American Federation of Teachers head makes case for Clinton
© Greg Nash

There's one day left until Election Day. The stakes in this presidential election could not be higher.

Sadly, what should have been a contest of ideas focused on solving America’s challenges has become a painful slog through the racist, bigoted, xenophobic, misogynistic screeds of Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open MORE. It’s been the most divisive, most toxic campaign of my lifetime. But it’s also, by far, the most consequential.

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There is legitimate anger and anxiety in this country, and it must be addressed. Too many families in too many communities have lost hope that the future will deliver on their dreams for a better life.

Trump has purposely stoked and exploited this tragic condition and unleashed the dark forces of hatred and division that have ripped at the social fabric of America.

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies DNC, RNC step up cyber protections Gun proposal picks up GOP support MORE has rejected this dangerous and demagogic diatribe and instead has addressed it by offering a serious and forward-looking agenda that appeals to our deepest hopes and aspirations.

While acknowledging the challenges we face, she strongly believes that regardless of race, class, religion or sexual orientation, we are stronger together when we work toward increasing hope and opportunity for all Americans who want a fuller and better life.

The next president must have the temperament, intelligence and know-how to keep our country and all of our people safe here and abroad; to grow the economy and lift wages; to provide a high-quality public education for every child, regardless of ZIP code, including debt-free college; and to work toward pay equity for women, affordable childcare and paid family and medical leave, a signature piece of the social contract.

The next president will face continuing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran; Russian cyber interference; and nuclear saber rattling by the North Koreans. On all of these issues, Donald Trump has shown a lack of experience, a lack of serious policy proposals and a pathological narcissism, making him utterly unqualified to be president. By any objective standard, Clinton passes the test without any hesitation.

We think of our presidents as role models, but the Trump we have seen over the last year is anything but that. Trump insults and demeans women by boasting he can sexually assault them because he’s famous, rating women on a 10-point scale and body shaming a beauty queen. He smears Mexicans as murderers and rapists.

He attacks the Khan Gold Star family simply because they are Muslim-Americans. He preys on thousands of vulnerable people to pay exorbitant tuition for his thoroughly discredited Trump University. He refuses to pay his contractors. He promises to grow the economy and produce jobs, yet he buys cheap, dumped steel for his buildings from China and makes his clothing line overseas.

Clinton has been a role model for women and girls her entire professional life, including as first lady, as U.S. senator, as secretary of state and as the first female presidential nominee of a major party.

When it comes to who would be the better president, look no further than the differences between the two candidates on the economy and public education.

Trump believes in trickle-down economics, in which corporations and billionaires get huge tax cuts. This policy failed during the Reagan years; it never led to the promised economic growth or job creation and was the foundation to the income inequality that has led to the legitimate economic anger we are witnessing now.

Clinton’s plan for economic and job growth calls for tax cuts for the middle class and small businesses, fair tax hikes on the very wealthy and a national infrastructure plan to improve the Internet and our roads, bridges and public transit.

On education, Trump promises to take $20 billion of federal money targeted for poor children and put it toward vouchers, charters and other privatization schemes. This would be a drone attack on equity in public education. And his bullying and xenophobia that schoolchildren have picked up on will have long-term consequences well after Nov. 8.

Clinton supports proven solutions, like universal pre-K, high academic standards, more community schools with wraparound services for the disadvantaged, expanding career and technical education programs in high school and community college, free community college and debt-free public colleges and universities.

On Tuesday, voters not only will have an opportunity to vote for a candidate for president but, by their very vote, will determine what kind of democracy will govern us for the next four years. Hillary Clinton believes our democracy works best when we trust one another, when we rely on one another, when we accept and celebrate our differences and diversity, and when we work toward the public good.

She will reject hate and embrace the hope and aspirations of all Americans, including those who didn’t vote for her. She will help bind the wounds of this campaign and the country.

America needs Hillary Clinton in the White House.

Weingarten is president of the American Federation of Teachers.


The views expressed by Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill