We’re (mostly) with her


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 13: Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the National Action Network’s 25th Anniversary Convention on April 13, 2016 in New York City. Hillary Clinton spoke during the National Action Network’s 25th Anniversary Convention as she campaigns in New York ahead of the New York primary on Tuesday April 19. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The UNews endorses Clinton for president… with some reservations

In a presidential election year in which party polarization, dangerous rhetoric and distrust of political elites have been major themes, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Tim Kaine would best serve our nation and its people. This view represents the majority opinion of the University News Editorial Board and acts as our endorsement.

Clinton, we concede, is far from an ideal candidate. Her use of a private email server for classified material suggests negligence and her acceptance of over $100 million in speaking fees from Wall Street firms hints at corruption in politics. During the primary against Sen. Bernie Sanders last spring, she embodied the “establishment” against a political revolutionary. After the July release of emails from DNC officials conspiring against the senator during the primary, a primary election weighted toward Clinton’s victory looked all the more plausible.

But despite her flaws, Clinton remains the most qualified of any current candidate to hold the nation’s highest office. However troubling they may be, the Democratic candidate’s scandals pale in comparison to Donald Trump’s. Indeed, much of her support comes from those who dislike Trump. For many, (including several on our Editorial Board) voting Clinton into the White House is much less driven by enthusiasm to see her succeed than it is by a fear of Trump winning.

But fear alone is not a reason to vote for someone.Unlike her opponent, Clinton derives her policies out of reason, rather than fear. The former secretary of state would govern with logic rather than emotion. She preys not on our anger and deeper evils, but instead calls on the best of our qualities.

Her experience as secretary of state has prepared her to negotiate with powerful world leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and to protect America and its allies from the emerging nuclear might of North Korea. Time and again, Clinton has demonstrated her stability and dependability as a leader, and such attributes would carry over to her presidency.

Voters can count on Clinton to not make drastic changes. This attribute may repel certain voters, who identify her as a political elite stifling the people. But for those who fear Trump’s bigoted remarks and big plans for change, she is a safe candidate. We can sleep soundly knowing Clinton will govern within reason. With Trump, on the other hand, many fear that he may act as rashly with nuclear warheads as he does with tweets about former beauty pageant contestants.

Clinton’s investment into education would strengthen the economy and reduce the crime rate. Instead of proposing a harmful tax plan that would overburden the middle class, she wants to make big businesses pay their fair share. Instead of promoting racist policies like stop-and-frisk, Clinton wants to improve police accountability and further the conversation about implicit bias.

Perhaps most importantly, Clinton conceives that the use of fossil fuels causes global warming and that we must adopt new strategies to meet our energy needs. Climate change is one of the most important issues of our time, and America must have a president that will fight to protect the environment. Clinton plans to invest heavily in solar power and other clean energy options, and by doing so will ensure the next generation inherits a survivable world.

Clinton wants to phase out dependence on coal without putting Americans out of work, which is pragmatic. A leader should account for both sides of the issue. Although she once supported the Keystone XL Pipeline, she no longer does. Her view on the pipeline displays her growth as a politician.

Over the years, Clinton has shifted her stances on several issues — such as same-sex marriage and the minimum wage — as public opinion shifted. Many people have criticized this behavior as pandering to voters. However, we would prefer a politician that is able to adapt their stances in response to changing times and personal growth over someone who clings deadfast to disproven convictions. This adaption to the changing views of society’s is not people-pleasing — she is serving the people she represents. Far more people support same-sex marriage and broader rights and protections for the LGBT community in 2016 than they did in 2000, when she campaigned for her senate seat. In order to best serve her constituency, Clinton changed her stance.

By adjusting her plans, Clinton exhibits the traits of a leader who cares about getting things done for her constituents. She also tends to the people by listening to them directly, meeting with them to hear their struggles and share her thoughts. During the primary election, for instance, Clinton met with black families whose sons were killed by the police. Clinton builds relationships with the people she meets, listens to their issues and their opinions, and incorporates their ideas into her plans.

