(Sun Sentinel Editorial Board) — The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board endorses Hillary Clinton
Congratulations, fellow Floridians. Not only do we get to participate in one of the most consequential presidential elections in U.S. history, we possess an enhanced ticket to this important event. We are voters in a swing state. Perhaps THE swing state.
The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board urges everyone to use that ticket. Vote. And when you exercise that precious right, we urge you to cast your ballot for Democrat Hillary Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine.
We acknowledge upfront that one major reason to support Hillary is that Republican Donald Trump is manifestly unqualified to be president of the United States. In a related editorial, we explain why the Donald Trump/Mike Pence slate would be a terrible choice.
Trump’s awfulness is not the only reason to vote for Hillary, however. There are plentiful solid reasons to be for Hillary (whose campaign uses her first name, so we will too).
One reason her campaign goes with “Hillary,” of course, is an attempt to make her a little bit warmer and more likable. But we like the scholarly, policy-wonk Hillary just fine. It is necessary and reassuring when a president can get very specific on complicated issues. Those include:
The Economy. When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, the world was on the brink of economic collapse. No one is thrilled with the slow pace of recovery – which is one reason we endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012. But the economy is recovering. Unemployment is down. Poverty is down. And, importantly, politicians are learning the importance of nurturing the battered middle class.
That’s why Hillary’s economic plans, which you can see at HillaryClinton.com, emphasize tax fairness – making sure high income people and corporations pay their share – and investing the newly collected taxes in infrastructure improvements and jobs and education for the middle class. Give Bernie Sanders ample credit for sharpening Hillary’s understanding and focus on this issue. Give Trump partial credit, too. He exploited middle class anger early and often. Yet, in a betrayal of his base, Trump’s economic plans will benefit wealthy individuals and corporations.
National Security. The world is a big and dangerous stage on which Hillary – as a senator and as secretary of state – has been in the hot seat. She advised Obama when he gave the go-ahead for the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. She helped assemble the international coalition that imposed severe economic sanctions on Iran and set the stage for the nuclear deal that has increased America’s ability to ensure that Iran will not develop nuclear weapons.
We will be among the first to agree that the Iran nuclear deal is not comprehensive or incapable of being breached. But it represents the kind of difficult, imperfect diplomacy that is the only credible alternative to war. It is easy for the deal’s critics to harp on its imperfections. We’d be more impressed if at the same time they offered plausible alternatives that would accomplish more.
This is what you’re going to get with Hillary – tough negotiations that yield pragmatic results. After that, expect Hillary to press for more. Hillary understands America needs to use its economic power and diplomacy to solve international problems, not military might. Like Obama, Hillary understands that having American soldiers killing Muslims in the Middle East can cause more harm than good.
Hillary has cultivated relations with our NATO allies and realizes their importance, while her opponent has suggested America might ignore their calls for help.
However, as bin Laden’s killing shows, Hillary is prepared to pull the trigger when it is prudent and possible to do so. That’s why she’s believable when she says she will make killing the leaders of ISIS a priority. We should say continue to make it a priority, since the Obama administration successfully has targeted multiple terrorist leaders.
That approach beats a “secret” (aka, non-existent) plan to defeat ISIS.
Hillary’s toughness and clear-headedness are reasons some of America’s adversaries – Vladimir Putin, to name one – seem so eager to see Donald Trump in the White House. Hillary will look Putin in the eye and not blink.
There is no doubt that Hillary has made mistakes in her time on the world stage. One was her Senate vote to give President George W. Bush authority to invade Iraq. She has seen the consequences of that rash war. Another was her careless use of a private email server when she was secretary of state.
Here is a crucial contrast with her opponent: Hillary recognizes mistakes. She apologized for both of those. In this complex world, even good presidents are going to make mistakes – Obama has made them, Reagan made them, Kennedy made them, FDR made them. Hillary’s experience already makes her less likely to make mistakes. Her temperament makes her more likely to learn from mistakes – certainly more likely than someone who, even in the face of clear evidence, will not admit that he has made mistakes.
Just a few more things about Hillary’s email scandal. There was the potential to damage U.S. security, but no one has shown that damage occurred. The FBI did not charge her with a crime because investigators did not believe she intentionally withheld emails it was her legal duty to produce.
However, the entire email episode speaks to Hillary’s greatest weakness – a lack of transparency that has engendered significant public distrust. And we must note that pending court orders mean more deleted emails will be released before Election Day on Nov. 8. Is there a bombshell among them? We just don’t know.
