Blog ››› ››› JOE STRUPP
As the list of publications breaking with tradition to endorse Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump continues to grow, editors at those publications tell Media Matters they opted to endorse Clinton because Trump is “unfit,” “reckless,” “dangerous,” “racist,” and “misogynistic.”
Weeks after a string of newspapers, including the The Arizona Republic, The Cincinnati Enquirer, and The Dallas Morning News, made historic endorsements of Clinton -- marking the first time some ever went with a Democrat -- several more publications released surprising recommendations urging readers to support Clinton.
Those include The San Diego Union-Tribune, which endorsed Clinton on October 1 -- the first time in its 148-year history it has supported a Democrat -- while The Columbus Dispatch and Foreign Policy magazine joined the effort this past weekend.
“It’s unusual in that it’s historic,” said Alan D. Miller, editor of The Columbus Dispatch, which posted its endorsement of Clinton on Sunday. “We haven’t endorsed a Democrat since Woodrow Wilson in 1916, but we have been very critical of Trump all along. We wrote an editorial in December saying he is unfit to be president and nothing has changed since then.”
Miller said the seven-member editorial board was nearly unanimous on the idea and wanted to avoid simply offering no endorsement or a third party option.
“Third party options are tempting,” he said. “But in reality the third party candidates don’t have a chance of winning. It would not have been enough to just say, ‘Don’t vote for Trump.’ For those who are going to pick somebody there really is only one option in our view and that’s how we arrived at Hillary.”
He added that Clinton is “a seasoned veteran leader who has a wealth of experience starting with having been first lady," and he noted that she has been "heavily involved in politics and leadership from the time Bill Clinton was governor, to the time she became a senator and secretary of state.”
Miller said the editorial was already done when audio leaked last Friday of Trump boasting about committing sexual assault: “We didn’t need to add anything from that.”
At Foreign Policy, endorsing in a U.S. presidential race was a first. And the magazine used the historic moment to back Clinton.
“We think this is an extraordinary election,” said David Rothkopf, Foreign Policy’s CEO and editor. “We cover global risks and risks facing the United States and in the judgement of the editors we are facing special risks. We felt that it warranted special action.
“One is possibly the most, certainly one of the most experienced candidates to run for president on national security issues in the modern world, and the other is undoubtedly the least experienced and [he's] reckless,” Rothkopf said about the candidates. “We discussed the available options and this was the best way forward. There is a consensus of both points, a consensus that Trump is racist, misogynistic, reckless and wholly unsuited for the office of the presidency. We felt that she was highly qualified, highly experienced, highly intelligent and had a very good record as a manager at the State Department.”
He also said the decision was made prior to Friday’s news: “Donald Trump has demonstrated repeatedly before and after Friday that he’s kind of a repellent person.”
The Union-Tribune, meanwhile, offered its first-ever Democratic presidential endorsement dating back to the launch of the then-San Diego Union in 1868, according to Matt Hall, editorial and opinion director.
“When it came time for the general [election], I personally felt we had to take a position,” Hall told Media Matters. “Partly because Trump is so dangerous and partly because it is a responsibility of an editorial board to make tough decisions. Voting is the most important thing we do as Americans. We need to tell you who we think you should choose from who is on the ballot.”
The paper included a video explaining why it sought to oppose Trump.
Hall said the paper’s opposition to Trump dates back months, noting that in June the paper told California primary voters to write in Ronald Reagan.