American voters have a clear choice on Nov. 8. We can elect an experienced, thoughtful and deeply knowledgeable public servant or a thin-skinned demagogue who is unqualified and unsuited to be president.
Donald J. Trump, a billionaire businessman and television personality, is the latter. He has never held elected office and has shown himself temperamentally unfit to do so. He has run a divisive, belligerent, dishonest campaign, repeatedly aligning himself with racists, strongmen and thugs while maligning or dismissing large segments of the American public. Electing Trump could be catastrophic for the nation.
By contrast, Hillary Clinton is one of the best prepared candidates to seek the presidency in many years. As a first lady, a Democratic senator from New York and secretary of State in President Obama’s first term, she immersed herself in the details of government, which is why her positions on the issues today are infinitely better thought-out than those of her opponent….
Perhaps her greatest strength is her pragmatism — her ability to build consensus and solve problems. As president, she would be flexible enough and experienced enough to cut across party lines and work productively with her political opponents. As first lady, she worked with Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides healthcare coverage to more than 8 million children. As a senator, she was instrumental in persuading a Republican president to deliver billions of dollars in aid to New York after September 11. As secretary of State, she led the charge to persuade nations around the world to impose the tough sanctions on Iran that led to the landmark nuclear agreement, and she negotiated a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas….
Trump’s ignorance of the issues is manifest. He has called climate change “a hoax” and vowed to renegotiate the Paris climate accord. Obamacare would be repealed and replaced with “something great.” His signature proposal is to construct a wall along the southern border of the United States — and have Mexico pay the billions of dollars involved. Mexico, unsurprisingly, insists it will not. As for the 11 million immigrants already in the country illegally, they will either be rounded up and deported (though experts say that will cost billions of dollars, disrupt the economy, divide families and require massive violations of civil liberties) or perhaps some will be allowed to remain, living in the shadows.
Trump doesn’t take America’s global alliances seriously, he has cozied up to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and he has promised to bring back waterboarding “and worse.” His pronouncements, though vague and sometimes contradictory, raise the specter of an iron-fisted leader taking action based on gut impulses — rather than a president seeking common ground among citizens in a politically polarized country.
In the style of earlier demagogues like Huey Long and George Wallace, Trump has aimed his misleading and mean-spirited diatribes at a struggling and frustrated segment of society — apparently touching a chord with voters who have experienced years of stagnant wages, whose jobs are threatened, who feel betrayed by Washington and nostalgic for a more prosperous past. To these voters Trump bashes immigrants and free trade and rails about law and order, promising to make America great again and assuring them that he alone can solve their problems. But those who put their hope in Trump’s politics of resentment and fear are making a terrible mistake….
The election of Hillary Clinton as the first female president of the United States would surely be as exhilarating as it is long overdue, a watershed moment in American history after centuries of discrimination against women. But that’s not the chief reason to vote for her. She deserves America’s support because she is the overwhelmingly better candidate. Against a Romney or a McCain, she would almost certainly be our choice. Against Trump? The question answers itself.
Every presidential race is described as “defining” and “historic.” This time, it’s true. Americans must not sit this election out, but cast their votes for Hillary Clinton over her dangerous Republican opponent, Donald Trump.
– Los Angeles Times editorial board