Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Dallas Morning News' scathing rebuke of Trump, and endorsement of Clinton

The Dallas Morning News with a circulation of 400,000 is one of the 20 largest daily newspapers in the U.S.   True to its conservative Texan nature, it has endorsed the Republican candidate for president every election cycle since 1964 -- until now.  On September 6th, it ran a scathing editorial denouncing Donald Trump as being "at odds with nearly every GOP ideal this newspaper holds dear."

It further asserted that Trump "is no Republican and certainly no conservative. . . . Individual liberty? Trump has displayed an authoritarian streak that should horrify limited-government advocates. . . .  His open admiration of Russia's Vladimir Putin is alarming. . . .  Free markets? Economic conservatism? . . .  Trump's idea of fiscal conservatism is reducing expenses by financing mountains of soul-crushing debt. . . .

"Strong national defense? Trump pledges to make our military 'so big, so powerful, so strong . . . .  But what does he want to do with that military? He says he supports killing the families of Muslim terrorists and allowing interrogation methods 'a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.'  And if the military balks at obeying such orders?  'If I say do it, they're gonna do it,' he says. . . . 

"We have no interest in a Republican nominee for whom all principles are negotiable, nor in a Republican Party that is willing to trade away principle for pursuit of electoral victory. . . .  Donald Trump is not qualified to serve as president and does not deserve your vote."

After this rejection of Trump, the next day the Morning News followed up with this endorsement of Clinton.

"There is only one serious candidate on the presidential ballot in November. We recommend Hillary Clinton.  We don't come to this decision easily.   We've been critical of Clinton's handling of certain issues 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.  Resume vs. resume, judgment vs. judgment, this election is no contest. . . .

"[Clinton has] real shortcomings. But they pale in comparison to the litany of evils some opponents accuse her of. . . .  We reject the politics of personal destruction. Clinton has made mistakes and displayed bad judgment, but her errors are plainly in a different universe than her opponent's.

"Trump's values are hostile to conservatism. He plays on fear — exploiting base instincts of xenophobia, racism and misogyny — to bring out the worst in all of us, rather than the best. His serial shifts on fundamental issues reveal an astounding absence of preparedness. And his improvisational insults and midnight tweets exhibit a dangerous lack of judgment and impulse control.

"After nearly four decades in the public spotlight, 25 of them on the national stage, Clinton is a known quantity. For all her warts, she is the candidate more likely to keep our nation safe, to protect American ideals and to work across the aisle to uphold the vital domestic institutions that rely on a competent, experienced president.

"Hillary Clinton has spent years in the trenches doing the hard work needed to prepare herself to lead our nation. In this race, at this time, she deserves your vote."

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We shouldn't underestimate the importance of this reasoned endorsement from a staunch and enduring Republican newspaper.   It is the kind of thinking that more and more traditional Republicans must grapple with in the coming weeks.  You don't have to be a starry-eyed Clinton-lover to recognize the very real dangers of turning the most important job in the world over to Donald Trump.   Congratulations to the editors in Dallas for taking the hard look at the very real choice -- and deciding in favor of sanity and safety.


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