Saturday, December 16, 2017
Editorials

Times recommends: Hillary Clinton for president

These are anxious times. Americans are concerned about economic stagnation, terrorism and spasms of gun violence. A chaotic presidential campaign has not improved the national mood. But this remains a resilient nation determined to pursue a brighter future, and there is a clear way forward to renew our common bonds and build upon the gains of these last eight years.

Hillary Clinton is the only candidate for president with the values, experience and knowledge to meet the challenges at home and abroad. Donald Trump is stunningly unprepared and temperamentally unfit for the presidency, and he has played upon our deepest fears and worst impulses with reckless rhetoric, wild promises and flagrant disregard for the truth. His bombast makes for entertaining television, but it is not suited for the Oval Office.

Perspective gets lost in the Twitter era. America is on firmer ground than when President Barack Obama took office. The country teetered on the brink of economic collapse, and we came through the Great Recession. We were mired in two wars, and thousands of our troops have returned home. Osama bin Laden is dead, the Islamic State is under strain and the doors to Cuba are reopening. In Florida, unemployment is down, housing prices are up and urban areas from Tampa Bay to Orlando to Miami are experiencing a renaissance.

DON MORRIS | Times

In every respect, Clinton is well prepared to capitalize on those successes and ensure more Americans benefit. Her experience as a young lawyer, first lady, U.S. senator from New York and secretary of state during Obama's first term is unmatched. She has spent a lifetime advocating for children, health care and economic opportunity regardless of race or class. Her attention to policy details and her negotiating skills are well established, and her toughness has been tested through decades of public life.

Clinton would continue the encouraging trend lines that show household incomes are up and poverty is down. She offers detailed plans for targeted tax breaks, investments in infrastructure, clean energy incentives and robust job training. She would improve the Affordable Care Act that has brought health coverage to millions. She would support women and families by boosting early childhood education, closing the pay gap and supporting reproductive freedom.

Like Obama, Clinton would push for tighter background checks for gun buyers and seek comprehensive immigration reform including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. The Democrat also recognizes climate change as a "defining challenge of our time,'' which is critical as Florida copes with evolving weather patterns and rising sea levels.

Abroad, Clinton would strengthen relationships with our allies in the global fight against terrorism. She would use tough sanctions she helped negotiate to enforce the nuclear agreement with Iran that has made the world safer. Her reversal of support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership is disappointing, but she recognizes the benefits of trade agreements that open up markets for Florida and create thousands of jobs.

Clinton is a flawed candidate, and there are legitimate concerns about her honesty and candor. While she was secretary of state, her use of a private email server was an egregious error that smacks of self-entitlement. The Clinton Foundation, whose initiatives have saved lives around the world, should have been held at greater arm's length. As president, she would have to be more candid with Americans and fight her tendency to withhold information she fears would be damaging. Eventually, it always comes out.

But putting Trump in the White House is simply unthinkable. Compared to him, Clinton's issues of integrity are minor. His are monumental.

Trump's grim view of a declining America that has lost standing in the world is at odds with reality. The billionaire's tax cuts would primarily benefit the wealthy. He wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act but offers no serious alternative. His pledges to round up and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants and to force Mexico to pay for a border wall are nationalistic nonsense. His Rust Belt promises to revive steel mills and reinvigorate the coal industry are fantasies, and he is in denial about climate change.

But Trump's hostile takeover of the Republican Party makes this election unlike any other in our lifetimes. It is not about the size of tax cuts, or the scope of government regulation, or the details of health care reform. At its core, this election is about uniting behind a tested, thoroughly vetted candidate and preventing a dangerous demagogue from taking office.

Trump has a long record of sexist, derogatory comments about women that he continues to expand. He has mocked the disabled and warned of Mexican rapists rushing across the border. He has fueled religious and ethnic discrimination by advocating a ban on Muslims entering the country and denigrating Muslim parents whose son was killed while serving in the Army in Iraq. He refers to "the Hispanics" and "the blacks," embraces "stop and frisk" policing that has been widely discredited and has not renounced support from white supremacists. He has no respect for an independent judiciary or constitutional protections such as due process and free speech.

