It’s a well-known fact that Hillary Clinton is not the most exciting political candidate. Sure, as a woman, her ascent to the top of American government — all while facing attacks and standards often not faced by her male counterparts — has been inspiring, but she still lacks the charisma of a Barack Obama and the understands-my-pain quality of a Bill Clinton.
On average, she is seen unfavorably by just over half of the American public. People just haven’t been blown away by the former Secretary of State, U.S. senator and First Lady.
But let me repeat what I’ve told about a million anti-Hillary soldiers throughout this campaign: National presidential elections are not favorability contests.
When voters head to their polling places this year, they will not be voting on whether they like Hillary Clinton. Instead, they will be choosing between two candidates, regardless of how unhappy they are with their choices. Many of the same people who say they aren’t gung-ho for Hillary will nonetheless be pulling the lever for her this fall.
The reason for that is clear: Donald Trump will be her opponent, and preventing an unfit candidate like him from having the nuclear codes is a bit more important to voters than likeability.
Americans also care about Trump’s policy proposals, which often fall on a scale between laughable and dangerous.
The former — or, arguably, current — reality TV star promises to deport over 11 million undocumented immigrants, a ridiculous and irrational policy proposal with no real purpose except to stir existing minority resentment to win over white, working-class voters.
He also wants to build a big, wasteful wall on the U.S.-Mexican border — an idea that many low-info Republican primary voters love, but more sensible general election voters think is silly. And, seriously, no one aside from the most delusional Trump supporters truly believes that Mexico will pay for it.
All of this makes former GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s self-deportation idea seem middle-of-the-road and rational — it wasn’t — and Romney was only able to capture 27 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2012. How much lower will that number go when Republicans nominate a guy whose campaign is predicated on the idea that we need to enlist deportation forces and construct a wall to keep Mexican “rapists” out of the country?
Trump’s extreme policy positions stretch far beyond the singular issue of immigration.
He believes climate change is a hoax — which 70 percent of Americans disagree with — and once tweeted that global warming is a Chinese conspiracy to steal U.S. manufacturing jobs. In the past, he has said that cold and snowy weather disproves climate change. The idea of this man shaping environmental policy should make any sensible American cringe.
On foreign affairs, Trump’s campaign rhetoric has been certifiably insane. As president, he wants to implement torture (war crime), target and kill the innocent relatives of terrorists (war crime) and impose a religious test on those hoping to enter the United States (unconstitutional). As if these aren’t terrifying enough, Trump talks casually about using nukes and has said that more countries should have access to nuclear weapons.
It’s no wonder that GOP military experts and national security leaders are roundly opposed to the idea of a Trump presidency.
Oh, and if you happen to be Muslim, The Donald has dedicated a nice portion of his campaign platform to denigrating you, whether it’s by calling for a national Muslims-only registry or suggesting that mosques be shut down.
The list of terrible and frightening ideas put forward by Donald Trump goes on and on, from punishing women who have abortions to stacking the Supreme Court with justices who will reverse decades of social progress.
These are the very real issues on which this election should be decided, despite Trump’s attempt to barrel his way to the White House using a series of simple slogans, dangerous policy plans and hate speech.
While we can debate her political style or personality traits until we’re blue in the face, Hillary Clinton will be the only major candidate on the November ballot who wants a higher minimum wage, tougher gun laws, and a comprehensive policy that tackles the real threat of climate change.
The former Secretary of State wants to improve the Affordable Care Act so it works better for more people, not repeal it and kick millions off their insurance plans.
Clinton certainly won’t appoint SCOTUS justices who will roll back voting rights and women’s rights and gay rights, and she happens to be in favor of sensible immigration reform that, once upon a time, was supported by leaders in both major political parties.
While we can all debate whether she is too hawkish on foreign policy, there is no question that she is infinitely better qualified to deal with international matters than any candidate currently seeking the presidency — especially the clueless Trump, whose candidacy alone has already made America less safe.
It doesn’t — shouldn’t — matter if Hillary Clinton isn’t the most warm-and-fuzzy politician to seek the presidency. Props to those who like to make fun of her many attempts to be cool and relatable, but I couldn’t care less. What she wears, how she speaks and the fact that her detractors have memorized a giant list of supposedly disqualifying non-scandals aren’t relevant to me, especially in this kind of election year.
If we pull back from the reality show version of politics that has fueled Donald Trump’s campaign and instead look at which candidate is most qualified and offers the most realistic, sensible domestic and foreign policy proposals, the choice couldn’t be clearer.
Maybe in a conventional general election environment, Hillary Clinton’s likability numbers would make her a weaker nominee. But this is no typical campaign, and there is just a tad bit more at stake than deciding which candidate we’d like to have a beer with.
In a race against Donald Trump, the case for Hillary Clinton is as strong as it ever has been.