au­thor­i­tar­i­an­ism. Con­cerns that Mr. Trump could fun­da­men­tally weaken the checks and bal­ances on which our govern­ment is founded — even com­par­isons between his cam­paign and the rise of fas­cism in Europeinthe1930s— are as likely to come­fromthe­p­o­lit­i­cal right as from the left.

“Time and again his­tory has shown that when dem­a­gogues have got­ten power or come­close to get­ting power, it usually does not end well,” for­mer Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whit­man told The New York Times. “There is no ba­sis in think­ing that our democ­racy is so strong, our checks and bal­ances so finely hedged, that no sin­gle per­son can­lead us off the precipice. Trump­can,” MikeFer­nan­dez, a Florida health care ex­ec­u­tive and­ma­jorRepub­li­can donor, wrote in the Mi­ami Her­ald. The Dal­las Morn­ing News ob­served, “Trump’s val­ues are hos­tile to con­ser­vatism. He plays on fear — ex­ploit­ing base in­stincts of xeno­pho­bia, racism and misog­yny — to bring out the worst in all of us, rather than the best.”

This is not an or­di­nary elec­tion of­fer­ing vot­ers a choice between a more lib­eral and a more con­ser­va­tive can­di­date for pres­i­dent. This time, one can­di­date stands in the broad tra­di­tion of Amer­i­can lead­er­ship that has made this the great­est, most pow­er­ful and most pros­per­ous na­tion in his­tory. The other would have us trade that legacy for a cult of per­son­al­ity. The choice is clear. Hil­lary Clin­ton has the skills, ex­pe­ri­ence and val­ues to nav­i­gate these chal­leng­ing times. Don­ald Trump, mean­while, is ut­terly un­suited and un­pre­pared for the pres­i­dency. But don’t just take our word for it. This year, you don’t have to.


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