As the upcoming presidential election nears, we cannot and will not ignore that the fate of our nation and the lives of its citizens are at risk. We as voters hold the power to decide what happens next. With the gravity of this presidential election in mind, The Michigan Daily’s Editorial Board endorses the same Democratic candidate we did in the primary, Hillary Clinton, to become the 45th president of the United States.
Clinton’s dedication to public service and experience in law and foreign affairs affirm her as the election’s most qualified, knowledgeable and experienced candidate. Her policies are logical and thorough, and will serve the needs of the American people. As college students, we consider her on the grounds that her policies will best serve us during our years in the educational system and as young adults entering the workforce.
The University of Michigan's student body includes diverse identities, which Clinton plans to protect through comprehensive social policy. Clinton’s LGBTQ policies promote human rights on a local and global scale, calling to “end so-called ‘conversion therapy’ for minors” and to “invest in law enforcement training focused on fair and impartial policing” of transgender citizens. Her racial justice policies include a reformation of the criminal justice system — a system that unfairly targets Black men and people of color — and more restrictive gun laws, starting by removing gun show loopholes and taking on the gun lobby. Clinton will represent women by working to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and making high-quality childcare more affordable for working mothers.
Equally important for students on our campus, Clinton addresses campus sexual assault directly, and her plan covers methods of prevention, support and ensuring of fair processes for all involved in reporting and investigating. Clinton has sponsored the 2005 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, introduced the Caregiver, Advise, Record, Enable Act — which ensures contraception for victims of rape and incest — supported the Department of Justice’s Offices on Violence Against Women and launched a United Nations resolution creating guidelines for international response to sexual assault in areas of war.
Clinton’s economic policy is fundamentally important to the college student: It helps make college more affordable and accessible. Her promise to “make debt-free college available to everyone” and to “liberate the millions of Americans who have student debt” is among the most important policies that seek to support students’ well-being. Greater college affordability and accessibility can lead to greater socioeconomic diversity on college campuses, something of crucial importance on our campus here in Ann Arbor.
As well, Clinton plans to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $12 per hour over the next several years, making the minimum wage a more livable wage for all Americans. She wants to raise income taxes for the top 5 percent, which is reminiscent of Sanders’ (I-VT) plan. She also plans to provide workers paid family and medical leave. While this plan would end up costing $300 billion over 10 years, it rewards those who stay in the workforce, allows a larger and more diverse population to enter the workforce and ultimately strengthens the country's economy.
It’s easy to get caught up in the cynicism, general weariness, mistrust and lack of confidence in a country wrought with gridlock. It’s even easier to get caught up in Trump’s many scandals, but regardless, the bottom line is that Trump’s policies in and of themselves are incredibly poor. They do not benefit the majority of American citizens nor do they bear the image of the American people in mind.
For example, Trump’s immigration proposition to “build a wall” and “have Mexico pay for it” is not only xenophobic, but is also littered with unfixable problems. Trump has no direction or hold of the actual cost of a project of such magnificence. Is it $8 billion, $10 billion or $12 billion? Trump has demonstrated he doesn’t know for sure — and therefore neither do the American people. The Washington Post estimates the project would cost at least $25 billion. Not only does Trump fail in respect to immigration reform, he has no grasp of the American economy, despite many claims that he will run the country like a business. Trump’s revised tax plan estimates tax cuts upward of $4.4 trillion, with no guarantee of savings. Moreover, he promises to add 25 million jobs back to the U.S. economy, but with his current economic layout, it’s more along the lines of party placation than fiscal reality. We deserve better.
And while there is the option of voting for a third-party candidate — as many are announcing they will — because the United States uses a majority voting system for presidential elections, voting for a third-party candidate could take away votes from Clinton and increase the chances of Trump winning the election. For example, during the presidential race between Al Gore and George W. Bush in 2000, prominent third-party candidate Ralph Nader may have created a divide between liberal voters and influenced Bush’s election. In addition, neither Green Party candidate Jill Stein nor Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson have shown nearly the level of knowledge or had nearly the level of experience Clinton will have when entering the Oval Office. Given the weight that this candidate will carry for the future of our nation, we as Americans must vote for the best candidate and take care to understand the impact of our votes in a close and divisive election.
We are deep in a political race fraught with issues that affect every aspect of our lives and our futures. The outcome is ours to decide. While Clinton has her downfalls and warrants the same level of scrutiny as any other presidential candidate, she is still the obvious choice. But Donald Trump is not a viable option, not only due to his appalling rhetoric and horrendous behavior, but also due to the fact that he has few concrete plans and little understanding of what it takes to be president of the United States. And while third-party candidates may be attractive to voters fed up with Trump and Clinton, they are much weaker candidates in terms of merit, and it is unlikely they will win. Therefore, voting for them risks skewing the vote in a way that could be disastrous. With so much riding on this election, we are proud to support Hillary Clinton, the presidential candidate with the most experience, best policies and a comprehensive plan to better our country.