Endorsement: The Daily Athenaeum endorses Clinton for president

An editorial from The Daily Athenaeum 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — On Tuesday, the next president will be elected in an explicitly tumultuous time for America, as our ideologies are more polarizing than ever before.

For this election, it is crucial to elect a candidate who is willing to look forward toward solutions and embrace our strengths, rather than one who thrives on pointing out our flaws and inciting fear in the public as a solution.

That is why The DA is standing with her.

There is no way to make the coal industry great again

In a victory speech following the Indiana primary, Trump promised constituents that “miners in WV, PA… and Ohio and all over, they’re going to start to work again. Believe me. You’re going to be proud again to be miners.”

This is a heavy claim, and a very hard (impossible, even) promise to keep, as studies have shown natural gas is a more economically viable option and better for the environment, and the fact stands that just reopening coal mines is not a simple task.

Trump, like with many of his other promises, offered no solid or enforceable plan to put miners back into the mines. He has criticized environmental regulations from the Obama administration that stunted the coal industry and called for repeals, but has stayed silent on the bigger factor—natural gas.

West Virginia has been warned time and time again it needs to start exploring different options to create jobs, diversify its economy and grow its working force. While coal was the backbone of the Mountain State for years, that is no longer the reality, and we cannot better our state if we do not try and move forward instead of reveling in the nostalgia of coal’s past.

And a bigger fact stands, there is not much coal left to be mined, especially compared to other coal-heavy states, like Wyoming, which has nearly three times as much in coal reserves available than West Virginia.

We cannot turn back to coal, and while many West Virginians criticized Clinton’s remarks in Charleston in May (“…we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business, right?”), they ignored the latter part of the statement that stressed the importance of helping and supporting those left behind by the shrinking coal industry (“We’re going to make it clear that we don’t want to forget those people (that) labored in those mines for generations, losing their health, often losing their lives to turn on our lights and power our factories.”)

Unlike Trump’s empty, idealistic and very broad claim, Hillary’s was rooted in the realities of the current system and supported by a detailed plan of action to revitalize coal communities, rehabilitate coal miners and transition them back into the work force while ensuring they and their families are medically and financially supported.

And while the president’s power is limited in reinvigorating the coal industry, Clinton addressed the necessity for the creation of a bridge between the coal industry, to natural gas, to clean energy.

West Virginia will only benefit from a president who is realistic about the challenges facing the state, and acknowledges the steps that need to be taken—long term—to make things better here, and Hillary Clinton is the only viable person for the job.

Another problem laying in the coal fight is environmentalism and climate change.

According to Donald Trump, climate change and global warming in “an expensive hoax.” In other tweets, he’s claimed it was “invented by the Chinese” to kill market competition (among many other things).

This is dangerous, as tackling climate change issues needed to be tackled 10 years ago, not just now.

It’s 2016 and dozens and dozens of experts have weighed in on climate change—it’s undeniably very, very real.

We need a candidate capable of interpreting and acting on modern science, and we owe it to our children and our children’s children to elect someone realistic about our planet and who is willing to implement strategies—both economically and environmentally—that will ensure they have clean air to breath and water to drink during their lifetime.

We need a forward-thinking (and equality-driven) judiciary

The appointment of Supreme Court justices is often the most long-lived legacy of any president. Who they appoint will serve a life-long term, and the attitude for appointments almost always fall in line with the president’s beliefs.

The 2016 president-elect could be responsible for appointing up to four supreme court justices, creating a majority that could color national tone and politics for up to 30 years.

So, this is major, as supreme court decisions shape our legal views on everything from women’s rights to elections for generations.

If we, as a nation, want to advance and better ourselves, it is important to elect a president who has an eye for the future, and not for the past.

So far, Clinton has made promises to look at an amendment to overturn the Citizens United v. FEC decision, which created super PACS that now dominate the American political scene and take power from the voice of the public.

