In the spring, The Daily Pennsylvanian Opinion Board endorsed candidates from each party — John Kasich and Hillary Clinton — for the primary elections.
We now endorse Hillary Clinton for president not only based on the many reasons that we believe make Donald Trump unfit for the presidency, but also because we respect Clinton as a strong, effective and extremely qualified candidate.
Throughout her experience as First Lady, senator and Secretary of State, Clinton showed that she prioritizes pragmatism, determination and productive negotiation as means for improving economic opportunity and social equality for all Americans. With an economic platform that has always supported struggling Americans and an ongoing record of championing women and minorities, Clinton has demonstrated an unceasing commitment to staying above partisanship in order to prioritize and fight for important policy outcomes, including more comprehensive background checks for purchasers of firearms, easier access to health care for low-income individuals and equal pay for women.
In the international realm, Clinton has maintained a pragmatic approach to protecting our national interests abroad, while also maintaining key democratic values. In China, Clinton continues her push to deepen trade and diplomatic relations in the region. In the past, she has also demonstrated her commitment to defending women’s rights as human rights in China as early as 1995, when she expressed these principles in a speech made in Beijing. Her foreign policy record also highlights her ability to sensibly negotiate to optimize U.S. interests and security around the world. Most notably, her work to tighten sanctions against Iran led a previously non-negotiating country to engage in a productive dialogue that limited a highly threatening nuclear program.
We do not need to attack Trump to explain why he would be a less effective president than Clinton; his track record shows his uninformed approach to tackling both domestic and foreign policy, along with his inability to actually articulate a coherent policy agenda beyond generalized, sometimes implausible or illegal, suggestions. His knowledge of the actual political process and his hypothetical duties and responsibilities as president appear to be completely lacking. We do not want to support Clinton only by attacking her opponent, but we must acknowledge the many missteps in Trump’s campaign. For instance, he continually disrespects minority groups and makes blatantly racist and sexist comments without apology. If he does admit fault, he excuses or dismisses his mistakes without genuine understanding of the gravity of his rhetoric. Despite having graduated from our university, he displays none of the characteristics that we expect from a potential president.
After outlining the faults in Trump’s campaign, it would be one-sided not to acknowledge Clinton’s shortcomings as well. The email server controversy has contributed to questions surrounding her decision-making abilities and her trustworthiness. While Clinton’s decision to rely on a private email server deserves scrutiny, the fact that this one mistake has dominated the critical voices throughout her campaign also speaks to the fact that Clinton has fared relatively well over decades as a politician. Against the backdrop of Trump’s endless list of mistakes in his personal life and business career, Clinton’s record should be known more for her consistent commitment to solving important issues, rather than repetitive outcry against one poor decision.
Clinton is also critiqued for being too “robotic” and removed from everyday Americans. Before casting too harsh of a judgment, we must understand the unfair expectations that women in politics face: They must avoid appearing too “emotional” to project a seriousness that preserves their credibility in a male-dominated arena, while simultaneously meeting voters’ expectations for a personable, friendly and relatable leader.
However, we are more interested in highlighting Clinton’s effectiveness and capability in the political realm. Clinton is critiqued for being “part of the system” and part of the corruption often associated with national politics, but frankly, her experience in Washington makes her one of the most overqualified candidates in history. Testimonials from colleagues in D.C. continue to paint Clinton as a natural problem solver and apt negotiator. And although politicians, both Democratic and Republican, respect Clinton and enjoy working with her, Trump, in contrast, has alienated himself from all corners of the political establishment, including key leaders from his own party.
Finally, and most importantly, we advocate that all voters, regardless of party affiliation or aversion to the Clinton name, take a step back and consider what their vote could mean during this unprecedented election. Even if you are not voting for Trump, seriously think about the implications of not voting at all or voting for a third party.
This is not the election to passively sit back or make a protest vote as a way to express your dissatisfaction with Clinton, the Democratic Party, or the mainstream political establishment in general. The stakes, for the next four years and for the long-term future of this country, are simply too high: Not voting for Hillary translates to contributing to Trump’s potential victory, a real possibility, which would mean that ignorant discrimination and self-interested policy-making trumps democratic values and pragmatic problem-solving. Though these statements may sound sweeping or extreme, we have sadly arrived at a reality in which Donald Trump’s presidency is a genuine possibility — and we must recognize the imminent threat to effective policies at home and the nation’s dignity abroad.
Based on Clinton’s unparallelled qualifications for the position and her proven commitment to pragmatically tackling the nation’s most pressing issues, The Daily Pennsylvanian is eager to endorse Hillary Clinton for the upcoming presidential election. Beyond outlining why Clinton should be the candidate of choice, we hope that this piece serves to mobilize all Penn students not only to get out and vote this November, but also to take the time to truly understand what a vote against Clinton, as well as no vote at all, could mean for the future of our country.