These are perilous times at home and abroad. Our economy is in stasis. Gaping fault lines in race relations are again laid bare. Evolving gender roles widen the cultural divide. The Middle East is wracked by endless conflict. Russia growls. The threat of terrorism rises. The dangers of climate change loom. Congress, riven into warring camps, is unable to function.
Against that uncertainty, America has made it clear: It wants change. Real change, not change based on slogans. Change that alters people’s lives, change that can bridge divides.
You get that by electing someone with decades of public service and experience, who has laudable goals and will work with anyone who wants to achieve them. We haven’t had a president enter office with that resume in a long time.
That would be a change. That’s why we should elect Hillary Clinton as president.
In fairness to both candidates, we waited until all three debates were held before making our recommendation.
In this ugly campaign, it’s easy to forget Clinton’s skills. She’s steady, mature, tough, intelligent and deeply knowledgeable about policy and government. She knows that complex problems have neither simple diagnoses nor simple solutions, and that continuing to move forward is often the best idea.
Take Obamacare. Clinton knows revamping it is better than starting over, so she’s proposing tax credits and more subsidies to make it more affordable. That pragmatism marked her time in the Senate. Working with the GOP, she got bills passed to monitor the long-term health of 9/11 responders and to make National Guard members and reservists eligible for military benefits.
As president, she’d have to work with Congress in a way Barack Obama could not, and Congress would have to do the same with her. Clinton is not a purist; she’ll make deals to make progress. That’s how Washington used to work, and can again.
She is not without flaws or controversies stirred by her own hand. Some attacks on her are creations of our hyperpartisan politics. Cutting through that is difficult. The deaths of four Americans in Benghazi in 2012 were awful, but repeated congressional investigations failed to prove Clinton knew about or personally denied repeated requests for more security at the mission.
But some shortcomings are real. Her penchant for secrecy is troubling, as is her reluctance to take direct responsibility for some actions. Using a private server for emails was a mistake she did not readily acknowledge. It was not a crime, but her shifting explanations were unseemly and emboldened critics who find her untrustworthy.
She has been too dismissive of potential conflicts of interest, especially regarding the Clinton Foundation. The charity does good work, and no favor-for-donation quid pro quo has been documented, but she should state clearly that the family will not be involved in it if she is elected president.
We hope she has learned from her scars.
Her opponent, Donald Trump, does not measure up to the job. He has an astonishing lack of knowledge about the world. Worse, he shows no curiosity to learn. His stunning refusal last week to say he will accept the election’s results undermines a hallmark of our democracy. He has no peer in spouting untruths. If that weren’t enough, his temperament disqualifies him. Most disturbingly, Trump has exploited a nostalgia felt by some who want to return to the past, an appeal rooted partly in racist and anti-immigrant sentiments that plague this nation.
Trump was shrewd to recognize the dissatisfaction felt by many that a changing economy has passed them by, and that government is riddled with cronyism and self-interest, but he doesn’t have solutions to address either. His tax policy, which will explode the deficit and increase middle-class taxes, will only make things worse.
Clinton’s proposals — such as raising the minimum wage, refinancing student loans, and expanding the child tax credit — reflect her desire to expand opportunity for all Americans. We like her positions on sensible gun controls, large infrastructure investments, criminal justice reforms and immigration reform with a path to citizenship.
She admits her Iraq vote was a mistake, but the Middle East has bedeviled generations of policymakers. She’s right to sound the alarm on Russia’s belligerence, and her efforts to toughen sanctions on Iran drove it into an agreement on its nuclear program.
Yes, she would be our first woman president, and that has its own value. But that’s not the reason to vote for her.
Clinton speaks a language America needs now. It is one of bridges, not walls, of engaging with the world, not withdrawing from it, of adapting to a changing economy, not reverting to one from a time long gone.
She is realistic about our nation’s problems and resolute about fixing them. Her unbroken belief in the right of every American to achieve the dream of America makes her the right choice for president.
amNew York endorses Hillary Clinton.