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Our endorsement: Hillary Clinton for president

SoVaNow.com / October 26, 2016

Little more can be said about the presidential election that people haven’t heard already, or desire to hear more about as the grueling campaign draws to a close. As unpleasant as the race has been, however, there’s no escaping the fact that a fateful choice lies ahead for America. Voters can elect a highly qualified, moderate and experienced candidate for president, or install a dangerous demagogue whose ascension to office would spell probable disaster for the United States and the world. It doesn’t sound like much of a choice, yet somehow it has proved surprisingly difficult for many people to wrap their minds around.

In the long-ago 1964 campaign for president, Republican nominee Barry Goldwater campaigned on a slogan that would enter the annals of American politics: “In your heart, you know he’s right.” As it turned out, the hearts of his countrymen were elsewhere that year as Goldwater went down to epic defeat. But there was something endearing and true in the late Arizona senator’s words. There’s nothing wrong with listening to your heart when casting your vote.

With Hillary Clinton, the notion that one’s support might be heartfelt may seem a little odd. Before winning the Democratic nomination, Clinton faced off against Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, whose supporters were more openly passionate than Clinton’s, if less numerous. In the general election, the zeal has aligned on the side of the Republican nominee, Donald Trump. Being in the public eye for four decades, Mrs. Clinton is a known commodity. In our notoriety-driven, celebrity-obsessed culture, “known community” equates to unexciting, and in all too many minds, unappealing.

We think this assessment is wrong — deeply so. This campaign season has provided ample evidence of the strength of Hillary Clinton’s commitment to national progress, her passion for improving the lives of ordinary people, and her equanimity and steely intelligence when confronted with difficult issues. These qualities have been front and center throughout the campaign, especially during the three debates in which she dominated over Mr. Trump. Clinton has demonstrated time and again that she possesses excellent qualifications to serve in the White House.

The News & Record heartily endorses Hillary Clinton for president, in the hope and belief that she will carry forward and improve upon the progress that President Barack Obama has made before her. Our endorsement comes with the full recognition that the economy is not nearly as strong as it should be, that signature Obama achievements such as the Affordable Care Act are in need of significant improvement, and that communities such as our own — here in the heart of the old textile-and-tobacco belt — have been excluded from the prosperity enjoyed by other parts of the country. Yet fixing these problems is a challenge that Mrs. Clinton has embraced, rather than sought to exploit, as Donald Trump has done with his blame-speckled campaign.

It’s no exaggeration to say that Trump’s rancid candidacy has exposed a blackness of heart in our great country. This should sadden Americans of every stripe. It also should alarm them. Trump has made dozens of disqualifying statements over the course of this election season, giving voters every reason to reject his presidential aspirations with extreme prejudice — yet too many remain open to his bigoted, sexist, extremist point of view. We’re only lucky that Trump is also thoroughly incompetent as a manager of his political fortunes. What happens if one day a more talented version of Mr. Trump runs for the presidency?

This is a dangerous moment for the country, a fact obscured by the unfortunate insistence by so many to treat the election as something of a lark. Trump aside, there are two major-minor contenders, Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein of the Green Party, who propose all kinds of loopy ideas that would be disastrous if ever put into practice. Neither third-party candidate is remotely as toxic as Trump, but nor are they qualified to be president, either. Is the fact that Hillary Clinton is the only plausible commander-in-chief on the ballot part the problem with this race?

At the end of the day, we trust the majority of people to make a responsible choice for president. Hillary Clinton is far from a perfect candidate, just as every president in America’s history has been imperfect representative of the human race. Yet the United States has never seen a major party candidate with as many disqualifying, toxic traits as Donald Trump has evinced this campaign season. This is something we suspect most people know in their heart of hearts, even if their more blinkered instincts may lead them to stubbornly support the Republican candidate. The rest of the nation should refuse to go along. We urge you to vote for Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, Nov. 8, and put an emphatic stop to Donald Trump and the menace he presents to America.





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