Choose the advocate. Not the bully.

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Presidential elections give us a chance to vote our values and define our national character.

The differences between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump could not be more clear: The woman who began her career working to ensure a quality education for children with disabilities or the man who mocked a reporter with a physical disability? The woman who worked to register Latino voters in Texas or the man who promised to build a wall on the Mexican border? The woman who investigated racial discrimination in schools or the man who refused to denounce the Ku Klux Klan during a television interview?

To put it simply: The choice is between the advocate or the bully. The woman who wants to bring out the best in people, or the man who brings out the worst.

The choice is striking, especially given the national campaign being waged to end bullying in our schools and communities across the country. Right now, every state has laws that address bullying. Yet, Trump has won primaries or caucuses in 10 of those states. What example is Trump’s bullying behavior setting for children, voters, and the country? Now, more than ever, it’s time to stand up to the bullies like him.

Marco Rubio is one example of a candidate who’s chosen to fight fire with fire. He’s ridiculed Trump’s debate performance, saying “He wanted a full-length mirror. Maybe to make sure his pants weren’t wet.”

However, women candidates for executive office cannot rely on personal attacks to combat their fellow candidates — research shows that a woman’s campaign style must be rooted in substance in order to boost her credibility. If a woman candidate ran a campaign based on personal attacks, she’d be called every “b-word” in the book, to paraphrase Carly Fiorina.

Electing Hillary Clinton as our Democratic standard bearer means electing a woman who knows how to stand up to bullies the right way, because she’s been standing up for people her entire life. As Frank Bruni points out: “For about a quarter of a century, [Clinton] has been vilified as loudly as she has been lionized, told that her talents pale beside her husband’s, called ‘likable enough’ but seldom lovable, and cast in supporting roles: the first lady, the secretary of state. She never retreated. Never gave up.”

Clinton is resilient. She has grace and grit.

Clinton’s message: Fight hate with kindness. Build relationships, not barriers. Clinton has always used these values to inform her policies. She is making clear to voters that she will use these values to inform her presidency.

After her win in South Carolina, Clinton said: “[…] we’re going to start by working together with more love and kindness in our hearts and more respect for each other, even when we disagree.” Clinton focused on this sentiment again after her Super Tuesday victories in seven states: “Now, it might be unusual, as I’ve said before, for a presidential candidate to say this, but I’m going to keep saying it: I believe what we need in America today is more love and kindness.”

Although this election is far from over, the choice is clear. A vote for Clinton is a vote for bringing people together with good will, instead of dividing them with hateful rhetoric. A vote for Clinton is a vote against the vitriol we’ve seen in the Republican primary.
 
A vote for Clinton is a vote against bullies everywhere.