Editorial Board endorses Hillary Clinton for president

HANNAH LEE / AGGIE
HANNAH LEE / AGGIE

Clinton uniquely qualified to address America’s challenges

If there’s any solace to be taken from Wednesday’s third and final presidential debate — in which Donald Trump, content to put his fascist and demagogic tendencies on full display, recklessly threatened American democracy — it’s that there was one more person on stage: an eternally patient and experienced woman. Hillary Clinton proved for the umpteenth time that she is the most capable candidate to ever seek the office of President of the United States.

The Aggie Editorial Board enthusiastically endorsed Clinton in June for the Democratic nomination, and for many of the same reasons — including her sensible position on student loans and a history of fighting for civil rights — we do so again for president.

Her progressive plan to eventually make public colleges free for families making less than $125,000 will ensure that students from low-income and middle-class households can experience upward mobility. She has also committed to creating a $25 billion fund devoted to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs).

Such a fund would have a direct and positive impact on UC Davis, which is close to meeting all the requirements that would make it an HSI eligible for federal funding. But it would also mean that historically underserved minorities across the country are more fairly represented in higher education — a guaranteed vehicle for expanded economic opportunity.

The belief that underlies Clinton’s positions on education is one of equity — that nobody should be left behind because of the circumstances into which he or she was born. Trump couldn’t understand this because when something doesn’t go his way, it’s because the system is rigged — not because of his own irredeemably flawed intelligence and childish lack of self-control.

The system is rigged — just not against the billionaires to whom his tax plan would provide a windfall at the expense of the middle class. His worldview stinks of hypocrisy in a way that is more fundamental and dangerous than any other presidential candidate in the modern era. Her world view, reflected in promises to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation, is infinitely more positive and centered around a message of unity, not divisiveness.

It would be a grave mistake to compare Clinton’s policy shifts to the con-man tactics of a bully who praises dictators and denigrates American leadership.

On issues that Clinton’s trustworthiness is most called to question, like her refusal to release transcripts of paid Wall Street speeches, she has not demonstrated the tendency to spew bald-faced lies like Trump and his crony surrogates have. The big takeaway from these speeches is that Clinton values holding separate public and private beliefs. This doesn’t suggest dishonesty so much as political prudence and the necessity to work with people who may be beholden to different interests — a trait required of all effective leaders.

The next president will face enormous challenges at home and abroad. Trump’s characterization of Clinton as weak and feckless does a disservice to her 30-plus years of experience, as an attorney, state senator and Secretary of State. She was not weak to go to China and say, “human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.” She was not weak to oppose President Obama when he reneged on his promise to order U.S. military action after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad crossed Obama’s so-called “red line” by using chemical weapons on his people.

Clinton has a deep understanding of the challenges this country faces because she has been working to solve them for virtually all of her professional life. Despite what her opponent says, her years as a public servant have not been wasted. She supported legislation in the senate to protect victims of domestic abuse and used her platform to provide easier emergency contraception for women.

And though gender or sex should not be a consideration when electing a president, a Clinton presidency would strongly affirm the struggle of millions of women who have worked tirelessly for the simple dignity of being treated the same as their male counterparts.

The Editorial Board recognizes that many students hold reservations about Clinton that stem largely from the well-founded belief that bias in the Democratic National Committee harmed Bernie Sanders’ inspiring and insurgent candidacy.

But students who are upset that Sanders didn’t win his party’s nomination can take comfort in knowing that the grassroots movement he fostered can help Clinton institute the most progressive Democratic platform in decades. Sanders’ political revolution can live on through her, but only if his supporters come to the conclusion that a vote for Clinton is not a vote wasted, nor is it a vote for the lesser of two evils.

Sanders’ endorsement was never a given. Clinton’s concessions to him, and primarily to his supporters and the American people, reflect the ethic of compromise that she will need to make progress in a congress mired in unsustainable deadlock. With the Supreme Court in the balance, the refusal of senators to give Obama’s nominee fair consideration has been one example of utter abdications of responsibility that can only be remedied by a strong and steadfast leader like Clinton.

The solution is simple: vote. Tired of this election? Vote. Have an exam on election day? Vote.

Clinton needs to win in a landslide so her vision of an America that uplifts the poor and struggling can overwhelm Trump’s dark outlook on this nation’s prospects. And she can only win in a landslide if you, the student and citizen, exercise your right and obligation to vote.