The process to select the 45th President of the United States has lasted about 600 days. 600 days of perhaps the most negative presidential campaign in modern history and at the end of this brutal process we are left with the two most unpopular presidential nominees in history, Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton.
However, in this pivotal and historic presidential election we are confronted with a choice between Trump, perhaps the least qualified candidate for president ever, and Clinton, maybe the most prepared person to possibly occupy the Oval Office. For that distinction alone the choice is clear, Hillary Clinton.
Moments after Trump descended the escalator at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015, he declared, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best…They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with (them). They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists,” he declared.
What has followed over the next year and four months has been a dystopian odyssey of more xenophobia (punctuated with a call to ban all Muslims from America and an attack on an American gold star family, the Khans) the mocking of a disabled journalist, the daily torrent of inaccuracies, misinformation and outright lies spewed by the Republican nominee on the campaign trail.
And of course there is Trump’s ham-handed, cynical and inherently racist, “outreach” to Black voters, with the overarching message that Black Americans, “are living in hell.”
But, beyond crafting the most unorthodox and dangerous presidential campaign in history, Trump’s personal history prior to his bid for the White House is dubious at best in regards to his qualifications to be Commander-in-Chief.
He has no discernible record of public service. He is the first presidential nominee of a major party to not release his taxes (since it became a criteria). Trump companies have filed Chapter 11 bankruptcies six times. In the 1990’s, Trump publicly called for the re-instatement of the death penalty in New York and the execution of five young men, four Black and one Hispanic, for the rape of a female jogger in Central Park (taking out full-page newspaper ads railing against the “Central Park Five”). After spending years in prison for a crime they did not commit, the five men were fully exonerated based on DNA evidence. And Trump was the king of the so-called, “birther” movement aimed at de-legitimizing the first Black president of the United States.
But, Clinton has been no pristine candidate either. By her own admission she is not gifted in this regard like her husband and President Obama. And there are troubling episodes during a political career that has spanned decades.
In a 1996 speech in New Hampshire, Clinton characterized some violent young Black men as, “super predators,” who have to be, “brought to heel,” in the midst of her husband’s implementation of the mass incarceration of a disproportionate number of Black and Brown people (a statement she later apologized for).
Political expediency and triangulation have been hallmarks of both Bill and Hillary Clinton’s careers, as well as arrogance, perhaps exemplified best (or worst depending on your perspective) by Hillary Clinton’s choice to set up a private email server in her home, an epic and self-inflicted political blunder.
However, Clinton is smart and she is tough. She exhibited pragmatism and effectiveness, often working across party lines as a U.S. Senator. As President Obama is fond of saying, `She’s been in the arena for more than 30 years,’ and she keeps fighting. She’s been in the room for many of the big moments during the Obama presidency and she’s made the tough calls.
It hasn’t always gone her way and unfortunately, it has not always gone well for the American people, but that’s part of the price of being a public servant. But she’s been there and she’s done the work, as the first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the United States, U.S. Senator from New York and Secretary of State. Despite our concerns Clinton has earned the opportunity to become the first woman to serve as President of the United States. The AFRO endorses Hillary Clinton for president.
Chris Van Hollen
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Chris Van Hollen has a wide breadth of experience in Congress. The AFRO believes that his knowledge of legislative proceedings as well as his track record proves that he will work hard for the people of Maryland like current Sen. Barbara Mikulski. Therefore the AFRO endorses him for the seat. We feel that Van Hollen can progress the state forward and improve conditions for middle and working class residents.
Elijah Cummings Md.’s
7th Congressional District
Elijah Cummings has represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District, an area that covers large portions of Baltimore City and Baltimore County, since 1996. In that time he has been a tireless advocate for issues that matter to the Black community including: voting rights, civil rights, criminal justice reform, affirmative action and equal funding for HBCUs among others. For these reasons the AFRO endorses Cummings.
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Delegate U.S. Congress
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton gets the AFRO’s endorsement for her solid record of going to bat for District of Columbia residents in her ongoing fight to secure statehood.
Mayor of Baltimore
When we endorsed Sheila Dixon for mayor of Baltimore during the Democratic Primary in April, one of the reasons we did so is because we believed Senator Catherine Pugh’s leadership was needed in Annapolis.
Now that Pugh is the Democratic nominee, and Dixon a write-in candidate, we wholeheartedly endorse Pugh to be the next mayor of Baltimore.
We know Baltimore is a city facing tremendous challenges, many of them manifested during the uprising of 2015 following the death of Freddie Gray and witnessed by the nation and the world. However, most of those challenges have been generations in the making and they won’t be resolved in short order. Now, more than ever the city needs a pragmatic and tested leader of Pugh’s caliber to help us navigate our many obstacles as we move Baltimore forward, post uprising.
Some of the most urgent tasks for the next mayor to grapple with include: restoring confidence in the Baltimore City Public School system, helping facilitate the arduous and complicated process of repairing tattered relations between the police and community they are sworn to serve and protect, addressing the burgeoning number of food deserts in the city and ensuring that the promises made during the passage of the controversial and massive Port Covington development deal are kept. There is also the decades-old litigation between the state and the federal government on behalf of Maryland’s HBCU’s, two of the most prominent, Morgan State University and Coppin State University reside in Baltimore. Mayor Pugh must commit to ensure Baltimore’s HBCU’s are protected and accorded every opportunity to make up for the 60+ years of unfair and unconstitutional treatment the State of Maryland has been found guilty of rendering against these important institutions of higher learning.
It won’t happen overnight, but we believe Catherine Pugh is the right choice to help put Baltimore, one of America’s great cities, back on track.