Few imagined that at this late point in the Democratic presidential primary season Hillary Clinton would be facing a serious challenge from a feisty, 74-year-old independent lawmaker from Vermont who proudly calls himself a democratic socialist. Sen. Bernie Sanders has injected an unexpected element of excitement into what just a few months had been viewed as an entirely predictable march to the nomination by the Clinton campaign.
But Mr. Sanders' success has also prevented the party's front-runner from fully turning her attention to the general election this fall, as she should be doing at this point in the race. Now is the time for the party to come together around its strongest potential candidate. The former first lady, senator from New York and secretary of state clearly has the experience, detailed knowledge of the issues and proven record of accomplishment that America needs in its next president, and that is why we urge voters to cast their ballot for Hillary Clinton in Tuesday's Democratic primary.
Senator Sanders captured the imagination of millions with his call for a "political revolution" aimed at upending a status quo they feel is stacked against them — a message that has resonated particularly strongly with young people who see him as a break from the politics of the past. Yet on closer inspection it's apparent that, despite their popular appeal, many of Mr. Sanders' spending, tax and health care plans — along with his proposals for making college free, reining in Wall Street and "breaking up" the big banks by presidential fiat — simply don't add up. They are in many respects as grandiose and vague as most of the ideas offered up by Donald Trump on the Republican side, and equally unworkable.
Ms. Clinton, by contrast, has offered solid policies on the issues Americans care about: income and wealth inequality; job creation and the problems faced by working families in a changing economy; the need for federal investment in cities and the nation's crumbling infrastructure; and strengthening U.S. national security to meet the challenges posed by China's growing military might, a resurgent Russia and new threats from rogue states and terrorist organizations. On all these issues Ms. Clinton has advanced realistic, well thought out proposals whose details make sense both as sound policy and as good politics.
Ms. Clinton also possesses the personal qualities of steadiness, resolve, empathy and resilience that are absolutely essential in a commander-in-chief. Whether or not she is as gifted a campaigner as President Barack Obama or her husband, former president Bill Clinton, her dedication to public service, which she has demonstrated throughout her career, has never been in doubt. She has stumped tirelessly for the things she believes in since well before she announced her candidacy last year, and voters can count on her to bring that same passion for getting the job done to the White House if elected.
Unlike Mr. Sanders, Ms. Clinton has been in the spotlight for more than two decades during which her every move has been subject to intense public scrutiny, some of it fair but much of it not. We thought at the time that her decision to move her email onto a private server in her home when she served as secretary of state was unwise, for example, but there's no evidence of any criminal behavior on her part or of any damage to national security. Likewise, the House committee investigating the death of a U.S. ambassador in Benghazi after the fall of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi went on longer than the Watergate probe of the 1970s yet turned up nothing of substance.
Ms. Clinton has been criticized for everything from her choice of clothing and hairstyle to her supposed "shrill" tone on issues she cares about. It's impossible not to suspect that she is being held to a higher standard than male politicians. Yet the lingering discomfort among some with the idea of a powerful female politician is wholly out of step with contemporary attitudes toward women's place in society.
Ms. Clinton has weathered it all with rare grace and composure. On the campaign trail her ability to connect with people has been her great strength, and her groundbreaking candidacy is one that all Americans — men and women alike — should be proud of. She is the right Democrat to represent her party in this most consequential of presidential election years, and we are pleased to endorse her candidacy.