Trump, so far, has offered to look at overturning such landmark cases like Roe v. Wade (the 1973 abortion rights decision that protects a woman’s right to end a pregnancy) and Obergefell v. Hodges (the 2015 marriage equality court decision that gave every American, no matter sexual orientation, the right to marry), two cases that are fundamental in the current civil rights movement.

And what else is to follow?

While Trump has released a list of potential SCOTUS appointees to fill late-Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat and Clinton has not, her decision to play on stances is critical in the United States current social climate.

The fact is, stances outlive individuals, and while Trump’s list isn’t nearly as damning as many assumed it was going to be, there is nothing in place to hold him to that list.

By advocating positions (and ones that fall very cleanly into her daily rhetoric), Clinton is able to paint a picture for us of what a majority under her appointment would look like.

Clinton’s positions are ones that are necessary to advancing America and the smaller communities within while empowering the public.

Trump, however, would subject citizens to the social norms of the 60’s and advocate for decisions that could undermine the social rights accomplishments of the last few decades, something we as a nation that should always be looking forward, cannot accept.

And, fundamentally, it comes down to the beliefs these candidates hold for civil rights.

Clinton has proved time and time again throughout her campaign, sometimes to the point that it feels forced, that she will stand for the underrepresented minorities within the U.S. She has proven herself to stand for women and protect their interests and believes that any citizen—no matter race, gender, religion or background—should have the power to make America their own through equal opportunities.

Trump has advocated for fear mongering that has bred a dangerous culture for our Muslim and middle-eastern citizens, he has admitted to sexually assaulting women because of his status, until three days ago (when Jane Doe dropped her lawsuit because of fear due to threats she was receiving) Trump was going to stand trial in December for the rape of a then-teenager.

He cultivates a culture where “locker room” talk is okay, no matter the consequences it can hold for the young women who have to face the young men participating.

In our current state, where one in five college females experience sexual assault, this rhetoric is tangibly dangerous. If we support a man who excuses these instances as jokes, we are actively undermining the women who have come forth with their experiences.

If we elect a president who holds these beliefs, and allow him to appoint supreme court justices who will more likely than not hold similar stances, we are opening up our generation and the ones that follow to an inherently dangerous culture.

We cannot afford Trump’s lack of college affordability 

After Bernie Sander’s call for free public college, the other two candidates took almost radio silence on the subject.

Hillary has focused primarily on a college affordability plan that includes an income-based assessment for free tuition at four-year public colleges, free tuition at community colleges, lower interest rates on federal student loans and debt relief for borrowers.

As students, this is crucial to us as we graduate and look our mounting student debt in the face.

Trump has focused primarily on K-12 education, including the elimination of common-core education which would localize and therefore improve secondary education. But he has also introduced gutting the Department of Education, which would be detrimental to absolutely any education-based institution.

It would also severely affect our citizens, as less resources for education means a less educated populace—something no democracy anywhere could ever benefit from.

For higher ed, Trump would take opposite stances than Hillary and urge institutions to use their endowments to cut student tuition. While it sounds good, this would mean cuts in research and university infrastructure that could prove to be detrimental to student experiences.

Trump’s ideas for student loans also call for colleges and universities to have a say in who is awarded loans based on the predicted income for student’s future jobs. As an example, Sam Clovis, co-chair for the Trump campaign, said school should be cautious before allowing liberal arts majors at non-elite institutions to borrow as much, because of their future income.

This is dangerous for young adults not focused on STEM trades, and could hold scary implications for the cultural and artistic side of America, which is proving to be integral as tech companies take on these traits in their products, and therefore their markets.

As young adults about to enter the work force, a plan that at least introduces and provides answers of some sort to the financial burdens we have weighing us down is better than nothing—which is basically what Trump has given us in comparison to Clinton.

We need to know where we stand as a generation, and as a nation we cannot embrace a candidate who does not see the importance in education funding and student investment—no matter the field—as we try to improve ourselves.

Better technology, infrastructure, governance and power comes from good, accessible education, and Hillary Clinton is how we are going to get there.

See more from The Daily Athenaeum. 

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