Pulse of the Peninsula: What’s at stake in the 2016 election

Pulse of the Peninsula: What’s at stake in the 2016 election

Most elections involve some hysteria, assertions that they are “transformative,” “historic,” and “the election of our lifetime.”
This election between Hillary Clinton, the most qualified candidate ever to seek the most powerful office on the planet and the first woman to ascend to the Presidency, and Donald Trump, the most unfit, is such an election.
“We’ve never had such a stark contrast — of character, of vision. The stakes in this election could not be more clear,” First Lady Michelle Obama declared.
But even if Donald Trump weren’t the most temperamentally unfit, inexperienced and wrong-headed candidate to ever seek the presidency, I would still whole-heartedly endorse Hillary Clinton, beginning with her biography, her career, her values, and finally, her policies and agenda.
I could go down the list of the extraordinarily detailed policy plans she has presented — to address income inequality, immigration reform, criminal justice reform, climate action, education, college affordability, health care, drug prices, infrastructure development, research and development, women’s reproductive rights, gun violence prevention, voting rights,  workers rights, parental leave (I could go on and on and on).
I am cheered that somebody really “gets it” — prioritizing issues that have never been at the forefront before precisely because she is a woman, the first to have crashed through the barriers to be a major party’s nominee for President and (hopefully) the first woman to hold the office in our history. She brings that sensibility, that understanding, that lifetime of triumphing over adversity as a true trailblazer for women’s equality, going back to her earliest years after Yale Law School, fighting against discrimination (go to her website, hillaryclinton.com).
I am excited about a pragmatic progressive as President.
Donald Trump has touted mainly his credentials as an “outsider,” proud of his inexperience (ignorance), and his “success” (failure) as a businessman who promises to bring Change to Washington and “drain the swamp.”
Every inexperienced candidate makes the same promise.
But Trump is hardly a change candidate: his policies would only reverse course and send this country back to the age of Robber Barons.  
What he promises to do (Day 1!): repeal Obamacare, rescind the Clean Power Plan, withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, shut down the EPA, overturn financial regulations, eliminate corporate taxes, round up millions of undocumented immigrants. Build a wall.
That’s just for starters. Trump’s economic platform — “trumped up Trickle Down” — would destroy millions of jobs, increase inequity, raise the national debt and plunge the U.S. into another recession. His outrageous, erratic statements about military and foreign policy are truly horrifying.
He has stoked a kind of populism that is virulent, divisive, full of hatred and bigotry — because it has served his political purpose.
He has shown contempt for the Bill of Rights protections of religious freedom, press freedom, freedom of speech and ignorance of the Constitution.
Finally, consider that if Donald Trump wins the election, it means that the Senate and House will also remain in Republican hands (the reason for gridlock and dysfunction), the Supreme Court will shift wildly further toward right wing extremism for decades. And just imagine who Trump, a narcissist with autocratic tendencies, who surrounds himself with bullies, misogynists, racists and corporatists, and has run a campaign designed to enrich his own business, would appoint to key offices.
“We can’t have a racist climate denier who lies about his personal fortune lead our country,” said Raúl Grijalva. “Our country needs a president who understands that issues like climate change, systemic racism and immigration reform are serious and demand a competent federal response.
“Donald Trump has nothing to offer but anger and grievance and blame. And so he — his closing argument asks, what do you have to lose? Well, I’m here to tell you: everything,” President Obama said. “Progress is on the ballot. Civility is on the ballot. Tolerance is on the ballot. Justice is on the ballot. Equality is on the ballot. Our democracy is on the ballot.”
What’s at stake? The Supreme Court. Climate Action. Immigration Reform. Civil Rights. Criminal Justice Reform. Tax Reform. Economic Justice. Environmental Justice. Women’s Reproductive Rights. Women’s Rights. Voting Rights. Gun Violence Prevention.
“This is truly an unprecedented election,” First Lady Michelle Obama declared in Winston-Salem. “Hillary’s vision for this country, a vision of a nation that is powerful and vibrant and strong, big enough to have a place for all of us, a nation where we each have something very special to contribute, and where we are always stronger together.”
And on January 20, 2017 I hope she will take the oath of office as Hillary Rodham Clinton and forever be known as President Rodham-Clinton. She never gave up her individuality and her personhood because she was married, and her legacy — as the first woman president — should be in her own name, as well.

By Karen Rubin

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