The New York Times editorial board, after meeting with each of the Democratic candidates running for president, has decided on an endorsement for that party’s nomination: and that endorsement is really two endorsements.
The decision was announced on an FX special called “The Choice,” where the 15-member editorial board debated thoroughly on the merits of each candidate. Political experience, electability, ideology, personality, charisma, and policy ideas were all discussed, with strengths and weaknesses being debated for each candidate on each aspect (and more).
Each of the candidates had positives that the board brought about; each of them had negatives that made them wary. It was clear the decision was highly deliberative, and by no means an easy one to make.
But ultimately, the choice — er, rather, choices, were made — for Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobucher.
The board noted in its final piece, released on Sunday evening concurrently with the announcement on FX, that voters faced a choice between “divergent visions for the party’s future.” One side wanted a radical overhaul of major institutions in America, while the other saw President Donald Trump as an “aberration,” and that voters would rather pick someone who would return the presidency to what it was before he took office.
— New York Times Opinion (@nytopinion) January 20, 2020
Because of those two different visions, the board made two different choices — with Warren representing the choice of the former camp, and Klobuchar the choice of the latter.
“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,” the board emphasized, seeing value in taking both paths.
“There will be those dissatisfied that this page is not throwing its weight behind a single candidate, favoring centrists or progressives,” the board wrote. “But it’s a fight the party itself has been itching to have since Mrs. Clinton’s defeat in 2016, and one that should be played out in the public arena and in the privacy of the voting booth. That’s the very purpose of primaries, to test-market strategies and ideas that can galvanize and inspire the country.”
Interestingly, only one of the two candidates endorsed is considered a “top-tier” candidate at this time. Warren is polling nationally in third place, beyond former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Those two garner 27 percent and 20 percent of the national vote among Democratic voters, respectively, with Warren taking in 19 percent, according to a recent Economist/YouGov poll.
That same poll only has Klobuchar taking in 3 percent of the vote nationally, again among Democratic-leaning voters who plan to take part in the primary process this year.
It will be interesting to see how or even if this endorsement helps one or both of these candidates. Will the Times’ endorsement boost Warren above Biden and Sanders? Will Klobuchar’s inclusion in the endorsement motivate voters to consider her in early-voting states? We’ll find out soon enough — the Iowa Caucus, the first-in-the-nation nominating contest, takes place in just two weeks.