Newspaper endorsements of presidential candidates no longer carry the weight they used to and The New York Times may have done the process irreparable harm with its reality show-esque hype of their decision of which Democratic presidential candidate would win the paper’s endorsement.
Using transcripts of interviews and video clips the Times aired its decision-making process on The Weekly, a show on FX that is also streamed on Hulu.
Instead of a traditional single endorsement, the Times endorsed both Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), candidates with diametrically opposing views.
The Times explained their decision to not back an establishment candidate while criticizing the political system:
The history of the editorial board would suggest that we would side squarely with the candidate with a more traditional approach to pushing the nation forward, within the realities of a constitutional framework and a multiparty country. But the events of the past few years have shaken the confidence of even the most committed institutionalists. We are not veering away from the values we espouse, but we are rattled by the weakness of the institutions that we trusted to undergird those values.
There are legitimate questions about whether our democratic system is fundamentally broken. Our elections are getting less free and fair, Congress and the courts are increasingly partisan, foreign nations are flooding society with misinformation, a deluge of money flows through our politics. And the economic mobility that made the American dream possible is vanishing.
Both the radical and the realist models warrant serious consideration. If there were ever a time to be open to new ideas, it is now. If there were ever a time to seek stability, now is it.
Climate change activists roundly criticized the decision.
Re: @amyklobuchar as the champion of realism.
It’s not only not realistic to promise 100% net-zero emissions by 2050 (Klobuchar in the NYT) while also embracing natural gas a bridge fuel (Klobuchar in the Dem debate), it’s not even possible.
This endorsement is climate denial. https://t.co/2Ag6TwuIwg
— Dr. Sandra Steingraber (@ssteingraber1) January 20, 2020
First, they claim that Warren is wrong to blame fossil fuel companies for climate change.
Who exactly should she or any other candidate blame? Have they missed the last decade of research on climate denial funded by fossil fuel companies? Appears so… pic.twitter.com/lemZOC6It4
— Leah Stokes (@leahstokes) January 20, 2020
The media also weighed in on the co-endorsements.
“The split decision between Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren makes literal the feeling in the air that the Times’s endorsement directs no one’s vote,” wrote Daniel D’Addario in Variety. “In this case, it’d be impossible to vote for the Times‘s slate without casting two ballots. The value of a Times endorsement, perhaps, redounds solely to the Times, reflecting its vision of itself and how it wants to be seen.”
Alex Shephard of The New Republic said “the Times has turned the selection into a weeklong affair, a mix between Donald Trump’s The Apprentice and LeBron James’s ‘The Decision,'” the latter a reference to James’ infamous 75-minute program in 2010 where he announced at the end which team he would play for in 2010-2011 as the biggest free agent in NBA history at the time.