This is not a man to be trusted with his "secret plan" to fight terrorism, dangerous disregard for our historical alliances and fascination with Russian President Vladimir Putin's thuggish rule. Trump consistently lies that he was against the war in Iraq when he was for it. He lies when he blames Clinton for originating the baseless birther attacks on Obama that he fueled for years. The billionaire's business history is filled with examples of bankruptcies, failed casinos — and countless customers and suppliers who were scammed. He brags of Trump University's success while students felt cheated, and the Trump Foundation is a shell that benefits his own aims. Trump's bravado may appeal to some voters, but do not mistake hollow boasts for principled leadership.

Americans are looking for reassurance they can succeed in the new economy, their neighborhoods are safe and their children have opportunities to build successful lives in a less dangerous world. The best way to advance those universal goals is to elect a president with a record of addressing those concerns with care and competence.

Clinton is well-qualified to be president, and her election as the first woman to lead the nation would shatter another glass ceiling. The Tampa Bay Times recommends Hillary Clinton for president.

Comments

Editorial: Warren’s smart approach on guns, domestic violence

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren would make it safer for victims and police alike with his plan to remove firearms from defendants charged with domestic violence. These cases are toxic enough, and having guns at the ready only adds to a dang...
Published: 12/15/17
Editorial: St. Petersburg council right to reject Bayfront deal

Editorial: St. Petersburg council right to reject Bayfront deal

The St. Petersburg City Council made the difficult but correct decision this week to reject the proposed sale of a local nonprofit’s minority stake in Bayfront hospital. Despite months of negotiations, there were too many questions, a few suspicions ...
Published: 12/15/17
Editorial: Congress should fix flood insurance, children’s health insurance before Christmas

Editorial: Congress should fix flood insurance, children’s health insurance before Christmas

Here’s a snapshot of misplaced priorities in Washington. Last week, the Federal Communications Commission foolishly rushed to scrap net neutrality rules and allow internet service providers to treat different content differently despite overwhelming ...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
Editorial: Scott’s smart changes to sexual harassment policy

Editorial: Scott’s smart changes to sexual harassment policy

With misconduct allegations rippling through all levels of government, Gov. Rick Scott has taken the prudent step of ordering uniform sexual harassment policies throughout state agencies. The executive order strengthens protections for victims, which...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
Editorial: MOSI faces a clean slate and should give everyone a piece of chalk

Editorial: MOSI faces a clean slate and should give everyone a piece of chalk

For three years, the only news about finances at Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry was bad news: "Struggling MOSI asks Hillsborough County for $400,000 loan," one headline read, "Audit sees MOSI finances slipping," read another, and "MOSI donor ...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

For once, it would be nice to see Sen. Marco Rubio stand up as the independent leader he aspires to become. For once, the Florida Republican should hold his position rather than bow to pragmatic politics. Rubio can stick with his threat Thursday to v...
Published: 12/14/17

Another voice: A shameful anniversary

Josephine "Joey" Gay should have celebrated her 12th birthday this week. She should have been surrounded by friends and family in a place festooned with purple, her favorite color.Chase Kowalski should have been working toward a Boy Scout merit badge...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17
Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Timing is everything, and Sen. Bill Nelson seized the right moment this week to call on his colleagues to pass legislation he filed earlier this year that would block the Trump administration from opening additional areas to offshore drilling. With t...
Published: 12/13/17

Another voice: Alabama picks an honorable man

THANK YOU, Alabama.In Tuesday’s special election, the state by a narrow margin chose to spare the nation the indignity of seating an accused child molester in the U.S. Senate. Though the stain of electing Republican Roy Moore would have sullied Alaba...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

As congressional negotiators hammer out the details on an enormous, unnecessary tax cut, the potential negative impact on Tampa Bay and Florida is becoming clearer. The harmful consequences stretch far beyond adding more than $1.4 trillion to the fed...
Published: 12/12/17