Our choice for president: Hillary Clinton

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton claps as she finishes speaking at a rally at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth, Fla., Wednesday.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton claps as she finishes speaking at a rally at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth, Fla., Wednesday. Associated Press

Only one candidate has the experience, the knowledge of domestic and foreign affairs and the temperament to be our next president. That person is Hillary Rodham Clinton, who we endorse today.

In doing so, we depart from our usual policy of not endorsing in presidential races. We’ve followed that practice for the past 20 years, in large part because we’ve believed the major party candidates met basic qualifications to hold the highest office in the land.

That is not the case in 2016. Donald Trump is singularly unfit to lead our nation, and for that reason, we join the vast majority of news outlets throughout the country in supporting Clinton.

We don’t expect to change the minds of the “never Trump” or “never Clinton” voters — many of whom have already sent in their ballots. We endorse Clinton because silence could be interpreted as a sign that we don’t care, or it doesn’t matter, or that both candidates are equally qualified — or unqualified. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Donald Trump lacks the experience, the basic knowledge of governance and the self-discipline to lead this great nation.

His behavior is beyond outrageous — perpetuating conspiracy theories, such as the “birther” campaign against President Barack Obama; mocking a disabled reporter; insulting a Gold Star family; and bragging of groping and kissing women without their consent are but a few examples. We also are deeply disturbed by his propensity to lash out at critics with demeaning insults, threats of lawsuits and refusals to accept defeat.

We wouldn’t condone such behavior in a local mayor or school board member. Shouldn’t we hold the president of the United States to at least that same standard of basic civility?

As for experience, Trump has never been tested in public office, and his much-touted business career includes being sued by the federal government for discriminating against African-American renters; filing for corporate bankruptcy several times; failing to pay contractors and employees agreed-upon rates; and avoiding paying income tax.

Contrast that with Clinton’s record of public service spanning more than 40 years. Her political career is unique in American history; she’s been secretary of state, a U. S. senator, first lady of the United States and first lady of Arkansas, and she is now the first woman nominated for the presidency by a major political party.

She has a record of bipartisanship and a history of advocating for the most vulnerable among us, whether it’s standing up for the rights of women in China or securing funding for the first responders of 9/11 who later required medical treatment.

She is not a perfect candidate. She is secretive — she made a big mistake in using a private email server as secretary of state, and she has evaded questions about the Clinton Foundation. Her lack of natural ease and charisma in public settings counts against her; she reminds us more of a Margaret Thatcher than, say, a Bill Clinton.

We believe, however, that Clinton has the ability and self-awareness to learn from her mistakes and to grow on the job.

We also believe she is in a far better position to take on the monumental task of uniting a nation divided by race, by income, by social class and by opportunity.

Healing the nation won’t be easy. Clinton will almost certainly face the same resistance from conservative Republicans that President Obama encountered for the past eight years.

We believe, though, that she has both the compassion and the pragmatism to chart our course, especially when compared with a man who has threatened to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, to round up and deport millions of immigrants who are here illegally and to ban Muslim immigrants from entering the country. A man who promises to make America great again without telling us how he will do that. A man who is repugnant even to many leaders of his own party.

We believe Americans deserve better — we deserve at least two well-qualified candidates on the presidential ballot.

If we don’t want to see another Donald Trump on the ballot in 2020, we need to send a strong message by giving Hillary Clinton a clear mandate in November.