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Voting for Hillary: A no-brainer

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Regular readers of this column will remember two recent offerings on this crazy 2016 presidential election: one, a warning not to risk destroying everything we’ve gained by voting for Donald Trump; two, a plea not to make a mockery of this election by voting for Gary Johnson.

 

Here today the important third installment: Making your vote count – not just by voting against Trump or Johnson – but by voting for Hillary Clinton.

 

For all Democrats, for all Republicans who love their country more than their party, and, yes, for all former Bernie Sanders supporters like me, voting for Hillary Clinton should be an easy, automatic and enthusiastic choice. A no-brainer.

 

She is, hands down, as President Obama frequently notes, the most qualified person to run for president – ever! Yes, we know, experience doesn’t always count for everything. But it counts for a lot. And certainly her experience as first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the United States, U.S. senator from New York and secretary of state gives her an unparalleled grasp of how government works and how to get things done. There will be no period of on-the-job training needed for Hillary Clinton.

 

Even outside of public office, Clinton has a lifetime record of fighting for good causes, especially children and women’s rights. In high school, she volunteered to babysit children of migrant workers. In law school, she volunteered on child abuse cases at New Haven Hospital. Her first job after law school was as staff attorney to the Children’s Defense Fund. And her lifelong passion for women’s rights led directly to her historic 1995 speech to the U.N. Conference on Women in Beijing where she looked China’s repressive leaders in the eye and declared: “If there is one message that echoes from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.”

 

For Americans sick of Washington’s ugly political battles, Clinton also offers the best hope of ending partisan gridlock. She definitely will have a better working relationship with Congress than President Obama ever had. She proved it, in the Senate, where she sponsored dozens of bills with Republican senators, including such conservative icons as Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and James Inhofe, R-Okla., (payments to public service officers after Sept. 11); Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and John McCain, R-Ariz., (auto safety) and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., (health care for National Guard families). In 2001, she so surprised GOP senators by showing up and becoming a regular member of their weekly prayer meetings that Sam Brownback, then Republican senator from Kansas, stood up and begged forgiveness for hating her. She was confirmed by the Senate for secretary of state 94 to 2.

 

And let there be no doubt for Bernie Sanders supporters, young and older: If you really believe in what Bernie stands for, if you really want to see the progressive agenda become real, Hillary Clinton’s your only hope. She’s already embraced many of the issues Sanders raised during the primary: opposition to TPP; tuition-free community college; $15 minimum wage; cutting prescription drug costs and adding a public plan option under Obamacare as a first step toward a single-payer health-care system. The challenge will be to hold her feet to the fire once she’s in the White House. But that’s the job of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and progressive organizations.

 

There’s one other reason for voting for Clinton, one she never talks about. Voting for her because she’s a woman is not alone sufficient reason, but it is important. We made history in 2008 by electing our first African-American president. How great to make history again in 2016 by electing our first female president. Madame President? It’s about time!

 

And if you had any doubts about voting for Hillary Clinton, this week’s third and final presidential debate should have convinced you. She was never stronger or in more command of the issues. He was never more flummoxed or unhinged. Trump bragged about his respect for women, then called Clinton “such a nasty woman.” He asserted his confidence in the military, then accused the U.S. military of helping the Iraqi army retake Mosul only in order to help Hillary get elected. And then he refused to say whether he would accept the results on Nov. 8, thereby undermining the very foundation of democracy, which has carried us for 240 years.

 

Isn’t that enough? Rule No. 1: Any candidate who refuses to accept the will of the voters should be disqualified from running for president.

 

 

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