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January 21 2020

Why the NYTimes’ 2020 Endorsement of Two Women is No Choice At All

by Patrice Lee Onwuka

The New York Times couldn’t make up it’s mind this presidential election cycle and “in a break from convention,” passed the buck to voters. 

From the field of 15 candidates (12 Democrats and 3 Republicans), the Times selected two Democratic women--with very divergent views of where to lead our nation--as the best candidates to lead the country.

The message to voters: we can’t even make up our minds, so you’re on your own. 

Here's what's wrong with this non-choice choice:

First, the Times knows that you cannot have two presidents simultaneously. Voters will have just one choice.

Second, The Times assumes that the next president must be a woman. Surely, seeing a woman break the highest glass ceiling would be a tremendous accomplishment, but it should be a woman with policies and leadership that will continue to expand freedom and opportunities for all Americans and make our nation more prosperous, stronger economically, and safer here and abroad. Progress is not just electing a woman as president because she’s a woman.

Third, the editorial board didn’t even consider that the next best leader of our nation is already sitting in the White House. 

The board began by writing off President Trump’s vision for the future as “white nativism at home and America First unilaterialism abroad” which is their own colored perspective that ignores the tremendous gains for Americans of all colors: rock-bottom unemployment rates; millions of Americans lifted from poverty and welfare; a skyrocketing stock market; rising wages for low-age workers; new trade deals with our biggest trading partners that will help American businesses; and increased personal, business, and religious freedom.

The board ignored the candidate(s) on the right and solely focused on the left. In their assessment, the left's visions are the only visions that matter. They are wrong on that and half of America would agree.

Even among the left’s competing visions for America they could not choose. The editorial board continued:

American voters must choose between three sharply divergent visions of the future.

The Democratic primary contest is often portrayed as a tussle between moderates and progressives. To some extent that’s true...

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.

That’s why we’re endorsing the most effective advocates for each approach. They are Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar.

Perhaps when you narrow your choices to being between bad and worse, you choose the lesser of the two evils. But the editorial board didn’t even do that.

The New York Times was briskly and broadly panned for their non-choice choice.

In a CNN column enittled “The New York Times' utterly confusing 2020 endorsement,” Chris Cillizza opined:

But an endorsement isn't about effectively laying out the arguments within a party. It's about choosing an argument -- and a candidate who embodies that argument -- and then explaining to readers why that argument is superior.

Because when faced with the two competing visions within the Democratic Party to both beat Trump and lead the country, the Times decided not to choose. Which is, of course, a choice -- and not a good one.

Over at The New Republic, Alex Shephard called it a “charade” writing:

The Times editorial page has taken its reputation for careful, sober decision-making to the point of paralysis—calling into question all the ostensible reasons for opening up the endorsement process in the first place.

Social media was full of funny and not-so-funny slams against the Times as well. 

Perhaps the best response is to question the value of endorsements from media outlets at all. The editorial boards should be sources of sage wisdom and guidance based on analysis of unbiased reporting and facts. 

Increasingly, reporting is biased, facts are ignored and partisanship reigns. The market has responded with independent journalism to the benefit of voters and readers. That means the onus is on us as consumers to do our homework instead of relying on short-cuts like newspaper endorsements. 

At the end of the day, the New York Times has given readers yet another reason to question their value and they will.





Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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