Hillary Rodham Clinton: The Lesser of Two Evils?

Hal Conte, Centurion Staff

Democratic Party Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is facing mixed opinions from the public, including Bucks students, some of whom approve of her domestic and foreign policy, and others who doubt her honesty and suitability for the position.
Born in Chicago in 1947, Clinton has a long history of public service – and public scrutiny. She rocketed to prominence as First Lady of the United States alongside her husband President Bill Clinton, former Governor of Arkansas.
During her time as First Lady, she actively championed health care reform, acted as a diplomat for her husband, and took a more active role than her predecessor, Barbra Bush. In 2000, she was elected as a Senator for New York.
During her time in office, Clinton voted for the PATRIOT Act, the Iraq War, and the bailout of the U.S. financial system, while voting against then-President Bush’s tax cuts and 2007 troop increases in Iraq.
In 2008, Clinton went in favorited to win the Democratic nomination for the presidency, but lost to then-Senator Barack Obama. Obama appointed Clinton as Secretary of State when he assumed the presidency in 2009. She served in this capacity until 2013.
As Secretary of State, Clinton backed the United States-sponsored overthrow of Libyan revolutionary Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, attempted to “reset” American relationships with Russia, and visited more countries than any previous Secretary.
Some students see Clinton’s record as an asset. “She has much more experience, and that can be seen in her composure,” says Patrick Galante, a freshman from Chalfont.
However, in an election fraught with denunciations of political elites, Clinton’s experience can be seen as a drawback. “There’s something about this election that’s different,” says John Petito, a Bucks political science professor. “Trump has captured something. Clinton represents the system.”
“There are certain politicians that just inspire hatred among some members of the public. The Clintons have been persecuted ever since the Whitewater scandal, and as a result, Hillary doesn’t really trust the people, or the press.” This, he said, could make her appear off-putting to the public.
Clinton has many supporters on the College’s Newtown Campus. “I’d choose Hillary based on delivery,” Galante said. “Trump brings up unrelated issues when asked about national cybersecurity, and I find that concerning.”
Meanwhile, other students are less keen on the former First Lady. “I don’t want either of them. She is basically the same as Donald Trump,” says Kristofer Elmarsson, a freshman student from Doylestown.
Some critics take a harsher line. “She should be in jail, unfortunately she isn’t going to jail. She’s physically not able to do it,” claims Paul Denino, a Warminster sophomore.
Clinton has been facing an uphill battle matching the levels of support among young people that characterized Vermont Senator Bernie Sander’s primary campaign. She has recently begun to use Sanders as well as liberal Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) to try to shore up her appeal among millennials.
Petito believes that a lack of focus on the issues is to blame. “She’s not done a good job telling the public what she stands for. I think Hillary represents the issues clearly for the people. I don’t think the public recognizes that.”
Nonetheless, Clinton is well ahead of Trump among younger voters and is overwhelmingly believed to have won the Sept. 26 presidential debate. She has since attacked Trump on his treatment of Alicia Machado, a former Miss Universe model. During the debate, “Clinton focused more on substance than Trump, but she did best when attacking him,” according Daniel Orwat, a freshman from New Hope.
Hillary Clinton on the issues:
The Economy
Clinton supports extensive spending on infrastructure, including $275 billion for roads, bridges, airports, broadband, and dams. She plans to set up a National Infrastructure Bank that will utilize both public and private funding, as well as impose a tax on high-frequency trading on the stock market.
Clinton supports a personal income tax rate of 44 percent for the richest Americans, and an increase in the estate tax to 65 percent for the largest estates. She has also eyed corporate income tax reform as well as tax credits for small businesses. In addition, Clinton has pledged to introduce a child care tax credit.
Clinton has rejected the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a controversial trade deal being negotiated by the Obama administration with 12 other countries, in its current form. During her career as First Lady and Secretary of State, Clinton gave her support to various trade deals, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), while rejecting others.
Clinton has called for an “intelligence surge,” and cooperation with Silicon Valley companies to tackle terrorism online. She says that her top priority for eliminating Islamic State is assassinating their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Clinton has alleged that Russia is behind recent cyberattacks on American companies and organizations, including the Democratic National Committee.
Foreign Policy
Clinton supports the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the establishment of a no-fly zone in Syria, as well as supporting the Iran nuclear deal. She has claimed that Donald Trump is a supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who she criticizes as a dictator.
Hillary Clinton has vouched for tuition-free community college, as well as tuition-free enrollment in public, in-state colleges and universities for families of four making up to $85,000. This plan will cost $500 billion.
Registered voters from Bucks County will be able to help select the next president on Tuesday, Nov. 8. The votes of Bucks students are particularly influential, since Bucks is a swing county in a swing state.