By Joanna McClanahan of Ramblin’ Mama
No matter what your political stance may be, I think we can all agree this election has been far from typical. The same goes for newspaper endorsements this year, as a growing number of conservative publications have unexpectedly chosen to support the Democratic nominee.
This past week The San Diego Union Tribune joined the list of traditionally conservative newspaper editorial boards that have endorsed Clinton, including The Houston Chronicle, The Dallas Morning News, The Cincinnati Enquirer, and The Arizona Republic.
The Houston Chronicle was first to make its endorsement in late July: “On Nov. 8, 2016, the American people will decide between two presidential contenders who represent the starkest political choice in living memory. They will choose between one candidate with vast experience and a lifelong dedication to public service and another totally lacking in qualifications to be president.” The board went on to say that to support Trump “is to repudiate the most basic notions of competence and capability.”
The Dallas Morning News endorsed Clinton in early September: “We don’t come to this decision easily. This newspaper has not recommended a Democrat for the nation’s highest office since before World War II — if you’re counting, that’s more than 75 years and nearly 20 elections…Resume vs. resume, judgment vs. judgment, this election is no contest.”
The Cincinnati Enquirer (whose last Democratic endorsement was Woodrow Wilson in 1916) was next to make their endorsement: “The Enquirer has supported Republicans for president for almost a century – a tradition this editorial board doesn’t take lightly. But this is not a traditional race, and these are not traditional times. Our country needs calm, thoughtful leadership to deal with the challenges we face at home and abroad. We need a leader who will bring out the best in all Americans, not the worst.
“Hillary Clinton has her faults, certainly, but she has spent a lifetime working to improve the lives of Americans both inside and outside of Washington,” the board wrote. “It’s time to elect the first female U.S. president – not because she’s a woman, but because she’s hands-down the most qualified choice.”
The Arizona Republic endorsed Clinton early last week: “Since The Arizona Republic began publication in 1890, we have never endorsed a Democrat over a Republican for president. Never. This reflects a deep philosophical appreciation for conservative ideals and Republican principles. This year is different. The 2016 Republican candidate is not conservative and he is not qualified…Make no mistake: Hillary Clinton has flaws. She has made serious missteps…Yet despite her flaws, Clinton is the superior choice.”
And on Friday, The San Diego Union Tribune added their endorsement: “Terrible leaders can knock nations off course…We cannot take that risk…This paper 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 for the world, for Democrats and Republicans alike.”
These newspaper editorial boards have certainly drawn pushback from their readership, with a wake of cancelled subscriptions and even death threats.
The Dallas Morning News told Poynter that their decision to support Clinton hurt them financially. Although he didn’t say how many subscriptions were lost, Editor Mike Wilson said the endorsement came with a price tag. “Certainly we’ve paid a price for our presidential recommendation, but then, we write our editorials based on principle, and sometimes principle comes at a cost,” said Wilson.
“We got a lot of angry callers and we’ve had quite a few cancellations,” The Arizona Republic’s Phil Boas told The Daily Mail, adding that the editors had expected blowback and did not regret its decision. The paper also received some threatening calls and a death threat.
Cincinnati Enquirer Editor Peter Bhatia told TheWrap his paper has lost “hundreds” of subscriptions since its endorsement of Clinton. “There has been a substantial amount of blowback, that’s for sure…I expected it would be vigorous – it has been vigorous. I guess what disappoints me on some level is how nasty some of it is. You’d be stunned by some of the names we’ve been called,” said Bhatia.
Hillary Clinton has received 13 newspaper endorsements so far, while Gary Johnson has received six endorsements, including: The Caledonian-Record, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Winston-Salem Journal, The New Hampshire Union Leader, The Detroit News, and most recently The Chicago Tribune. The Chicago Tribune also, and this is not a joke, ran a commentary article two days later called ‘How to say this nicely? Both third-party candidates would be terrible presidents’.
To be clear, Trump has not received a single newspaper endorsement to date, although he has received endorsements from two tabloids: The National Enquirer and The New York Post. So if bat babies are your thing, maybe that means something to you.
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