Don't just vote against Trump — vote for Clin­ton

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - Bill Press Bill Press is syn­di­cated by Tri­bune Me­dia Ser­vices.

Bill Press says vot­ing for Hil­lary Clin­ton should be an easy, au­to­matic and en­thu­si­as­tic choice. A no-brainer.

Reg­u­lar read­ers of this col­umn will re­mem­ber two re­cent of­fer­ings on this crazy 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion: one, a warn­ing not to risk de­stroy­ing ev­ery­thing we’ve gained by vot­ing for Don­ald Trump; two, a plea not to make a mock­ery of this elec­tion by vot­ing for Gary John­son.

Here to­day the im­por­tant third in­stall­ment: Mak­ing your vote count — not just by vot­ing against Trump or John­son — but by vot­ing for Hil­lary Clin­ton.

For all Democrats, for all Repub­li­cans who love their coun­try more than their party, and, yes, for all former Bernie San­ders supporters like me, vot­ing for Hil­lary Clin­ton should be an easy, au­to­matic and en­thu­si­as­tic choice. A no-brainer.

She is, hands down, as Pres­i­dent Obama fre­quently notes, the most qual­i­fied per­son to run for pres­i­dent — ever! Yes, we know, ex­pe­ri­ence doesn’t al­ways count for ev­ery­thing. But it counts for a lot. And cer­tainly her ex­pe­ri­ence as first lady of Ar­kan­sas, first lady of the United States, U.S. se­na­tor from New York, and sec­re­tary of state gives her an un­par­al­leled grasp of how gov­ern­ment works and how to get things done. There will be no pe­riod of on-the-job train­ing needed for Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Even out­side of pub­lic of­fice, Clin­ton has a life­time record of fight­ing for good causes, es­pe­cially chil­dren and women’s rights. In high school, she vol­un­teered to babysit chil­dren of mi­grant work­ers. In law school, she vol­un­teered on child abuse cases at New Haven Hos­pi­tal. Her first job af­ter law school was as staff at­tor­ney to the Chil­dren’s De­fense Fund. And her life­long pas­sion for women’s rights led di­rectly to her his­toric 1995 speech to the UN Con­fer­ence on Women in Bei­jing where she looked China’s re­pres­sive lead­ers in the eye and de­clared: “If there is one mes­sage that echoes from this con­fer­ence, let it be that hu­man rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are hu­man rights, once and for all.”

For Amer­i­cans sick of Wash­ing­ton’s ugly po­lit­i­cal bat­tles, Clin­ton also of­fers the best hope of end­ing par­ti­san grid­lock. She def­i­nitely will have a bet­ter work­ing re­la­tion­ship with Congress than Pres­i­dent Obama ever had. She proved it, in the Se­nate, where she spon­sored dozens of bills with Repub­li­can sen­a­tors, in­clud­ing such con­ser­va­tive icons as Or­rin Hatch, R-Utah, and James In­hofe, R-Ok­la­homa, (pay­ments to pub­lic ser­vice of­fi­cers af­ter Sept. 11); Johnny Isak­son, R-Ge­or­gia, and John McCain, R-Ari­zona, (auto safety); and Lind­sey Gra­ham, R-South Carolina (health care for Na­tional Guard fam­i­lies). In 2001, she so sur­prised GOP sen­a­tors by show­ing up and be­com­ing a reg­u­lar mem­ber of their weekly prayer meet­ings that Sam Brown­back, then Repub­li­can se­na­tor from Kansas, stood up and begged for­give­ness for hat­ing her. She was con­firmed by the Se­nate for Sec­re­tary of State 94 to 2.

And let there be no doubt for Bernie San­ders supporters, young and older: If you re­ally be­lieve in what Bernie stands for, if you re­ally want to see the pro­gres­sive agenda be­come real, Hil­lary Clin­ton’s your only hope. She’s al­ready em­braced many of the is­sues San­ders raised dur­ing the pri­mary: op­po­si­tion to TPP; tu­ition-free com­mu­nity col­lege; $15 min­i­mum wage; cut­ting pre­scrip­tion drug costs and adding a pub­lic plan op­tion un­der Oba­macare as a first step to­ward a sin­gle-payer health care sys­tem. The chal­lenge will be to hold her feet to the fire once she’s in the White House. But that’s the job of Bernie San­ders, El­iz­a­beth War­ren and pro­gres­sive or­ga­ni­za­tions.

There’s one other rea­son for vot­ing for Clin­ton, one she never talks about. Vot­ing for her be­cause she’s a woman is not alone suf­fi­cient rea­son, but it is im­por­tant. We made his­tory in 2008 by elect­ing our first African-Amer­i­can pres­i­dent. How great to make his­tory again in 2016 by elect­ing our first fe­male pres­i­dent. Madame Pres­i­dent? It’s about time!

And if you had any doubts about vot­ing for Hil­lary Clin­ton, this week’s third and fi­nal pres­i­den­tial de­bate should have con­vinced you. She was never stronger or in more com­mand of the is­sues. He was never more flum­moxed or un­hinged. Trump bragged about his re­spect for women, then called Clin­ton “such a nasty woman.” He as­serted his con­fi­dence in the mil­i­tary, then ac­cused the U.S. mil­i­tary of help­ing the Iraqi Army re­take Mo­sul only in or­der to help Hil­lary get elected. And then he re­fused to say whether he would ac­cept the re­sults on Nov. 8, thereby un­der­min­ing the very foun­da­tion of democ­racy, which has car­ried us for 240 years.

Isn’t that enough? Rule Num­ber One: Any can­di­date who re­fuses to ac­cept the will of the vot­ers should be dis­qual­i­fied from run­ning for pres­i­dent.

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