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Conservative papers break long tradition of endorsing Republican candidate

Sep 29, 2016

The Detroit News broke its 143-year tradition today of endorsing the Republican candidate for president by endorsing Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

And, on Sept. 21, the Cincinnati Enquirer broke a similarly long tradition of endorsing the Republican candidate for president by endorsing Hillary Clinton.

Ingrid Jacques, Detroit News deputy editorial page editor, and Peter Bhatia, editor and vice president of Audience Engagement for the Cincinnati Enquirer, joined Stateside to explain the decisions.

Detroit News picks Johnson

“I think we surprised quite a few people with our endorsement today,” Jacques said. “But basically, we were given a field of candidates that made this choice something we saw as our only option.”

She said the editorial board found Johnson to be “probably the most honorable” of this year’s candidates.

On the same day the Detroit News crafted its endorsement of Gary Johnson, he was on MSNBC with host Chris Matthews. There, he was unable to name a single foreign leader he admires.

“I think where he lacks the most, and it’s quite well known, is in his knowledge, or lack thereof, of foreign policy,” Jacques said. “And that is something, when he visited with us two weeks ago, we talked to him for about an hour and we really grilled him on his stance on foreign policy. And, for the most part, he gave us pretty good answers and we felt confident enough that if he were in the office, he would do the job well and he would honor current agreements with other nations. He said he’d support NATO, so he assuaged most of our fears in that regard.”

She said Donald Trump, on the other hand, would be “dangerous” in office.

“He’s so unpredictable and I think he would be worse news for the United States,” Jacques said.

Cincinnati Enquirer picks Clinton

For the first time since Woodrow Wilson,  the Cincinnati Enquirer​ chose to endorse a Democrat for president.

The paper's five editorial board members came to a unanimous decision.

“After much deliberation, it turned out to be a consensus of all five of us," Bhatia said. "All five of us independently came to the conclusion that the right choice was Hillary Clinton.”

The editorial said "our reservations about Clinton pale in comparison to our fears about Trump."  

You can hear the full conversation above.

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