I am a supporter of Hillary Clinton but I understand how a distrust or just dislike of her combined with a disgust for politics as usual incline you elsewhere. Maybe towards Donald Trump, but not quite, maybe elsewhere. Maybe nowhere, so you are still on the fence.
The claims and counter claims by the campaigns make everything a jumble of information and confusion. Here I want to make one point about the race that is not debatable. Then you can decide if it helps you with your decision.
In all previous presidential elections, newspapers have split on endorsements of candidates, the split tied to the political leanings of their editorial boards.
This election is unique in that ALMOST ALL major newspapers that give endorsements have endorsed someone other than Trump. Most of the endorsements have gone to Hillary, even from papers with strong conservative roots that have either never endorsed a Democrat for president or did so before any of us were around. These conservative endorsements have come reluctantly, but the fact they have come at all reflects a common dislike and disrespect for Donald Trump.
In short, almost all of our major newspapers are for someone other than Trump. While Clinton endorsements from the likes of the liberal New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times go without saying, there are numerous conservative papers who have endorsed her as well. Doing so did not come easily, especially as it cost their papers subscriptions and invited much angry mail.
Last week my home town San Diego Union Tribune endorsed Clinton, the first time it had endorsed a Democrat in its 148 year history. While indicating no great enthusiasm for Hillary, they call her the safe “choice” while a “vengeful, dishonest and impulsive Donald Trump” might be the kind of leader that can “knock a nation off course.”
The conservative Arizona Republican has also endorsed Clinton, the first time they have chosen a Democrat over a Republican for president. Describing Trump’s flaws they go on to say “Clinton retains her composure under pressure. She’s tough. She doesn’t back down. Trump responds to criticism with the petulance of verbal spit wads.”
The Dallas Morning News, which has only endorsed Republican presidential candidates for the past 75 years, first indicated it would not support Trump and later endorsed Hillary Clinton, a decision not made easily because they have often criticized her in the past…. “But unlike Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton has experience in actual governance, a record of service and a willingness to delve into real policy,” wrote the editorial board.
It is not only that all of these papers have not endorsed him, they have uniformly argued he is “unfit” to be president. When it comes down to normal political disagreements these various editorial boards would be all over the place. But when it comes to Trump it is not a matter of left or right but one of decency and common sense. It boils down to their sense of who the candidate is and whether he or she is some one we can look up to, or at least doesn’t scare or embarrass us, as president.
Reflecting this one unifying principle among otherwise disparate political stances by editorial boards was the USA Today last Thursday. For the first time in its 36 year history it took a stance on a presidential race, because unlike any of the others it felt compelled to do so by Donald Trump’s candidacy.
As part of a scathing critique of the Republican candidate they wrote: ““This year, the choice isn’t between two capable major party nominees who happen to have significant ideological differences,” ….. “This year, one of the candidates — Republican nominee Donald Trump — is, by unanimous consensus of the Editorial Board, unfit for the presidency.”
The nine member board was too split to endorse someone else. They just wanted to make it clear who was beyond the pale, who should never be elected, as have so many other editorial boards. In the end the board suggested voting our consciences.
Trump’s VP candidate Mike Pence had an opposing editorial in the paper that day: “By electing Donald Trump, the American people have the opportunity to choose a bold leader… I’ve come to know the man who invited me to join him on the Republican ticket as thoughtful, compassionate and steady. Above all, I know he is ready to lead the United States as our next president and commander in chief.”
So, dear undecided voter, is Donald Trump a bold and thoughtful leader or a man totally unfit to be president? You must either discount the integrity and knowledge of all these professional journalists or dismiss the assertion of Trump and his surrogates that they alone are telling the truth about a rigged system supported by a crooked press. It boils down to which you judge to be real.
They really are alternative universes that cannot coexist.
P. S. As for major newspapers for Trump, both the New York Post and the National Enquirer endorsed Trump in the Republican primaries, and I imagine both will endorse him again if they haven’t done so already. I’ll give the Post credit for being a major newspaper. I’ll leave it up to you to judge what the Enquirer is.