Ordinarily we would expect to be found on the Republican side in most elections. The national Democratic Party has drifted so far to the left and tends to offer so little in the way of new ideas that we — and most Texans — don’t tend to feel at home there.

This year’s presidential race is a notable exception. After more than a full year of campaigning, it seems obvious to us that Democrat Hillary Clinton is the only candidate remotely qualified to serve as the nation’s chief executive and commander in chief of our armed forces.

We’re not thrilled with all aspects of Clinton’s record, but we find her far preferable to Republican Donald Trump, who has been unmasked during the campaign as out of step with key conservative principles and unfit for high public office.

Clinton is competent and capable of handling the awesome responsibility of being our nation’s commander in chief. She has a lengthy record of service as a senator and secretary of state. She supports protecting U.S. interests and is focused on economic growth.

Though Clinton’s leadership of the State Department from 2009 through 2013 was less than spotless, it had some notable successes. She played a key role in the mission to eliminate Osama bin Laden without alienating the entire Muslim world.

While much of the coverage of Trump’s campaign has centered on his shifting positions, polarizing personality and  outrageous statements, what bothers us most are the stands that he has taken and not reversed.

Trump portrays himself as a supporter of a strong defense and the military, but some of our most high-ranking active duty and retired generals and admirals have been rightly appalled by his suggestions that we should engage in torture of prisoners.

He’s in favor of transporting U.S. citizens charged with crimes related to terrorism to Cuba, where they would be tried by military courts. He went to great lengths to avoid military service but seems all to eager too initiate military action at the slightest provocation. 

A conservative, to our thinking, has a certain respect for the Constitution of the United States. Trump claims he’s a believer in the Constitution, but he supports “stop and frisk,” a police-state measure that would subject men and women doing nothing more than walking down the street to a search by law enforcement officers.

We value our rights and freedoms far too much to want any part of these and other ideas. Nothing proposed by Clinton is anywhere near as contrary to American values.

Trump promises to unilaterally abrogate any number of  international agreements while building literal and figurative walls between the United States and its longtime allies. He has business ties with, and an odd attachment to, Russia, a one-party state that he says he admires.

Clinton, like us, appears to regard Russian premier Vladimir Putin as more of a rival than a friend. She has stood up to Putin -- a posture of strength that is critical in light of Russian aggression toward Syria and the Ukraine.

We’d like to thank Trump for bringing a few of his meal-ticket issues to the campaign. He has underlined that the tepid economic recovery we’ve witnessed since 2008 has been inadequate, particularly for the U.S. middle class. He has yet to put forward realistic plans to address it.

Clinton, on the other hand, advances proposals such as reforming the tax code to close loopholes for the rich and big corporations, reducing health care and drug costs, investing in roads and bridges, lowering college costs and student debt, and strengthening oversight of big banks.

We realize that Trump will remain the choice of many of our readers. We respectfully decline our seat on the bandwagon, as former Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush have also declined theirs.

In this election, we see Clinton as the most acceptable choice.

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