Her ability to build relationships is one of the reasons why so many prominent figures have endorsed her presidency. She has the support of President Barack Obama, former President Jimmy Carter and her primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders. Even major Republicans like former President George H. W. Bush plan to vote for Clinton in November. Seven retired four-star generals and over a hundred other generals and admirals have endorsed the presidential candidate. Leading economists, business executives, international political figures, journalists and humanitarians have said Clinton is the best candidate this election.

The many leaders of our nation and from across the free world believe Clinton would best take up the mantle of freedom. America, as a major economic power, should have a reasonable leader at the top. America, as the greatest military power, should have an adept leader in its highest office.

Together, the best of America support Clinton. Together, the best have decided this woman is most fit to hold our nation’s highest office. Out of many, one.

…but voting third party is a meaningful option for some

However, not everyone on the Editorial Board was able to overcome their dislike for Clinton and offer their full support for our endorsement. A few of us, unsatisfied with the prospect of either major candidate taking office, remain undecided about this election, or plan on voting for a third party.

“Don’t throw away your vote.” This is the line people say when they hear someone is voting for a candidate other than the Democrat or Republican nominee. Although third-party candidates will not likely overtake either of the major-party candidates, voting for a third-party does have meaning and may impact the political world.

In an election where many voters dislike both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, choosing a different candidate can give voters greater peace of mind. Voters who identify with neither of the main candidates may find candidates such as Gary Johnson, Jill Stein or Evan McMullin to be in closer alignment with their beliefs. By choosing one of these more prominent third-party candidates, voters feel that their voice is being heard in a more sincere way. Voting for Clinton or Trump because of aversion to the other feels less genuine than voting for a candidate despite their low chances of victory.

Such a vote does not feel like a step in the right direction. Elections focus on what went wrong and what went right in the previous chapter of government. Voting one’s conscience feels like the right move. Even if there is not change, at least the voter acted on their convictions and represented their desire for a step in the direction of progress.

For voters in Utah, where McMullin is competitive and may even win the state, there is a positive feedback loop for voters choosing the independent candidate. Because McMullin has a chance of winning the state, more voters will cast their vote for him. McMullin will most likely not win the general election, but choosing him as a candidate aligns the voter with his values, and if he wins Utah, the voters feel that they are being represented.

In addition, his victory sends a message. As a conservative alternative to Trump, McMullin stands for many voters as the true Republican nominee. By choosing McMullin, conservative voters stand in resolution with a candidate who represents true conservative values.

Though improbable, voting for McMullin could also lead to his victory. If he wins Utah, taking electoral college votes away from Clinton and Trump, it is possible that neither major-party candidate would collect the necessary 270 electoral votes to win the election. In this scenario, the election would be up to the House of Representatives, which consists of 246 Republican representatives out of 435, well over a majority. This Republican majority could vote McMullin into the White House. By choosing McMullin in Utah, voters could see a McMullin presidency.

While polls suggest this scenario is unlikely because Hillary leads in enough states to put her over the 270 mark, it certainly gives hope to voters. If that hope is strong enough and one’s values come before the election’s outcome, then voting for an independent is worthwhile.

However, the third-party candidates like Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are not perfect because of their independence from the two-party system. They are arguably just as flawed as Clinton and Trump, and do not align with the values of many Americans.

In a recent episode of Last Week Tonight, comedian John Oliver demonstrates how neither Johnson nor Stein fully understand the details of some of their policies. Johnson understates the importance of the fundamentals of his tax plan, while Stein describes quantitative easing as “a magic trick that basically people don’t need to understand.” Johnson’s failure to identify the Syrian city of Aleppo was also a major indication of his lack of foreign policy knowledge.

This may be an election cycle where none of the candidates embodies each member of the nuanced American electorate. Some voters will find that none of the candidates have the policies or values that they want in their presidential candidate. For those who do find one of the independent candidates more appealing than Clinton or Trump, however, the prospect of throwing away a vote may not be important so long as they feel their vote was genuine.