Finally, it’s nearly over. After months of campaigning, personal attacks and scandals, the vote is here. Yet for many people there remains the big question: is this seriously the best you can do, America?
In many ways, this disbelief is well founded. But my aim here isn’t to point out the ineptitude of Donald Trump. Honestly, the internet does that fine on its own. I’m backing Hillary Clinton, but not as the lesser of two evils. She isn’t simply a more palatable option to the zig-zagging personality politics of her opponent. Hillary Clinton must be the next President because she has the necessary political experience to take America forwards.
In Michelle Obama’s words, ‘We have never had a more qualified candidate for president’. But the ambiguity of this term might be enough to aggravate voters worn down by months of bitter political fighting. At face value, this is nothing more than meaningless political rhetoric. By his own reckoning, Trump is probably very ‘qualified’. But when you examine Clinton’s stances on the biggest issues facing America today, this word doesn’t seem to do justice.
The right to bear arms, for many people so inextricably bound to American values, remains an inflammatory topic. And unfortunately the reporting every week of a gun-related death in America has made us blasé about the issue rather than focusing on solving it.
Despite scorn from the Republican corner, Clinton promises to implement ‘common sense gun laws’ which would introduce bans on domestic abusers, people on terror watch lists and the severely mentally ill from purchasing or possessing guns. This certainly seems ‘common sense’ to us. But President Obama has described his failure to overcome resistance to tighter gun control as the main disappointment of his presidency. For all his merits, disappointment can’t be good enough anymore.
Accused by her detractors of being too close to Wall Street, Clinton is the candidate for equality. A prolific supporter of the Equality Act, Clinton promises to clamp down on discrimination against LGBT people. Despite his ham-fisted “Ask the Gays” comment, Trump meanwhile hasn’t been that forthcoming in expressing support for LGBT rights, even suggesting his Supreme Court reshuffle could see same-sex marriage banned in some states.
Regarding their stances on women’s rights, to say Clinton’s is more favourable is an understatement. Political agendas aside, Clinton has long been a Pro-Choice supporter, voting in 2003 against a ban on terminations late in pregnancy. Abortion still causes intense debate, and Clinton’s actions were seized on at the time and by the Trump campaign.
But this is just it: for Clinton, equality counts for more than political brownie points. The fact I have to argue her case at all maybe shows how, even for Clinton, equality has been somewhat evasive.
The reality is, after every seemingly unrecoverable clanger, the polls are opening with Trump on fairly level grounding with Clinton. It sends a sad message to the younger generation if Clinton falls short of a candidate who, in all his attitudes, is a throwback to the past. The rest of the world looks to America for the future. If this presidential race has proved anything, it’s that this future needs to move towards equality, and that Hillary Rodham Clinton is the only one to lead us there.