Immigration. Start with the fact that Hillary’s immigration policy is sane. She recognizes the importance of tough screening of immigrants without resorting to impossible and/or legally thorny practices such as banning immigrants from certain regions or those who profess faith in certain religions. She does not claim that millions of illegal immigrants can be rounded up and deported. She does not claim that Mexico can be made to pay for a wall.
Hillary recognizes that portraying the United States as at war with Islam helps ISIS recruit terrorists. Hillary recognizes that insulting entire groups of immigrants is demeaning to this great country.
Ironically, Hillary stands a better chance of enacting the comprehensive immigration reform America needs than would Trump. Republicans such as Jeb Bush and (before he chickened out) Marco Rubio have had much more in common with Hillary on this issue.
The Supreme Court. The next president could appoint three, maybe four, justices. Those appointments would steer the court for decades. Hillary appointees would protect a woman’s right to choose and the rights of LGBT people. Hillary’s appointees would stand up for voting rights. Hillary’s appointees would provide hope that Citizens United – which gave special political power to wealthy special interests – can be overturned.
Race Relations. South Florida has not seen Charlotte-scale protests in recent days, but – with police-involved shootings and protesting athletes – the need to repair and promote race relations in our communities is as evident here as it is in the rest of our nation.
Hillary understands this issue and understands that it will take real work and commitment from all parties to reach this result: “Everyone should be respected by the law and everyone should respect the law.” That means more police training, and it means removing the plague of guns from the streets.
Hillary’s approach is in stark contrast to Trump’s confrontational “stop and frisk” approach, which will exacerbate conflict. In any case, Trump’s discredited “birther” activities make it impossible for him to play a positive role in improving race relations.
Women and Children. Hillary is an advocate and role model for women. Younger women might not quite realize how far she – and therefore they – have come. The ability to be somewhat blasé about this is evidence of success in the area of women’s rights. Hillary, with many allies, long has pushed for health care and child care that benefit women. As first lady, she played a crucial part in creating the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides coverage for 8 million children. That effort, which was bipartisan, also shows she can work with Republicans.
Hillary advocates equal pay for equal work. And without Hillary, Obamacare – which has provided essential insurance for families – will be history. Clearly, there is work yet to be done on this issue. Just as clearly, a President Trump would impede that work.
Third-Party Trap. Allow us to make a special pitch to voters considering casting their ballots for a third-party candidate. Don’t.
Millennials and others who supported Bernie Sanders might be tempted to shun Hillary because she was so closely aligned with Broward’s own Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who led the Democratic National Committee and was ousted in the face of evidence the DNC was unfair to Bernie. We understand the feeling and recognize that, locally, there is a committed group that supported Wasserman Schultz’ primary opponent, Tim Canova.
But that “protest” vote actually is a vote for Trump. As noted, Bernie’s robust campaign pushed Clinton to more fully realize the importance of issues such as alleviating crippling student debt. She will be far more progressive than Trump would be. Remember the bitter lesson of the 2000 presidential election, when Ralph Nader’s candidacy bled votes from Al Gore and tilted the election to George W. Bush. You can bet that most Nader supporters were horrified by the Bush presidency.
Yes, it’s great to vote for a candidate you enthusiastically support. Sometimes, though, politics has to be pragmatic. Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein are not going to get elected. Either Hillary or Trump will. Vote for the one who most nearly represents your point of view.
The Bottom Line. Hillary is smart. Hillary has government experience that she used, for example, to secure money for World Trade Center site redevelopment and money for 9/11 responders. Hillary has diplomatic experience that she used, for example, to negotiate a 2012 cease fire between Hamas and Israel.
Hillary has developed the contacts, here and abroad, to promote stability and peace. She has not “solved” the various crises in the Middle East. But we believe a dogged diplomatic approach – such as that used in the nuclear deal with Iran – provide more prospects for peace. And that, in the long run, benefits Israel, our most important ally in the region.
Hillary has an extensive record of public service.
Hillary will push to improve oversight of Wall Street.
Under a President Hillary Clinton, world leaders would have confidence that they can depend on agreements, treaties and our financial system. If our partners cannot count on us, they will look elsewhere – to China or Russia, for example – for leadership.
Hillary favors the Obama administration’s overtures to Cuba, which is good for eventual freedom on that island and good for South Florida.
The very bottom line? Trump is not qualified. Hillary is fully qualified to serve as president of the United States. Use your vote to swing this swing state to Hillary.