Endorsements: Clinton is the clear choice

clintonendorseIn most years, the decision to make endorsements is a fairly simple evaluation of both the policy and character of the individuals involved. We take for granted that the candidates up for election are driven by a sincere desire to make things better, even if they have differing opinions on how to get there.

And while we feel this remains largely true for all of the down-ballot candidates this election year, we do not feel it is true in the presidential race.

While we see Hillary Clinton is a flawed candidate who leaves us with some concerns — okay, a lot of concerns, as just one example, her inability to clearly and quickly own up to her mistakes is deeply troubling — her flaws are a few minor scratches and dents on the surface of a new car as a opposed to the smoking, burning wreckage that is Donald J. Trump.

To be blunt, Trump is a 70-year-old man with the maturity of a spoiled seven year old and arguably, even worse judgment. From his comments on “Mexican rapists” to barring Muslims from our country to repealing the First Amendment, to jailing political opponents, to the odd and concerning entanglement with Russia and its despotic leader, Vladimir Putin, to the latest revelations from the Access Hollywood tape, Trump is, to put it politely, “unhinged.”

Embarrassing. Horrifying. Wretched.

And yes, deplorable.

That any elected officials — or would be elected officials — continue to support this horror show shows one of two things: a total lack of character or abject fear of the insurgent, radical fundamentalist, sexist, homophobic, white nationalist minority in the Republican Party. While we’re not ever surprised by a lack of character in politics, it is the latter that concerns us most and seems to be the prevailing issue.

We continue to see a proud political party that once could boast of high morals and character be shredded by an empowered minority dedicated to burning it — and maybe the entire country — down to the ground. We also know the vast majority of folks who call themselves Republicans are good people — our neighbors, our friends and upstanding members of the community, so we feel for them having become victims of political terrorism at the hands of a small number of willfully ignorant, unreasonable people engaged in a self-destructive temper tantrum.

Our advice: cast out the Tea Party/Trumpists from the GOP. In the short term, you will lose elections, but be able to sleep at night. Like any cancer, if the Republican Party doesn’t kill this, it will kill the party — a terrible outcome for the future of the United States.

It will be ugly, it will be painful, but it is necessary.

Ultimately, you’ll be able to return the Republican Party to its rightful place of advocating measured progress, social moderation, fiscal conservatism, enlightened capitalism, careful stewardship of basic American principles and as a crucial speed bump to the excesses of a, at times, recklessly liberal Democratic Party. This will happen as the Tea Party/Trumpists enjoy their role on the fringes of American politics — howling at the moon, marginalized by their conduct and policies, trapped inside the bubble of their own echo chamber.

That process starts with saying no to Donald J. Trump. We don’t — and never will — advocate staying home on Election Day. If you can’t bring yourself to vote for Hillary Clinton, don’t. Vote third party — if Bill Weld were at the top of the Libertarian ticket, he would have gotten strong consideration for our backing — or leave it blank to send a message. Further, it may well make sense to skip voting for those who have continued to support Trump to this point — and reward the bravery of those who have stepped up and put country before party.

In fairness to Clinton, she is an intelligent, experienced leader — at worst, she will be an adequate steward of the country and keep us out of devastating wars. She also may prove to be better at making bipartisan deals than the current President, Barack Obama — despite a politically-motived move to the left during the Democratic primary, she is fairly moderate.

We largely discount the various claims — continually unproven — by the Alt-Right media and members of the Clinton Derangement Syndrome Support Group. The claims against her are no more valid than the radical left’s claims against George W. Bush suggesting that he was a war criminal and/or traitor. In essence, the Benghazi claims against her are as valid as those claiming Bush conspired with the Saudis on 9/11. While we might question the wisdom of past decisions of both — we do not question either person’s loyalty or love of country.

Our issues with Clinton center around aparent paranoia at times, excessive and ongoing baggage from her husband, former President Bill Clinton and the fact that, to be blunt, it feels like her time — and that of her entire generation — has passed. We would much prefer to see two candidates of a younger generation, closer to Obama’s age (or even younger), more interested in shaping the future than re-litigating the pointless partisan battles of the past.

We are left with a far from ideal option in the election, but it is deeply wrong to suggest that both Clinton and Trump are equally flawed. Clinton, for all of her faults, genuinely seems dedicated to making things better for Americans while Trump is more interested in gratifying his ego at the expense the remaining 330 million people in the country.

If that isn’t a stark difference, we don’t know any other way to put it.

The Times endorses Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.

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