*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
In a normal American election when a newspaper’s editorial board endorses a candidate they typically cite whatever flaws they deem valid targets and then spend the remaining space touting the candidate’s policy positions, achievements and qualifications for office. However, as one or two Americans have likely concluded by now, this is no more of a “normal” presidential election than Donald Trump is a normal American.
Because this is not a typical presidential election, when the Miami Herald endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, they included a very prescient reason for supporting the former Secretary of State; a reason that this author never imagined hearing from a newspaper’s editorial board. And no, it was not the Herald’s brutally harsh condemnation of Clinton’s opponent Donald Trump; although this Clinton endorsement certainly invested a fair number of words assailing the television celebrity as the epitome of incompetence, greed, hate, fascism and a clear threat to America, its Constitution, and “democracy itself.”
Typically, the Miami Herald’s endorsement hit all the regular talking points one expects in a presidential endorsement, and like the New York Times and Washington Post pieces, this one from the Miami Herald is well worth a three-minute read. It delineated Clinton’s service and achievements as First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State and private citizen as well as point out what it regarded as her flaws.
Like every other newspaper’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton, the Herald’s Ed-board began thus:
“Let’s make clear what the 2016 presidential election isn’t about:
It is not about choosing between a bad candidate and a worse one. The narrative that Hillary Clinton is the lesser of two evils is patently wrong. Ms. Clinton is a pragmatic, tough-minded woman of accomplishment and political conviction with a demonstrated mastery of policy.
Clinton has used her insider status to work aggressively on behalf of the disenfranchised, here and around the world. She has not won every battle, but she fights the good fight, and she fights the right ones in the name of equality and democracy.”
The editorial board’s endorsement of Ms. Clinton may have been the first to note what it believes is one of the most important things for Americans to understand; what this election is really about:
“Our values, our national identity and even the enduring power of the Constitution are in question — and at stake. And Hillary Clinton is by far the best person in this race to lead us to a definition of which we can be proud. She will protect the best interests of this nation, its standing on the world stage and even democracy itself.”
Now, it is beyond belief that an editorial board’s endorsement would ever claim that the Constitution and “even democracy itself” are in jeopardy unless they saw it as a clear and present danger. Many pundits and political commenters, including this author, have noted often that America’s greatest threat is not from outside forces or radical regimes, it is from uber-conservatives and libertarians who would abolish most of the Constitution if they had a chance. Donald Trump has actually intimated he will do exactly that if he is elected. It is a horrifying possibility that wasn’t lost on the Herald’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton.
The editors noted that Donald Trump does represent a threat to constitutional freedoms and that “In normal times, the Constitution is not at stake in a presidential election, but this year is a frightening aberration.” It was odd for an endorsement, but the Herald cited:
“Mr. Trump…has barred some reporters from his campaign because he dislikes what they’ve written, has threatened to change libel laws to punish [his] critics. He vowed to put his opponent, Ms. Clinton, in prison. Only a candidate who’s a dictator at heart could see such a threat as a campaign talking point.
Religious freedoms are also under siege. He has repeatedly targeted Muslims; last month, he joked about excluding people who aren’t ‘conservative Christians’ from one of his rallies. But to anyone who reveres what this country truly stands for, it was no joke.”
The editorial board concluded saying something that should put to rest this idea that Clinton is hiding something from the media and the people and thus corrupt. It is an idea, frankly, that is getting old and informs an individual of extremely low-information and void of any independent thinking abilities whatsoever.
“Ms. Clinton is often accused of being secretive, which is true up to a point. Yet most of her adult life has been lived in the glare of the public spotlight. She has the scars and headlines to prove it. She may be the most scrutinized individual in public life. Her flaws have been chewed over for years. And yet she’s still standing, an accomplishment in itself.”
The reason Hillary Clinton is still standing is because despite hyper-scrutiny over the past quarter century, even her harshest critics found nothing untoward and certainly nothing “corrupt.” In the sense, the editorial board wrote:
“The priority of every voter who cares about standards of honesty and decency, not to mention the future and direction of this country, is to reject what Donald Trump represents. America does not need an arrogant, self-absorbed charlatan in the Oval Office. It needs a steady hand in perilous times, a voice of compassion in pursuing policies that help, not hurt, the disenfranchised; a leader capable of narrowing, if not healing, this nation’s divisions.”
One would reiterate that besides helping Americans by pursuing policies that work for all the people, Hillary Clinton will preserve “our values, our national identity, the enduring power of the Constitution and democracy itself.” It is something that should never have to be mentioned in an endorsement during an American presidential election, and it is too bad because it is a distraction from the real reason the Herald endorsed Ms. Clinton; she is the most qualified person in the nation to be president.