Verbum Ultimum: Hillary Clinton for President

by The Dartmouth Editorial Board | 10/21/16 12:31am

Every four years, presidential candidates and their supporters stress the importance of the current election. Hyperbolic statements about the apocalyptic future that would be in store for us if the other person wins color every cycle. However, we can say, without a great deal of reservation, that this election is at least one of the most important in the last quarter century — or even in the last 80 years, according to some experts. Before us stand two candidates that seem to be diametrically opposed, if not on every single issue then at least in experience, values and demeanor. It is traditional for The Dartmouth to endorse a candidate for president. During this election in particular, we feel a responsibility to make the case to all of our readers, whatever their political affiliations, that there is only one choice to be made if our country’s prosperity, future and values are to be secured. That is why, after much deliberation, we the editorial staff have chosen to endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States.

While it is important to note that Clinton’s opponent has made remarks and committed actions that are racist, sexist, misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic and Islamaphobic and has repeatedly proven himself unfit to hold an office as serious as that of the president, this election should not be about choosing between “the lesser of two evils,” as the media has often framed it. It should be about choosing the most experienced, qualified and competent presidential candidate — and no matter how you look at it, that candidate is Clinton.

Clinton’s résumé of public service is staggering. Since her days as a law student at Yale University, where she worked on the Senate subcommittee on Migratory Labor, to her time as First Lady of Arkansas and later the U.S., to her service as a U.S. Senator and then Secretary of State, Clinton has spent decade upon decade serving the American people. Not only has she done so by holding office; she has also used that time in office to champion important causes, ranging from education to women’s rights. Upon graduating law school, for instance, she went to work at the Children’s Defense Fund. As the First Lady of Arkansas, she established and chaired organizations for the protection of children and families. As First Lady of the U.S., she took on an unprecedented role in shaping policy, and Bill Clinton often described them as a “twofer” — two presidents for the price of one. As Secretary of State, she continued to fight for causes she believed in, consistently raising the issue of the rights and treatment of women and children around the world.

Clinton’s detractors have often criticized her for being a “career politician.” Dedicating one’s life to serving one’s country, however, shouldn’t be a reason to tear them down — it should be a reason to celebrate them. If this reflects an intense ambition to be president, then what is so wrong with that? It seems that someone who has had her eye on the presidency for several years is more likely to be invested in her performance than someone who turned a mere publicity stunt into a campaign for one of the most powerful positions in the world.

The criticism that Clinton is dishonest or “crooked” is likewise unfounded and unfair. During this election, this sentiment has often been supported by catchphrases about Benghazi and her email scandal. The opposition has even gone so far as to outright call her a criminal, and “Lock her up!” has become one of their more popular catchphrases. One thing should be made perfectly clear: independent government agencies investigated both of these instances. In both cases, they reached the conclusion that Clinton’s actions did not warrant charges against her. Whether or not one chooses to doubt the integrity of this system, as Clinton’s opponent has done vocally, is up to them. Admittedly, Clinton did not handle these situations as well as she should have, and she herself has admitted to as much. However, in decades of public service, even the most effective leader is bound to make mistakes, and Clinton certainly wouldn’t be the first presidential candidate to have done so. This doesn’t mean that we as voters should discount a long and impressive record of exemplary service.

In the last several months, this election has often felt more like a reality TV show than anything else. Amidst the drama, tweets and name-calling, it may be easy to forget what this contest is truly about: choosing the most effective person to lead our country for the next four years. Clinton has proven, through her storied career of service to the public, that she is the most qualified person to hold that office.

The editorial board consists of the editorial chair, the opinion editors and the opinion staff.