Hillary Clinton is smart, capable, tough and uniquely empathetic to an entire half of the population that has never been represented at government’s highest level: women.
She is a moderate Democrat who has pledged to pursue progressive goals: reverse Reagan-legacy tax cuts that unfairly benefit the wealthy, repair the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, address climate change, invest in education, protect women’s right to choose, seek sensible gun safety measures, retain and improve Obamacare, and pursue criminal justice and immigration reform. All while maintaining a strong, hopefully not too hawkish, defense. She would nominate U.S. Supreme Court justices who would move us away from horrendous decisions such as Citizens United.
To be sure, she has her shortcomings. She is overly secretive and does a poor job of explaining herself when she gets into trouble. Her ties with the Clinton Foundation, which solicits donations from foreign governments, are an obvious conflict of interest that must be resolved. Her fees for big-money speeches on Wall Street raise questions about her ability to police the financial markets.
But most of the criticism hurled at Clinton is either exaggerated or outright false. It’s hard to think of another public figure who has absorbed so much vitriol over so long a time – certainly not while also being voted “Most Admired Woman in the World” 20 times. We’ve heard it all about Hillary Clinton, going all the way back to Whitewater. And most of it is bunk.
Benghazi? Multiple Congressional investigations have tried to pin the blame for the four American deaths on her performance as Secretary of State, and none has succeeded. The emails on a private server? An admitted mistake, but despite FBI Director James Comey’s recent cryptic words, the agency has yet to find sufficient evidence to charge anyone with a crime for mishandling classified materials. Also, let’s remember: she was neither the first Secretary of State to hold office while our embassies suffered fatal attacks, nor the first to use a private email server. But she has been the only one investigated for it, seemingly without end.
This election has gone on for so long and so negatively, that many Americans are disgusted with both choices. But Hillary Clinton is not merely the lesser of two evils. She is a solid choice for commander-in-chief on her merits.
As a senator, she upended expectations by making relationships across the aisle, even with lawmakers who had bedeviled her husband during his presidency. As secretary of state, she relentlessly traveled the world, repairing relationships battered during the Bush-Cheney years. As President Barack Obama has said, no one in our lifetimes has been more qualified to enter the Oval Office.
There is, as well, this reason to support her: Voters need to speak loudly, clearly and in overwhelming numbers to repudiate the divisive, demagogic, barrel-scraping campaign waged by Donald J. Trump.
Trump has tapped into the genuine worries and, yes, anger of millions of Americans who feel left behind amid the profound demographic and economic changes that are reshaping this nation. It is imperative that Clinton – that all Democrats and Republicans, for that matter – find ways to connect with these millions if this nation stands a chance at unity.
It is tragic that the aspirations of these disaffected millions have been tied to the campaign of a candidate whose idea of governing clashes disturbingly with basic tenets of American democracy. Never before has a major candidate said he would prosecute and jail his opponent, curb newspapers’ First Amendment freedoms or leave the election’s outcome in doubt.
This election is about our future. And Hillary Clinton, should she win the victory that the polls predict, will have the unenviable task of presiding over a bitterly divided nation, deeply suspicious of our institutions of government, finance and media. It will take a special range of talents to successfully guide this nation forward. However unpopular she has been whenever campaigning for office, Clinton has consistently polled strongly when actually doing the job — from first lady through secretary of state.
Clinton’s proven resilience under severe pressure, her inclination to forge small gains despite fierce resistance, her ability to listen to alternate points of view, her lifelong commitment to bettering other people’s lives — these are qualities of leadership that America will sorely need over the next four years.
To see The Post’s candidate and other ballot endorsements, go to myPalmBeachPost.com/endorsements. For Florida, local candidates in their own words, myPalmBeachPost.com/kyc. For the series of stories about all races and referendums on Palm Beach County’s Nov. 8 ballots, myPalmBeachPost.com/2016general.
WHAT CLINTON WOULD DO
Raise taxes on wealthier Americans, including a 4% surcharge on incomes above $5 million… Support raising the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour… Spend $250 billion on public infrastructure over five years, plus $25 billion for an infrastructure bank to finance local projects… Support abortion rights and advocate repeal of the Hyde Amendment… Renew a ban on assault-type weapons… Propose $1 billion in first budget for new and better training for police officers… Introduce immigration reform with a path to citizenship in first 100 days.