One of the country’s largest newspapers, USA Today, has broken its longstanding tradition of not weighing into presidential elections when it endorsed Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
USA Today’s editorial board head Bill Sternberg described the situation as “not something we do lightly or do eagerly.”
The editorial board did not reach a consensus in 2016 when President Trump ran against Hillary Clinton but ultimately did so this year.
“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,” Sternberg said via Axios.
He continued: “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, who is a less polarizing and less controversial figure than Hillary Clinton.”
Sternberg said the 2020 election is not normal and “these are not times” so his outlet felt it right to endorse Biden.
“If this were a choice between two capable major party nominees who happened to have opposing ideas, we wouldn’t choose sides,” he said. “Different voters have different concerns 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,” Sternberg added,
As Axios reports, USA Today regularly shares editorial statements supporting both candidates and did so on Tuesday when it shared an editorial from Vice President Mike Pence.
Pence agreed that this year brought “unprecedented challenges” but that Trump was the man to continue leading the country.
“There is no doubt that 2020 has been a time of unprecedented challenges,” Pence said in the editorial. “Thankfully, we have a president with the toughness, energy and resolve to en- sure that America’s best days still lie ahead. A vote to reelect President Trump is a vote for a safer, stronger and more prosperous America.”
The election has triggered many news companies to endorse a candidate for the first time in their history. This is especially true for science and medical outlets.
- Scientific American backed Biden in first endorsement in its 175-year history.
- Lancet Oncology backed Biden in first endorsement in its 20-year history.
- New England Journal of Medicine, for the first time in its 208-year-old history, came the closest it’s ever come to giving an endorsement but publishing a scathing rebuke of the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus.
- Nature endorsed Joe Biden last week.