This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
It is time to get serious.
It has been amusing, to a degree, to watch the circus that was the Republican primary process struggle and fuss and finally produce such a disappointment to be its presidential nominee.
And there is no question that there are many Americans who feel lost and confused about a world that, in their eyes, has left them behind. Significant numbers of people have expressed a desire to blow up the system and start over. Or, more accurately, to pull American back to a day that was special only in that it placed white males alone at the top of the power pyramid.
But now the ballots have been printed and are arriving in Utah mailboxes. It is time to make a reasonable, considerate, realistic vote for president of the United States.
This election presents the two most unpopular candidates in recent history. One has developed a reputation for secrecy and dishonesty. The other built a campaign on insults and bigoted statements, finally losing any right to be taken seriously with the recent release of a video in which he was heard to brag about his ability to get away with sexually assaulting women.
There is certainly not a perfect choice but, at this point, the only candidate who comes close to being qualified and fit for the post is Hillary Clinton.
She has shown that she is tough, yet able and willing to reach out to politicians to her left and her right in order to get things done.
Her secret plan to reform health care in America during her husband's administration fell incompetently apart. But she learned from that experience and, as a senator, worked across party lines to extend health insurance to millions of children.
Clinton's devotion to making the world a better place for the less fortunate, especially children, has been the core of her whole career. She sees the threats of terror abroad, gun violence at home and climate change globally and has plans to address all of that, and more.
She recognizes the unfairness of those who lack access to health care and those at the short end of extreme economic inequality. She would make tax policy more equitable and work to help the poor climb out of their misery.
She has stood up for religious freedom around the world, even in dealing with regimes such as China, where it was a risky position to take.
The fact that she would be the first woman to hold that post is a bonus. It would be a signal to young women in this nation, and around the world, that the toughest glass ceiling there is has finally been shattered.
Yes, there are flaws and concerns, as there would be with anyone who has danced in the minefield of public life for 40 years. Clinton can be disturbingly secretive and has made a few big errors, the most significant being her use of a private email server during her tenure at the State Department. But the FBI says it has cleared her of any criminal wrongdoing and she has repeatedly admitted that she was wrong to leave all that sensitive information in such a vulnerable spot.
If she is elected, Clinton would be well advised to be much more transparent and to wall herself and her administration off from the influence of lobbyists.
Trump's outsider candidacy did at least start out with some good intentions. He was more willing to challenge the GOP's religious right, and he took a more critical view of the last Republican presidency than other candidates. He also avoided special-interest money, making it easier for him to take on issues like campaign finance and too big to fail without being beholden.
But, as it played out, his entire campaign was based on divisive, bigoted and insulting rhetoric. On lies about how bad things are. On a promise to fix things by basically being a dictator. It was all designed to inflame a vocal minority of us who haven't adjusted to the fact that the America where white males brought home the bacon from secure factory jobs and didn't have to deal with a globe of different ethnic backgrounds is gone for good.
Building a new future for those angry people, and for the rest of us, will be a tall order. But the refreshing fact that even many leading Republicans are scurrying to get themselves, and their party, away from the stain of Trump offers some hope that a President Clinton and the leaders of Congress, even if it remains in Republican hands, can get past eight years of gridlock and work together to make the hard choices that lie ahead.
Utah Republicans were perceptive enough to reject Trump in their March presidential caucus voting. Were they to support Clinton now, even by the narrowest of pluralities, it would send a strong message to the Republican Party to turn their backs on Trumpism and to work with Clinton where they can, rather than devote themselves to blocking her every move.
Clinton has been around a long time and acquired considerable baggage. Trump is astoundingly unfit. Thus are many good people casting around for some other choice. Many will be tempted to vote for a third party or an independent candidate, if only as a protest. Considering all options is always a good idea.
But the fact is that the next president of the United States will be one of two people, one eminently qualified and painfully forged, the other a total disgrace. Serious voters will focus on that.
And the best choice, without a doubt, is Hillary Clinton.