From the Daily: Vote Clinton, Kasich

Monday, March 7, 2016 - 11:14pm

The Michigan primary elections bring four Republican candidates and two Democratic candidates to the ballot box. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Hillary Clinton have had a strong presence in Michigan this week. On Sunday night, both debated in Flint, and Monday, Bernie rallied students in the Crisler Center while Hillary assembled faithful supporters in Detroit. Despite Sanders' inspiring policy agendas and Obama-esque hope, it is with confidence that The Michigan Daily Editorial Board endorses Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nominee.

Clinton is an experienced, qualified and diplomatic leader. She has served as a U.S. senator from New York, the secretary of state and as the first lady. As secretary of state, she worked on global policy including sanctions to Iran and a ceasefire in Israel and supported Obama in bringing Osama bin Laden to justice. She may have proved her preparedness for the job as president Sunday evening in her opening statement. Sanders stated that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder should resign and Clinton followed, saying Snyder should resign or be recalled, but added discussion about how Flint can get help now. Clinton has the experience and the expertise to implement the changes cities like Flint need.

Furthermore, having a woman as president has the potential to fundamentally change how our country views women. This is certainly not the only reason she should get the female vote, but like Obama her position in the White House will be condusive to social progress. Clinton as president can serve as a symbol for how far women can go, setting the stage for more female leaders in the future. As with every election, none of these candidates are perfect. But we are at an important stage in our country’s history and it is crucial to vote accordingly.

Sanders has created a rhetoric surrounding college tuition that is undeniably inspiring, calling for free tuition at all public universities. However, Clinton has sturdy policies that address student debt and hold colleges and universities accountable for making changes toward affordability — policies that are much more likely to gain bipartisan support.

Sanders also speaks passionately about big money in elections and essential campaign finance reform. Though change in this area is a noble goal, it’s far from the most important thing voters should consider in casting their vote during primaries. Yes, Clinton’s top donors are huge companies that represent big business interests — interests that do not align with ours. But the fact still remains that Clinton has the social stances and has support from industries to make a real change.

Clinton has changed a tremendous amount throughout her political career, with extreme flip-flopping on social issues and a lack of transparency on this flip-flopping, until recently. This warrants hesitation in trusting Clinton to stay strong to her policies. However, we choose to believe her ability to grow and learn from her changes shows a productive, nuanced and detail-oriented approach to changes in policy that naturally reflect changes in our nation’s culture.

We watched Obama win the presidential election with a campaign promoting hope and optimism to the masses. And we have now watched eight years in which Obama worked tirelessly, and many times futility, to pass legislation on many of these hopes he had for our country. Though Sanders’ platform has this same hope and it is admirable, it is not realistic. Presidents have a day job beyond promoting a political-revolution rhetoric and Clinton has the policy agendas, experience and resources to be president.

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In the Republican primary race, we find an atmosphere characterized by aggressive rhetoric that is racist, sexist, bigoted and lacking in any substantive stances on policies. Out of this mess, Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) has emerged as the most sensible option for Republican voters. With ample experience as a member of the House Budget Committee and governor of Ohio, Kasich has a track record of not just addressing policy issues, but working in tandem with Democrats to pass legislation.

Kasich has demonstrated his pragmatism in policies such as accepting the Medicaid expansion of Obamacare — something many Republican governors refused to do. He accepts the realities of manmade climate change, whereas other Republican candidates have refused to accept even the existence of global warming. He was influential in balancing federal budgets by collaborating with a Democratic president, Bill Clinton. As governor of a state with substantial ideological diversity, Kasich has been keen on approaching issues with practicality in mind.

Unfortunately for the governor, his relatively moderate views have gained him less than desirable polling results. The Republican voting bloc has contributed to candidates’ gradual shift alarmingly far to the right, to the point where the frontrunner is a self-avowed bigot. The two other candidates with the most delegates are darlings of the ultra-conservative Tea Party Movement. Kasich is proving to be the best out of several bad options.

Kasich is certainly not without his faults. In Ohio he is currently pushing for legislation that would defund Planned Parenthood — a critical provider of women’s health services beyond just abortion. He has also advocated the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, a policy that would effectively strip the health coverage of millions. However, compared to the rest of the Republican slate, there is a stark difference between Kasich’s approach and those of his competitors. For Republican voters looking for someone who has not succumbed to the unfortunate state of affairs in the Republican presidential race, John Kasich is the only viable option.