The thing about democracy is, it's messy.
Political campaigns to select leaders too often substitute loud noise for good ideas. And sometimes that noise can be crude and thoughtless.
But, the 2016 presidential campaign is in a class by itself.
A presidential campaign should be a competition of ideas to deal with the challenges our country faces. Instead, we are spectators this year to a loud, vulgar, and uninformed campaign waged by Donald Trump.
It, unfortunately, has become routine to hear the Republican nominee refer to his opponent as "crooked," "a liar," "the devil," and much more. That adolescent name-calling is wrapped around a carnival of other bad behavior in both language and actions. I understand this has been an entertaining show for some who can't wait to see who will be the next victim of Donald Trump's attacks. But I think most Americans find it deplorable.
The truth is Donald Trump denigrates a process that should be a serious debate about the issues that matter most to America.
Aside from the ugly personal attacks on his opponents (including his former Republican opponents), his thoughtless and dangerous proclamations about reinstituting torture, expanding the number of countries who possess nuclear weapons, killing the families of ISIS fighters, weakening NATO, and much more should disqualify him from serious consideration for the presidency.
Through all of the noise and excess, I remain convinced that there is a broad political center in America that will reject the Trump campaign.
Hillary Clinton is running a presidential campaign talking about the range of issues and challenges that confront us and describing specific plans on how to address them. She's not perfect. She has made mistakes and is willing to acknowledge them. The private server used for her emails while Secretary of State was something she said she regrets. But, there is no evidence that what she has done has put America's security at risk. Additionally, the unfair attacks on her about the Benghazi tragedy have been investigated over and over without finding any evidence to support the outrageous charges by her opponents.
The fact is, her opponents have created a caricature of Hillary Clinton that bears no relationship to the person I know. Unfortunately the relentless attacks on Hillary by Republicans over the years have had an impact. And, it's impossible to reconcile the portrait they paint of her with real Hillary Clinton.
I spent eight years working with Hillary in the U.S. Senate and I knew her long before then. I've observed her work up close over a long period. I've seen firsthand the skill and determination with which she wages the fight for the right solutions to problems. We worked together on many economic issues in the Senate and I have always admired her leadership on the fight for jobs and opportunities for American workers.
I wish everyone could know Hillary personally. They would know she has a robust sense of humor, has a relaxed and friendly way with people and is just plain fun to be around. They would also see a smart, tough, honest woman with a wealth of experience working on important issues.
Donald Trump and many of his followers have been determined to brand her as dishonest and untrustworthy. He says she is the "liar." "Lock her up," his supporters chant. But the fact checkers show that the dishonesty in this campaign is overwhelmingly coming from Donald Trump.
Donald Trump and her detractors have vastly underestimated Hillary. She is a strong woman, relentless in her determination to help build a better future for our country. She doesn't quit. She has confronted her critics head on in Congressional hearings and on the campaign trail.
Despite the withering daily attacks and bogus claims ranging from Benghazi to the emails and so much more, she gets up every morning and continues a positive campaign to provide leadership for America's future.
She knows the stakes for our country are high and she will not bend to the daily outrage of the Trump campaign.
That's why I believe Hillary Clinton will win the presidency and go on to do a great job as president.
In the meantime, this campaign will end on November 8th, and I hope we never see another like it. America deserves much better.