As a longtime journalist, I don’t often endorse political candidates.
It’s a practice I avoid because I have a problem with it that I’ve outlined before.
When I was managing editor of The Prince George’s Sentinel, it was against our policy to endorse political candidates. Bernard Kapiloff, the newspaper’s longtime publisher, believed our readers were intelligent enough to make their own decisions based on the facts.
I didn’t always agree with him on many issues, but I wholeheartedly agreed with him on that one.
The practice of an organization whose job is to report the news, to present facts, and to inform the public of endorsing a candidate for political office compromises its expected objectivity. In normal times, I would be reluctant to even endorse candidates as an individual.
These are not normal times. Not with the megalomaniac Donald Trump as the Republican Party’s candidate for President. Not with a whole legion of bigots who’ve come out of the woodwork, emboldened by Trump’s racist, misogynistic, anti-Muslim, homophobic, and anti-disabled attacks on anyone he doesn’t like. Not with Twitter rants at 3 a.m. because someone had the audacity to say something that upset him.
I personally endorse Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton for President for a great many reasons.
A Trump Presidency would be a singular threat to the world at large, as Trump has made noises about ignoring American allies and embracing enemies. It would be a threat because Trump all too often doesn’t know what he’s talking about and shows a strong disinclination to learn. It would be a threat because Trump has suggested he would play fast and casual with nuclear weapons, threatening to test the notion that the world could face a nuclear winter.
As for Clinton, she isn’t perfect. Her penchant for secrecy is well documented, and has often resulted in a perception she has something to hide. She badly mishandled the issue of using a private email server until it became a full-blown controversy. She has subsequently owned up to her mistakes in that regard, but could have stopped the bleeding much earlier. She comes across as cold and calculating on the campaign trail, although stories about her from people who know her personally paint her as being much warmer than she is perceived to be.
However, Clinton’s faults do not include blame for Benghazi. A Republican-led Congress slashed funding for security for the American compound there, so the multiple investigations into the attacks proved little more than outward manifestations of Republican hatred of President Obama and Clinton.
By many accounts, Clinton was a wildly effective stateswoman as Secretary of State. As a Senator, she showed a tenacity for dealing with constituent concerns, including a personal account from one grateful constituent whom Clinton spoke to personally.
A couple of papers, notably The Miami Herald on Friday, shot down the notion that Clinton is the lesser of two evils in their endorsement, saying, “the narrative that Hillary Clinton is the lesser of two evils is patently wrong.” The Corpus-Christi Caller-Times went further, saying, “She is not, as has been sold, a mere lesser of two evils. Her experience and intellect would make her a standout in any group of candidates. Like President Obama said and didn’t need to be fact-checked, she’s more qualified than him or her husband.”
Clinton may not be the most qualified person ever to seek the office of President, but her real qualifications make her among the most qualified. None of the other people seeking the White House come close. She has real experience in politics. She has real accomplishments. She deserves to become the 45th President.