As the country once again focuses its attention on terrorism in the wake of the New York and New Jersey bombings, both presidential candidates pivoted toward national security on Monday.
Hillary Clinton, reacting as a commander-in-chief, said on Monday, “Let us be vigilant, but not afraid … we choose resolve, not fear. We will not turn on each other or undermine each other.”
Over the weekend, Clinton also said it’s important to “actually know the facts” before jumping to conclusions, especially in matters of national security.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, quickly capitalized on the bombing by blaming immigration policy and refugees – the one-size-fits-all cause of all of America’s problems, at least in the Donald’s mind. This, of course, came after Trump started to recklessly spew about the terror incident over the weekend with very little known information.
So, cutting past the campaign rhetoric, who do Americans trust to face these threats? Hillary Clinton.
In the latest national Fox News poll, the Democratic nominee leads Trump on two issues he spent a lot of time talking about on Monday: terrorism/national security and immigration. She also leads on the same question in the latest Quinnipiac University poll.
On the broader issue of handling foreign policy, the same Quinnipiac poll shows that Americans trust Clinton over Trump by a 57-39 margin. A majority of voters – 52 percent – also believe she is more likely to make the right choice about sending U.S. troops overseas. On Trump’s signature issue of immigration, 51 percent of voters think Clinton would do a better job compared to 46 percent for the GOP nominee.
A poll from CNN also gives Clinton the upper hand on which candidate is best equipped to handle the responsibility of being commander-in-chief, with 50 percent of respondents (compared to Trump’s 45 percent) choosing her. The same poll shows her leading Trump by a whopping 20 points on the question of temperament.
This should come as no surprise.
Throughout the campaign, Donald Trump has talked loosely about using nuclear weapons and being unpredictable; he has emboldened terrorist groups by spewing rhetoric that helps them recruit members; he has insulted our troops and claims to know more about ISIS than the generals; he claims to consult himself and watch “the shows” for foreign policy advice.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is steady, knowledgeable, competent, and has been in the room when tough national security decisions were being made. She has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of foreign affairs. These may not be sexy or flashy traits – they may not fit into a Trump-like campaign slogan, either – but they certainly make for a good commander-in-chief in a world that is increasingly uncertain.
At least that’s what the American people seem to think.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.