Hillary in Ashland

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton speaks to members of the Ashland and Boyd County communities during her stop in at Alma's Italian. Photo by Andrew Adkins | The Daily Independent

Hillary Clinton is the clear choice to be the next president of the United States. Her proposals, temperament, willingness to work with the other party and a long resume of public service distinguish her. She has demonstrated that she has the intellect, experience, toughness and courage to serve in the highest office in the land.

In sharp contrast, Republican nominee Donald Trump is an unknown with zero experience as a public official on any level. He has offered no detailed plans or for what he will do as president. While he promises to “make America great again,” he offers little specifics about how to accomplish that.  America would take a huge, possibly dangerous risk by electing him.

Clinton is the safe choice. She has been in the public eye for more than a quarter of a century, first as first lady then as U.S. Senator from New York and as secretary of state. She is a known quantity who has been running for president for 16 years.

She has shown willingness to compromise. When she was elected to the Senate, the GOP instructed its senators to do nothing to help her. However, Clinton won bipartisan respect as an advocate for issues that were important to her and all parts of New York, from Manhattan to farm country. Her dedication impressed even Republicans such as Sen. John McCain.

Trump has no such record. Indeed, it is no accident he has yet to receive the endorsement of a single major newspaper, even among those that never back Democrats. He dismisses this as a symptom of the bias of a liberal press, yet no knowledgeable person has ever called the Arizona Republic, Cincinnati Enquirer or San Diego Union-Tribune liberal. These newspapers recognize that Trump is not qualified to be president. We agree with them.

Friday's release of a 2005 record of Donald Trump making lewd remarks about pushing himself on women and kissing and groping them only further solidifies that there really is no argument at all when it comes to who would be the only choice for president.

Some would suggest Libertarian Gary Johnson, a former Republican governor of New Mexico, as an alternative. While he offers intriguing ideas, he has zero chance of being elected, and Republicans who vote for him are likely helping Trump by diverting votes from Clinton.

There is no question that Clinton has weaknesses. She has made serious missteps including her use as of a private email server as secretary of state and her initial response to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. She should have built a firewall between the Clinton Foundation and her office to avoid the perception that donors were buying access.

However, all of us who do anything make mistakes. The question is whether we learn from them. We think Clinton does and has.

The sharpest contrasts between these candidates, however, come in comparisons of what they’ve said about governing. For example:

On the economy: Clinton’s workable strategy includes reforming the tax code to close loopholes for the rich and big corporations, reducing the costs of health care and prescriptions, lowering college costs and student debt, improving roads and bridges, and strengthening oversight of banks. Trump promises to bring millions of new jobs but offers no details of how to do that. He debunks climate change and promises more tax breaks for the wealthy. He wants to repeal Obamacare but has no good substitute — a scenario that leaves one-third of Americans without health insurance, including many with pre-existing conditions now covered. He wants to slash taxes on business but shows no concern for how it will increase our deficit and debt — things the GOP used to care about.

On national security: Clinton is far better prepared to deal with terrorist and nuclear threats. She understands how to deal in an effective and aggressive way with the likes of Iran, Russia, North Korea and China. She knows how to be tough, having given explicit advice to begin the military mission that killed Osama Bin Laden. She has a history of working against racism and distrust between minority communities and police. Do we really want Trump, with his thin skin and impulsive temperament, negotiating on our behalf? He boldly promises to destroy ISIS with military power and illegal torture. He mentions abandoning NATO and terminating longstanding defense agreements with Japan and South Korea.

On immigration: Clinton has a realistic plan for reform. She supports a way for millions of undocumented immigrants who are contributing to the nation’s economy and paying taxes to become citizens. Trump’s absurd pledge would stretch a wall across the 2,000-mile border with Mexico and send the multi-trillion-dollar bill to the Mexican people. He calls for massive deportations without regard for families or the U.S. economy.

We don’t agree with all of Clinton’s positions. For example, raising the minimum wage is, by nature, inflationary and eliminates low-wage jobs. But at least we know where she stands. Not so with Trump, whose positions change overnight.

As she demonstrated in the first debate, Clinton retains her composure under pressure. She’s tough and doesn’t back down. Her opponent interrupted her throughout and came off as a rude loudmouth who can’t handle criticism. He demonstrates time and again that, if elected, he would represent a danger to the republic and the values for which it stands.

Some outstanding Republicans sought the Republican presidential nomination. Regrettably, GOP voters chose Trump. That leaves us with one choice.

The presidency is not an entry-level position. It demands a steady hand, cool head, thick skin, mental toughness, diplomatic skill, bipartisan spirit, patience, and the ability to think rigorously before acting.  Hillary Clinton is that person. Her record and expertise in the colossal issues that confront our nation make her the best choice to be our president.

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