Conservative Newspaper Editorial Boards Are Endorsing Hillary Clinton, Because They're Not Stupid

Clinton campaigns at Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, Monday, March 21, 2016. Photo via AP

The Arizona Republic has been publishing since 1890, and for that 126-year span, the newspaper’s editorial board would like you to know that they didn’t fuck around with any Democrats. That changed Tuesday, when they endorsed Hillary Clinton, in an editorial explaining that while they’re conservative, they’re not stupid.

The Republic is the latest in a round of right-leaning newspapers to break decades of tradition to endorse Clinton, because her opponent is a sniffling madman. The Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle and the Cincinnati Enquirer, triple pillars of stodgy establishment politics, all wrote editorials explaining that the choice between Clinton and Trump is a choice between a candidate they view as flawed and the human equivalent of swine flu. (The New Hampshire Union Leader took a different route, endorsing Gary Johnson by calling him and running mate Bill Weld “a bright light of hope and reason,” which is a stretch.)

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Besides allowing these newspapers to be on the right side of history, more or less, these showy non-endorsements of Trump are good for page views. The Arizona Republic—which we probably don’t have to remind you is published in a swing state—heavily teased their endorsement before it was released. They did it in kind of a curious way, focusing on all the great American presidents they didn’t support:

For 120 years – from 1892 to 2012 – this newspaper’s editorial board has never endorsed a Democrat in a general election.

We said no to celebrated Democratic presidents Woodrow Wilson, John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

We really didn’t like FDR, writing in 1944 that his “administration has been characterized by a complete inability to ‘play square’ with the American people.

Not really something most of us would brag about, but you have to take your spotlight where you can find it.

The endorsement itself manages to say genuinely nice things about Clinton, rather than implying that a vote for her requires them to hold their noses:

Clinton knows how to compromise and to lead with intelligence, decorum and perspective. She has a record of public service as First Lady, senator and secretary of state.

She has withstood decades of scrutiny so intense it would wither most politicians. The vehemence of some of the anti-Clinton attacks strains credulity.

Trump hasn’t even let the American people scrutinize his tax returns, which could help the nation judge his claims of business acumen.

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(Contrast that with the Morning News, which politely urged a vote for Clinton despite “all her warts,” as they put it. It was the endorsement equivalent of a golf clap.)

Expect a tweet soon from Donald Trump calling the Arizona Republic failing and bad.

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About the author

Anna Merlan

Anna Merlan was a Senior Reporter at G/O Media until September 2019. She's the author of Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power.

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