The New York Times has endorsed not one but two candidates for president: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. The paper described this move as “a break with convention,” while others (me) have described it as chaotic, because of course, only one person can be president, and before that happens, only one person can win their party’s nomination. Still, we live in chaotic times, so why not lean into it, I guess.
In its endorsement, the editorial board explains that we, the voters, must ultimately choose between “three sharply divergent visions of the future.” One is President Donald Trump’s, heavy on nationalism and corruption and saber rattling and environmental destruction, the Times says. On the Democratic side, candidates have essentially split into two camps: Those who view Trump “as an aberration and believe that a return to a more sensible America is possible,” i.e. moderates; and those who view Trump as “the product of political and economic systems so rotten that they must be replaced,” or progressives.
“Both the radical and the realist models warrant serious consideration,” the editorial board argues. “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.” And in the spirit of…forward momentum amid stasis, I suppose, they have selected Klobuchar as their moderate, and Warren as their progressive.
After a cumulative 12-plus hours interviewing all the Democratic candidates, the Times concluded that Sen. Bernie Sanders has innovative ideas, “most [of which] are overly rigid, untested and divisive.” He is unwilling to compromise, according to the Times, plus considering his age — 79 upon entering office — his health becomes a concern.
Warren, meanwhile, is a “gifted storyteller” with “the passion of a convert, a longtime Republican from Oklahoma and a middle-class family, whose work studying economic realities left her increasingly worried about the future of the country.” The Times appreciates that she has a detailed plan for everything, even if they suspect that a conservative judiciary would block her from implementing much of her agenda, and even if they believe that her “us-versus-them” rhetoric may prove alienating for certain voters, thereby making it more difficult to enact (for example) the public health care system she envisions. Even so, she is less divisive than Sanders, in the Times’ estimation, and holds appeal for some moderates. Therefore: endorsement.
As for the centrists, there’s Mayor Pete Buttigieg — too young, the Times insinuates: “We look forward to him working his way up.” There’s tech guy Andrew Yang, whom the board views as politically inexperienced (correct); billionaire ex-mayor Michael Bloomberg (whose “campaign approach reveals more about America’s broken system than his likelihood of fixing it,” zing); and former Vice President Joe Biden (“prone to verbal stumbles,” per the Times, and apparently unaware that “merely restoring the status quo will not get America where it needs to go as a society”).
Then there’s Klobuchar, “the very definition of Midwestern charisma, grit and sticktoitiveness,” with a “vision that goes beyond the incremental.” Her reportedly tough treatment of her staff — recall, the salad comb — does, for the Times, “raise serious questions about her ability to attract and hire talented people.” (?????) Still, Minnesotans love her, and her track record suggests to the paper that “the best chance to enact many progressive plans could be under a Klobuchar administration.” Boom: endorsement.
The Times acknowledges that you might be “dissatisfied” with its refusal to choose just one candidate, but invites you to bear in mind that these are just the primaries, and also, to deal with it.