The Idaho Statesman is endorsing Hillary Clinton for president.
We recognize a lot of you are not going to like our choice of a Democrat in this Republican state — where Sen. Ted Cruz won the GOP primary in a landslide and where Sen. Bernie Sanders soundly defeated Clinton in the Democratic caucus. But our hope is that you will consider our reasoning before critiquing our conclusion. At this critical time in our nation’s history, we need, more than ever, to listen to each other with respect.
Even though Donald Trump won the Republican nomination fair and square, his checkered past, vague policies and divisive statements have never convinced us that he is, indeed, a Republican. This is borne out by a growing list of GOP icons — generals, former presidents, former Cabinet members, national security experts and Republicans in Congress — who, like us, are convinced Trump’s allegiances begin and end with himself.
Our seven-member editorial board’s vote for Clinton was nearly unanimous, and we decided this before the audio and video surfaced of Trump’s lewd 2005 conversation about women. A few expressed low to medium enthusiasm for Clinton, and one simply would not endorse her. But the board was unanimous on one count: None could endorse Trump.
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The board believes the 2016 presidential race ought to be about how the candidates intend to govern, keep us safe and create an atmosphere for economic growth for the nation. We also believe that Clinton is far from perfect. We did not ignore or dismiss her private emails, Benghazi and her lack of transparency. We talked at length about the poor judgment she has used and her reluctant acknowledgment of it.
But our conversation focused on the choice before us: Clinton or Trump. During our deliberations, we considered a long list of Idaho issues and essential qualifications for presidential candidates, and decided to highlight the ones below. We sourced the candidates’ records and policy statements to see whether they measured up. This led us clearly to Clinton.
We share the observations below in the hopes they will spark your own conversations at home, at school or in the workplace before you head to the polls Nov. 8.
Education: Education is a basic right and a key issue for our state. Clinton values education for everyone and not just for those who can muster the effort to create a charter school, which is an emphasis Trump makes. Trump demonizes Common Core without knowing what it is, while Clinton sees the value in creating standards to measure our progress in education — which is good since Idaho operates with the Idaho Core Standards.
Immigration: We know Trump launched his presidential candidacy by disparaging people of Mexican heritage — many of whom are our neighbors, friends and co-workers here in Idaho. While Trump has tried to walk back his stances, Clinton has steadfastly presented a more realistic approach. According to Politifact: “Clinton has presented herself as an advocate for comprehensive immigration legislation, emphasizing a commitment to keeping immigrant families together, giving undocumented workers a chance to ‘come out of the shadows’ and pushing for immigrant integration.” Several Idaho agriculture industries depend upon foreign workers to get the job done. Whereas Trump has indicated employers should first be mandated to hire the nation’s unemployed before recruiting foreign workers, we consistently hear from Idaho employers that such a willing American workforce does not exist. Clinton recognizes that immigrants and migrant workers play a critical role in supporting America’s agricultural economy, according to statements she provided to ModernFarmer.com.
Health Care: The Affordable Care Act is certain to get attention from our next president. We are confused by Trump’s approach — one day he is going to repeal it, the next he proposes single-payer alternative — but we believe Clinton will work to make the improvements that are absolutely needed. As advocates of closing the health insurance gap for 78,000 Idahoans, we would rather work with Clinton to improve the health care law than start all over with some new system. We can’t go back to a time when people with pre-existing medical conditions were ignored.
Rural Issues: Two people with strong, urban New York ties wouldn’t seem to bode well for understanding the needs of rural America. But during Clinton’s days in Arkansas, she developed a sensitivity and empathy for small towns and those living agrarian lifestyles. She reinvented herself and, more importantly, educated herself about the issues rural economies and workers face, and in doing so she is better prepared to understand many issues at the heart of our state.
Gun Control: The perception is that Trump loves the NRA and Clinton would take your guns away. But how would Trump address gun violence in communities where he claims, “You walk down the street and get shot”? Clinton is not trying to take your guns away. She would respect the Second Amendment and court decisions upholding it. But she would seek ways to keep guns out of the hands of the people who should not have them: criminals, the mentally ill, people on the No-Fly list and others.
