In recent elections, The Wooster Voice has abstained from formally endorsing a candidate in a national race. As a publication responsible for informing and mediating public discourse among the community of a liberal arts college, it is typically advisable for us to avoid engaging in partisan rhetoric by officially supporting a candidate for political office.
However, the unique and particularly grave circumstances of the current election have challenged this norm and ultimately compelled us, the senior editors of The Voice, to endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States.
Hillary Clinton is far from a perfect candidate. The primary against Bernie Sanders once again raised questions about her tendency to assume socially progressive stances only when it is politically expedient to do so.
For many liberal millennials who have grown up under the Obama presidency, Clinton’s nomination is a quandary. Whereas Obama represented hope and change under a radical figurehead, Clinton belongs to a political elite of which Americans are increasingly disdainful — an oligarchical status quo that Obama’s campaign ran against.
However legitimate these critiques of her candidacy, Hillary Clinton is amongst the most qualified candidates to ever seek the highest office in our government.
Prior to her career in national politics, Clinton was the first female partner at Arkansas’ largest law firm and worked in and led nonprofit organizations such as the Children’s Defense Fund.
In 2000, at the end of her tenure as First Lady of the United States, Clinton was elected to Congress as a senator from New York. After finishing second in her race against Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primaries, Clinton was appointed by President Obama as Secretary of State, a position in which she oversaw the operations that led to the death of Osama bin Laden and negotiated the New S.T.A.R.T. nuclear arms agreement with Russia.
Clinton’s resume boasts her experience in law, business, nonprofits and government — a typical candidate has experience in just one or two of these fields.
Clinton’s exceedingly comprehensive qualifications for this office have somehow been utterly absent from the rhetoric of this election cycle. In what we can only understand as a caricature of sexism in American politics, Clinton’s detractors — not only her opponent, but otherwise reasonable, respectable public servants — have furthered the sexist narrative that has marked Clinton throughout her career.
For example, Clinton has been held responsible for the policies and affairs of her husband. Even when running her own campaign, her detractors still seek to define her only in relation to her husband, refusing to judge her by her own merit.
In regards to Clinton’s opponent, it is our view that the Republican candidate, beyond his xenophobic, Islamophobic, racist, sexist, ableist, transphobic and homophobic words and actions, is wholly unprepared to serve as President of the United States, no matter what handicap the Republican establishment is prepared to grant him.
We are confident that his inability to lead this country is self-evident to anyone who subscribes to the values and standards of the College’s community.
Regarding the suggestion of voting for a third-party candidate as a protest against the two-party system, it is our opinion that a vote for candidates such as Gary Johnson or Jill Stein is not an effective form of protest whatsoever.
Voting for a candidate who has no chance of winning is not a brave decision, and it will not in any way rock the two-party status quo — no election is remembered for the exceptional performance of third party candidates.
The deeply ingrained two-party nature of the American political system will not be changed by a single election, and the process of dismantling it does not begin during an election season. It begins the day after the election, and continues every day until the next election season.
It will not be as glorious or sentimental as a protest vote proudly cast in defiance of the establishment.
It will take place in our day-to-day political discourse — in the way that we consume political news and contribute to political discussion.
It is keeping up with the work of Jill Stein or Gary Johnson between now and the next election.
It is championing third party candidates in local, regional, and ultimately state elections.
It is in deliberately, tirelessly making third parties normal, so that eventually, a vote for a third party candidate for president is not a protest but a legitimate act of support for a viable candidate.
Furthermore, demonstrably ill-informed, ill-read and ill-prepared candidates such as Stein and Johnson are not the candidates third parties should nominate if they seek to establish legitimacy.
Given Clinton’s fitness for office, the utter travesty that is her Republican opponent and the folly of protest votes for third parties in a general election, there is only one candidate prepared to take office in 2017.
Americans should reject the worst impulses of our society and elect Hillary Rodham Clinton as the 45th President of the United States in order to ensure a more equitable and prosperous future.
This viewpoint represents the view of our senior editors, Jared Berg, Mariah Joyce and Tristan Lopus, who can be reached, respectively, at JBerg17@wooster.edu, MJoyce17@wooster.edu and TLopus18@wooster.edu