By this time we’ve all grown accustomed to the age old practice of newspaper editorial boards offering their “endorsements” of candidates in elections at nearly every level across the nation. Given the makeup of most mainstream newspaper overlords, that means hoping that the Democrat wins. But during primary season they somehow feel obligated to offer a similar thumbs up to one of the Republicans, generally representing a reflection of either which one is closer to being a Democrat in their policies or the one the editors believe will be the easiest for the Democrat to beat in the general election.
This season is different, however, because of the presence of Donald J. Trump in the presidential race. He’s turned everything else on its head, so it’s no surprise that he would cause an evolution in the newspaper endorsement game as well. The Washington Post editorial board has fallen full force into this expectation as we learned this week. Following Trump’s sweep of the northeast corridor and improved chances of securing the nomination outright, the WaPo Lords have taken it upon themselves to endorse the idea of splitting the Republican Party and signing up more people to the #NeverTrump movement. They do this by warning against the foul, evil temptation for Republicans to unify behind the nominee if his name rhymes with “bump.”
They shouldn’t — because Mr. Trump is not a typical candidate. He is a unique threat to the Republican Party and to the country. The party should reject him as a nominee, using any and all legitimate means to do so. Principled Republicans must make a concerted stand in Indiana and California, the two states left to vote that could keep Mr. Trump short of the 1,237 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination. As long as there is opportunity to resist his rise, those who recognize what he is must take it. This is not because beating Mr. Trump is a likely outcome. It is because, morally, there is no other option. New math does not change the ethical calculation.
Rather than picking the supposed best candidate to support, the helpful masters at the Washington Post have chosen to define what is or is not “morally” acceptable in civilized society and found Mr. Trump wanting. Oh really? I don’t suppose it has anything to do with the fact that their corporate policy is to support the Democrats and denigrate conservatives at each and every opportunity. Naw.. .that couldn’t be it.
The fact is that the WaPo editors want Hillary Clinton to win. Or, failing that, Bernie Sanders. Anyone but the GOP. This underlying motive becomes clear when you look at their prescription for what Republicans of good conscience “need to do” if and when Trump is the actual nominee. (Emphasis added)
If Mr. Trump nevertheless got the GOP nomination, many Republicans would face a similar dilemma to the one they face now. Once again, appeals to party unity and victory in November would offer them excuses to ignore the simple moral calculation required to recognize Mr. Trump’s unacceptability. In fact, they would have at least three ways to avoid making this error — voting for Ms. Clinton, running a third-party conservative candidate or refusing to vote at all. None of these options promises to put a Republican in the White House. But each would at least spare some Republicans the moral stain of association with Mr. Trump.
Isn’t that interesting, not to mention convenient? The Washington Post editorial board offers us a dizzying array of three acceptable options. One is to run a third party candidate who would siphon off votes almost exclusively from Hillary Clinton’s opponent. The next is to stay home, with each person doing that adding up to essentially half a vote for the Democrats. And the final option, of course, is to come on over to the dark side and vote for Clinton directly. All three of these options are basically the same as that last one and clearly what the WaPo board desires in the first place.
Thanks a bunch, editors. Next time I’m drowning I’ll keep an eye out for you to toss me an anchor.