The 2016 presidential race has thrown up a lot of surprises, and Donald Trump has almost always been at the heart of them.
On Friday, conservative newspaper USA Today took a side in the presidential race for the first time in its 34-year history, urging readers not to vote for Donald Trump. Arguing that no presidential candidate since the inception of the newspaper had warranted such a statement, the editorial board wrote that Trump is so “unfit for presidency” that the newspaper was forced to abandon its no-endorsement policy.
“This year, the choice isn’t between two capable major party nominees who happen to have significant ideological differences. 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.”
Remarking that this anti-endorsement of Donald Trump must not be misconstrued as unqualified support for Hillary Clinton, the editorial board meticulously pointed out the various facets of Trump’s personality and policy proposals that, it said, were instrumental in helping it reach the decision.
USA Today, citing a report from NBC News that showed that Trump had shifted his positions a staggering 124 times on 20 major issues since shortly before entering the race, wrote “that attempting to assess his policy positions is like shooting at a moving target.”
Furthermore, the editorial board categorically stated that Trump was wildly incoherent and inconsistent while discussing his foreign policy proposals, potentially making him the worst Commander-in-Chief America has ever seen in its history. Citing various national security experts who have labeled Trump everything from “unmoored in principle” to “beyond repair,” the newspaper wrote that the real estate mogul’s “troubling admiration for authoritarian leaders” is an aspect that simply cannot be ignored.
The newspaper went on to chide Trump for building his “campaign on appeals to bigotry and xenophobia, whipping up resentment against Mexicans, Muslims and migrants.” Arguing that Trump’s ideas were basically contrarian to core American values, USA Today wrote that the “birther” movement or his unwarranted attacks on an “Indiana-born federal judge of Mexican heritage” provided enough proof that if elected, Trump would not be able to resist himself from indulging in politics of hate.
The editorial board also questioned Donald Trump’s checkered career as a business magnate, pointing out that Trump’s “track record is marred by six bankruptcy filings, apparent misuse of the family’s charitable foundation, and allegations by Trump University customers of fraud.” Moreover, the newspaper argued that Trump, contrary to what he says, has never been a champion of working Americans since his company has been involved “in thousands of lawsuits over the past three decades, including at least 60 that involved small businesses and contract employees who said they were stiffed.”
The fact that Trump has repeatedly refused to release his tax returns despite a majority of Americans asking him to do it, USA Today wrote, showed that the Republican nominee had something to hide.
Finally, the anti-endorsement by USA Today argued that Trump not only spoke recklessly and dangerously, including the instance when he asked Russia state-sponsored hackers to interfere with the U.S. elections, or when he raised the prospect of “Second Amendment people” preventing the Democratic nominee from appointing liberal justices, but that he was single-handedly responsible for coarsening the political discourse in the country to the utterly vague binary of US. vs THEM.
Calling him a serial liar, USA Today urged its readers not to vote for Trump under any circumstances.
“Our bottom-line advice for voters is this: Stay true to your convictions. That might mean a vote for Clinton, the most plausible alternative to keep Trump out of the White House. Or it might mean a third-party candidate. Or a write-in. Or a focus on down-ballot candidates who will serve the nation honestly, try to heal its divisions, and work to solve its problems.
Whatever you do, however, resist the siren song of a dangerous demagogue. By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump.”
What do you think of this historic anti-endorsement by one of the most widely circulated newspapers in the country?
[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]