Daily News: We endorse Hillary for president

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Hillary Clinton has thoughtful approaches to key issues.

WE'RE WITH HER.

We endorse Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.

Presidential elections are an exercise in identity-shaping: They help reaffirm our values and shape our story of who we are as a country . . . and the kind of country we want to be in the future.

What does that say about this election season - or rather, what does this bizarre election say about us? The ascendance of Donald Trump, an uninformed, divisive and smugly ignorant man who is ill-equipped for office, certainly speaks volumes - about a segment of society that has felt dismissed and looks for an easy scapegoat. His supporters applaud Trump's promise to "turn Washington upside down on day one." That's not a call for change; it's a call for chaos. His claims that the country is weak and broken and his suggestion he won't accept the results of the election mean that what he promises is anarchy.

We don't believe most Americans, including Trump supporters, think the government should be destroyed. The person elected to head this government shouldn't either. Washington is deeply flawed and sometimes even destructive. But as the organizing body of its people, government should work to benefit all. There's no question that Hillary Clinton's experience, depth and intelligence makes her well-equipped to accomplish this.

Her career has progressed through many iterations of public service, starting as a legal advocate for children and families, leading to the world stage as Secretary of State.

It is in fact the wobbly and precarious state of that world stage in 2016 that instills the most confidence in Clinton as president - and terrifies us about her opponent. There are no fast fixes to the persistent threat of ISIS sowing seeds of death and instability around the world, the high and shifting stakes in the Middle East and the complicated power alliances among the world's superpowers like Russia and China that play out in all these situations. But Clinton has the background and gravitas to understand that these issues will require more than a fast phone call or a hasty deal. She is already a familiar face to world leaders, while her opponent's grasp of foreign policy seems reduced to which world leaders have said nice things about him. Still, we hope that she is at least as careful as Obama about committing the United States to more action in the Middle East or anywhere else.

The reality-show atmosphere of this election has been a distraction from serious issues, and Clinton's own frustration over this state of affairs has been apparent. In fact, it has distracted both candidates from delving into climate change, education or poverty, to name a few.

But Clinton has thoughtful approaches to key issues. On immigration, her reform goals would create a pathway to citizenship and keep families intact. Her tax policy would focus on increasing taxes on the wealthy; she wants to invest in infrastructure and provide debt-free college. She would reform Obamacare - and is uniquely equipped to understand how. On trade, Hillary opposes the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) though she originally helped to create it, underscoring her shift from supporting free trade to a more skeptical position.

As she herself continues to point out, her career has centered on women and family issues. Her strong defense of Roe v. Wade during last week's final debate was a refreshing and galvanizing salvo amid threats to reproductive rights. Her push for reasonable restrictions on guns is nothing new (and long overdue) - despite the usual panicked and exaggerated claims that she's trying to shut down the Second Amendment.

Speaking of exaggeration: The claim that her use of private servers for official state business was criminal has been disputed by the FBI. For her part, though, it was a careless mistake, and throughout, she could have been more forthcoming about her actions.

To be sure, there are many who will disagree with us - and not just her opponent's rabid supporters but those "undecideds" that don't like either candidate. We obviously don't agree, although we have to wonder why the bench is not deeper in both parties, given what's at stake at this moment.

For a long time, Hillary Clinton has carried more baggage than most - in the form of her husband, her place in the White House during his presidency, her place on the battlefield of the culture wars. But if you think that's baggage, just try unpacking the trunks of gender bias or outright misogyny that has met her candidacy, labeled her "unlikeable" and worse.

This election pits an intelligent, experienced, formidable woman arguing her worth against a spoiled, narcissistic, unqualified man.

In the gender wars, this election is Gettysburg. Donald Trump is the primal scream of a beleaguered army.

Hillary Clinton's lifelong public service, her willingness to adapt and learn, her steadfastness through many trials and challenges are the key ingredients of great leadership. They make her our enthusiastic choice for president - and for affirming the values of our democracy.