Communication: Now more than ever we need a president who hears us and provides frank and clear answers. Whereas Trump’s style is to fire rounds of divisive sound bites on a given day to gain attention, Clinton has a track record of sitting down and explaining complex issues. She offers a much deeper frame of reference after serving as first lady, as an effective U.S. senator and as secretary of state.
Working with Others: President Barack Obama never developed much of a working relationship with either chamber in Congress. This is an area where Clinton, a former senator known for working with those on the other side of the aisle, could bring a thaw to the icy gridlock that paralyzes our government. This week Trump was sparring with several Republican candidates and with House Speaker Paul Ryan. How can he be expected to negotiate bipartisan efforts in the House and Senate when he holds on to childish grudges against GOP colleagues? This is Clinton’s world and her distinct advantage.
Achievable Goals: The next president will face complex issues such as infrastructure needs, immigration reform and terrorism. To meet infrastructure needs, Trump proposes expanding the national debt by borrowing half a trillion dollars. Clinton would fund it through the elimination of corporate tax “loopholes” — a method requiring congressional approval but more likely to meet with success than attempting to add another half-trillion dollars to the national debt. Immigration reform deserves more thought than building a wall. Clinton has a plan with phases that balances national security with the status of law-abiding immigrants already succeeding here. Regarding terrorism, keeping Muslims out of the U.S. will only add irritation to an already problematic group of international relationships. Terrorists are perfectly capable of passing themselves off as lapsed Methodists from European countries. Trump also wants to admit to this nation only the people who “support our values.” OK, so what are those values? How many of us would agree on a list of American values? We are more comfortable having a former secretary of state dealing with such issues than a commercial real estate developer and reality TV star.
Positive about America: The 2016 presidential race has unearthed a series of untoward and embarrassing Trump comments, revealing a spoiled inner child. Clinton, on the other hand, has been an ambassador to the world and a role model for anyone who respects the promise that hard work pays off. Though Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again” gained momentum, it is Clinton’s story of perseverance that demonstrates and illuminates a path for personal and national achievement.
Public Sector Experience: Trump can pretend all he wants that he, an outsider, can parachute into any public sector situation and be respected because he is some supreme negotiator. But that theory loses credibility every time Trump mentions a federal agency in one breath and then vows to clean house in the next — after making sweeping generalizations about ineffective civil servants. Trump is no match for Clinton’s lifelong dedication to public service.
Adaptability: We believe the ideas of adaptability and compromise are foreign to Trump. Though he claims to be a shrewd dealmaker, we wonder how transferable those skills are to running a government. In a very complex world, we find someone with Clinton’s broad experience and vast connections to be the best choice to deal with our future problems. We base that on the fact that she solved a lot of issues for New York constituents while serving in the Senate: championing children and 9/11 victims, for starters. We have faith Clinton can find the bipartisan sweet spots to get things done. We suspect she will do this better than Obama, and we know she will accomplish more than a man who consistently demonstrates ignorance of the process.
Trump’s fantasies about a new country and era where “outsiders” are better equipped to fix Washington will always be undefined and out of reach. The need to compromise could never happen with him in charge.
We live in the real world, with real problems that need real solutions. We need someone with pragmatic approaches that include patience and compassion. We need Hillary Clinton to be the next president.
Statesman editorials are the unsigned opinion expressing the consensus of the Statesman’s editorial board. To comment on an editorial or suggest a topic, email editorial@ idahostatesman.com.
Ready to Vote?
Voting in the Nov. 8 election has begun in Ada and Canyon counties in the form of absentee ballots, and early voting has started in Canyon County.
To receive an absentee ballot a voter must mail or email a signed request to either Ada or Canyon county by 5 p.m. Oct. 28.
Early in-person voting began in Canyon County last week and continues at 1102 E. Chicago St, Caldwell. Ada County’s early voting starts next week and is available 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday - Friday, through Nov. 4 at these locations:
Boise: Ada County Elections Office, 400 N. Benjamin Lane (special Saturday voting 10 a.m. to 4 p.m on Oct. 29), City Hall, 150 N. Capitol Blvd.
Eagle: Senior Center, 312 E. State St.
Meridian: City Hall, 33 E. Broadway Ave.
To find more information, visit adacountyelections.com or canyonco.org/elected-officials/clerk/elections/. Ada County Elections (208) 287-6860; Canyon County Elections (208) 454-7562.