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Editorial: It’s a year to break the mold

What does it mean when USA Today, for the first time in its 34 year history, breaks its pledge not to endorse a candidate in the US presidential race and writes, by unanimous consent among its editorial board, that Trump is “unfit to be president?”
Let USA Today explain:
“This year, the choice isn’t between two capable major party nominees who happen to have significant ideological difference. This year, one of the candidates — Republican nominee Donald Trump — is, by unanimous consensus of the editorial board, unfit for the presidency.
“From the day he declared his candidacy 15 months ago through this week’s first presidential debate, Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he lacks the temperament, knowledge, steadiness and honesty that America needs from its presidents.
“Whether through indifference or ignorance, Trump has betrayed fundamental commitments made by all presidents since the end of World War II. These commitments include unwavering support for NATO allies, steadfast opposition to Russian aggression, and the absolute certainty that the United States will make good on its debts. He has expressed troubling admiration for authoritarian leaders and scant regard for constitutional protections.”
The editorial board then detailed some of its reasons for Trump should not be president, including:
• His erratic stands on policy are “like shooting a moving target.” The paper noted Trump has made 124 shifts on 20 major issues in the past 15 months.
• Trump’s foreign policy stands “typically range from uninformed to incoherent.”
• He “traffics in prejudice. From the very beginning, Trump has built his campaign on appeals to bigotry and xenophobia, whipping up resentment against Mexicans, Muslins and migrants.”
• His “checkered” business career, includes “thousands of lawsuits over the past three decades, including at least 60 that involved small businesses and contract employees who said they were stiffed (by Trump companies or Trump himself.) So much for being a champion of the little guy.”
• He has “coarsened the national dialogue. Did you ever imagine that a presidential candidate would discuss the size of his genitalia during a nationally televised Republican debate? Neither did we. Did you ever imagine a presidential candidate, one who avoided service in the military, would criticize Gold Star parents who lost a son in Iraq? Neither did we. Did you ever imagine you’d see a presidential candidate mock a disabled reporter? Neither did we. Trump’s inability or unwillingness to ignore criticism raises the specter of a president who, like Richard Nixon, would create enemies’ list and be consumed with getting even with his critics.”
While USA Today’s editorial board did not have unanimous consensus to endorse Hillary Clinton, who, the editorial board said, “has her own flaws (though hers are far less likely to threaten national security or lead to a constitutional crisis),” some members of the board “look at her command of the issues, resilience and long record of public service — as first lady, U.S. senator and U.S. Secretary of State — and believe she’s serve the nation ably as its president.”
“Where does that leave us,” the editorial asked? “Our bottom-line advice for voters is this: Stay true to your convictions… (but) whatever you do…resist the siren song of a dangerous demagogue. By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump.”
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And USA Today has not been the only paper to reverse long-held policies. The Arizona Republic wrote that since it 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 editorial then skewers Trump, while making this assessment of Clinton: “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.” That, The Republic wrote, is “beneath our national dignity.”
The Dallas Morning News, also a staunch Republican supporter, wrote this: Trump “plays on fear — exploiting base instincts of xenophobia, racism and misogyny — to bring out the worst in all of us, rather than the best.”
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And if a person is at least partly judged by the company they keep, there is this report posted by the Washington Post last Wednesday: Of the nation’s larger newspapers that have made endorsements so far:
• A dozen have endorsed Clinton, including: The Arizona Republic, The Baltimore Sun, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Dallas Morning News, The Fresno Bee, Houston Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, The New York Times, The Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, and San Jose Mercury News.
• Four have endorsed Libertarian Gary Johnson:The Detroit News, New Hampshire Union-Leader; Richmond (Va) Times-Dispatch, Winston-Salem Journal.
• The one newspaper that has endorsed Donald Trump is The National Enquirer.
Fitting, right?
Angelo S. Lynn

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