The Wall Street Journal traditionally does not make presidential endorsements. So when a member of the editorial board of the most-prominent conservative publication in the country endorses Hillary Clinton for president, a flash goes off in your mind of where this election is probably headed.
“It will be either Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton—experienced, forward-looking, indomitably determined and eminently sane,” wrote Dorothy Rabinowitz, a longtime member of the Journal’s editorial board. “Her election alone is what stands between the American nation and the reign of the most unstable, proudly uninformed, psychologically unfit president ever to enter the White House.”
Strong words from a conservative voice that should be automatically aligned with the Republican presidential nominee. The Pulitzer Prize-winner Rabinowitz has served on the Journal’s board since 1996.
She unleashed on Trump in a column headlined “Hillary-Hatred Derangement Syndrome.”
“The NeverHillary forces are another matter entirely—citizens well aware of the darker aspects of Donald Trump’s character but who have nonetheless concluded that they should give him their vote,” wrote Rabinowitz. “They are aware of his casual disregard for truth, his self-obsession, his ignorance, his ingrained vindictiveness. Not even the first presidential debate, which saw him erupt into a snarling aside about Rosie O’Donnell, could loosen his hold on that visceral drive to inflict payback, in this case over a feud 10 years old.”
In 1999, Rabinowitz wrote an editorial supporting Juanita Broaddrick, a woman who had alleged then President Bill Clinton had raped her when he was an official in Arkansas. She has also written in support of past Republican presidential nominees including Sen. John McCain. But, she says, Trump suffers from an “impulse-driven character, his insatiable need for applause, the head-turning effect on him of an approving word from Vladimir Putin.”
The editorial states that Clinton has her own questions to answer, including Benghazi, her private email server and the Clinton Foundation. “Even so, such proclivities pale next to the occasion for cringing that would come with a Trump presidency,” wrote Rabinowitz. “No one witnessing Mr. Trump’s primary race—his accumulation of Alt-Right cheerleaders, white supremacists and swastika devotees—could fail to notice the menacing tone and the bitterness that came with it.”
The Wall Street Journal is not alone in its assessment of the presidential race. Other leading conservative-leaning newspapers including the Arizona Republic, Cincinnati Enquirer, Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle have all written critical editorials against Trump and endorsed Clinton.
USA Today, the top circulated paper in the country, slammed Trump yesterday calling him erratic, ill-equipped, prejudiced, reckless and a serial liar.
Newspaper endorsements in presidential races generally do not often sway voters, but they can spark conversations allowing those who have a “funny feeling” about a candidate to become comfortable not supporting them.
Rabinowitz believes “NeverHillary” conservatives need to reconsider supporting Trump, and points to a moment at the Democratic National Convention as the reason why.
“Not for nothing did the Democrats bring off a triumph of a convention, alive with cheer, not to mention its two visitors whose story would lift countless American hearts. They were, of course, the Muslim couple Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son, Capt. Humayun Khan—brought here as a child—died in Iraq in 2004, saving his men from an explosive-rigged car.
His countrymen now go streaming to his grave at Arlington National Cemetery to leave notes and flowers. He reminded us of who we are—the nation that takes its newcomers and transforms them into Americans. After 9/11, Capt. Khan, American, could scarcely wait to serve his country. The national response to the Khans injected a sense of unity and affirmation, however brief, into an atmosphere of embittering divisiveness.”