The conventional wisdom is that newspaper endorsements have little to no effect on voters in big national races, but Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has racked up a string of first-ever endorsements from a wide array of publications, including Nature, Scientific American, The New England Journal of Medicine, the Puerto Rican daily El Nuevo Día, and Surfer. On Tuesday, Biden got another one, from USA Today, one of the largest U.S. newspapers by circulation.
“This is not something we do lightly or do eagerly,” Bill Sternberg, head of USA Today‘s editorial board, told Axios. “In 2016, the conservative members of the editorial board could not stomach taking that one extra step and going so far as to endorse Hillary Clinton. … This time when it was a question of Joe Biden versus Donald Trump, there was a full consensus of the board not just to dis-endorse Donald Trump again, but to go that extra step and endorse Joe Biden.”
The editorial board suggested that anyone “still uncertain about which candidate to vote for, or whether to vote at all,” should “consider a variation of the question Republican Ronald Reagan asked voters when he ran for president in 1980: Is America better off now than it was four years ago?” Their answer was an emphatic no.
“If this were a choice between two capable major party nominees who happened to have opposing ideas, we wouldn’t choose sides,” USA Today‘s editorial board said. “But this is not a normal election, and these are not normal times. This year, character, competence, and credibility are on the ballot. Given Trump’s refusal to guarantee a peaceful transfer of power if he loses, so, too, is the future of America’s democracy.”
Biden has his flaws, the editorial board said, but he “is a worthy antidote to Trump’s unbounded narcissism and chronic chaos,” and “with his plans, his personnel picks, his experience, and his humanity, Joe Biden can help lead the United States out of this morass and into the future. Your vote can help make that happen.” The endorsement ended by hopefully predicting that “we may never endorse a presidential nominee again.” You can read the entire editorial, and the counterpoint from Vice President Mike Pence, at USA Today. Peter Weber