After more than a year of incessant bickering and political brawling, thousands of Montclair State students will vote for the first time in a presidential election in less than two weeks. The decision facing students is easy: Hillary Clinton is qualified and wholly prepared to assume office, while Donald Trump is unfit to become president and represents a danger to our democracy.
The choice could not be more clear for college students. One candidate has laid out a detailed plan to combat the student debt crisis and lower the cost of college, and the other candidate created a for-profit college that exploited its students for his own personal gain. One candidate realizes the urgency and importance of making public higher education available to everyone, and the other candidate can’t be bothered to dedicate more than two bullet points on his website to explain how he’ll make college more affordable.
We know what to expect when Clinton gets into office. No, we don’t believe Clinton has the magic bullet to fix every problem with higher education, and we don’t believe Clinton will be able to get all of her proposals through Congress. What we do know, though, is that Clinton will be dogged in her pursuit to lessen the burden of student debt and ensure college is more available to all, regardless of socioeconomic status.
Even if reforming higher education becomes less of a priority in a potential Clinton administration, we know that Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders will constantly prod Clinton to solve the student debt crisis and be unrelenting in their push to make higher education better for future generations of students.
There’s no evidence Trump will do anything to fix the problems with higher education. We don’t know what to expect with a Trump administration. Trump has no record of public service, and he has been a greedy, predatory businessman in the private sector.
Trump’s lack of public service is not a badge of honor, and his pride for his own ignorance only makes the issue worse. This is a candidate who says “I know more about ISIS than the generals do.” This is a candidate who believes that he, and only he alone, can fix all of our country’s problems.
That is the mark of an authoritarian ruler and not a president. Trump displays no understanding of what it takes to be America’s president.
Montclair State’s mission statement pledges a commitment to creating an environment that promotes diversity and is characterized by “tolerance and openness in the exploration of ideas.” Clinton epitomized that statement when she dared to go to China in 1995 and proudly declare “women’s rights are human rights.” Clinton began her career by fighting for better public education at the Children’s Defense Fund and then later as the first lady of Arkansas, and then fought for women’s rights across the globe as Secretary of State.
She isn’t perfect, but her opponent is far worse. Trump, who often derides political correctness, has blacklisted news organizations who have criticized him. Trump has hinted that he wants to “open up the libel laws.” Trump has threatened to sue every one of his accusers, and he has made his campaign about appealing to American’s worst fears and pitting Americans against each other.
Simply, a Trump administration would guarantee that America becomes less inclusive and more divisive.
The choice is clear for Montclair State students. Clinton has her flaws and her use of a private email server shows a lack of judgement. However, her misgivings pale in comparison to Trump’s numerous blemishes. We’re with her — and not just against him.