Heaven help America if Donald Trump is elected president.

Trump is a dishonest reality-show huckster whose candidacy represents an existential threat to the values and institutions that make America great. Hillary Clinton is an eminently qualified public servant who, by virtue of her superior experience, knowledge, character and temperament, in normal times would have run away with this election.

But here we are on the weekend before Election Day, and many polls say this race is close. It boggles the mind.

EDITORIAL

All we can think to do, then, is to review once again what a disaster Trump is — as a person, businessman and citizen — and why he is an utterly false messiah for angry and frightened Americans. A President Trump would not change America for the better; he would trash it. Nor would he lead our nation back to some mythically more harmonious time. He would divide us against each other, egging on the “winners” to kick the “losers” to the curb. That’s what he’s been doing his whole life.

All we can do, as well, is remind our readers that Clinton, regardless of whatever misinformation the right-wing trash machine might crank out, has the makings to be a superb president. She is not above criticism, but her strengths are many. To pretend her failings are the equal of Trump’s failings is intellectually dishonest. To even say she is the “lesser of two evils” is misleading. Two evils? Donald Trump is in a category all his own when it comes to being unfit for office.

Four weeks ago, we endorsed Hillary Clinton for president because we sincerely believe she has earned the job, not just because Trump is transparently awful. She worked for the welfare of children as the First Lady of Arkansas. She gained a uniquely valuable perspective on the presidency as the First Lady of the United States. She worked effectively across party lines as a senator from New York.

She traveled the world as secretary of state, forging personal friendships and nurturing alliances that could serve her well as president. She would be an informed and responsible commander in chief from day one.

But, yes, even if Clinton is not your cup of tea, we would urge you to vote for her. Because Trump is a toxic cup of bile. Not for nothing have many principled Republican leaders and Republican newspapers endorsed Clinton over Trump. They appreciate what is at stake.

Consider the view of the editorial page of the Cincinnati Enquirer: “The Enquirer has supported Republicans for president for almost a century…But this is not a traditional race, and these are not traditional times. … We need a leader who will bring out the best in all Americans, not the worst.”

Consider the view of the San Diego Union-Tribune: “This newspaper has not endorsed a Democrat for president in its 148-year history. But we endorse Clinton. She’s the safe choice for the U.S. and the world, for Democrats and Republicans alike.”

Consider the view of the Arizona Republic: “This year is different. The 2016 Republican candidate is not conservative and he is not qualified. That’s why, for the first time in our history, The Arizona Republic will support a Democrat for president.”

Trump doesn’t understand the issues. Surely, that’s clear by now. He won’t do his homework.

His solution to the problem of illegal immigration is to build a wall. His approach to building global alliances is to hit up our NATO allies for more money. And here’s what Trump had to say during the third presidential debate when asked about the high cost of a college education: “We’re going to do a lot of things for college tuition.”

Pure Trump: A bumper sticker.

Trump shows a frightening disregard for American ideals and values, including freedom of speech, tolerance for dissent, the rule of law and the peaceful transition of power. He sues anybody who criticizes him, not because he’s got a case but because he’s got deeper pockets and can bleed them dry with legal expenses. He has threatened to sic the Justice Department on Clinton if he is elected president. He says the election is “rigged,” citing no credible evidence, and he undermines public confidence in our democratic process by refusing to say he will accept the results if he loses.

But, finally, it is Trump’s personal character that should disqualify him from serious consideration for the presidency.

This is a man who brags that he pays no income taxes while dishwashers and truck drivers do pay. This is a man who has bragged of sexually assaulting women, and who has been accused of sexual assault by at least 12 women. He has defended himself by saying he would not have assaulted some of them because they are not very attractive. He has mocked a physically disabled reporter, called Mexican immigrants rapists, vowed to ban the people of an entire religion from entering our country, and run a fake “university” that scammed the gullible. He has encouraged violence at his rallies, stiffed contractors and employees, and implied that Sen. Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

He sits up at night tweeting insults about former beauty queens, has declared bankruptcy six times and lost $1 billion in a single year — such a terrific businessman. He has said Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a former prisoner of war, is no war hero because he got caught.

Under the circumstances, we find it hard to get riled up about Hillary Clinton’s troubles with emails and the Clinton Foundation. Those are legitimate concerns, but hardly damning. We admire her, rather, for her long and productive record of public service, and for the restraint and preparedness she has demonstrated throughout this long and now tiresome presidential election.

Hillary Clinton has earned your vote. Of that we have no doubt. Donald Trump is the barbarian at the gate. Let’s keep that gate locked tight.

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