Trump Time Capsule #121: USA Today

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.
The USA Today logo.

USA Today came into existence early in Ronald Reagan’s first term. Since then it has covered eight presidential races: Reagan-Mondale, Bush-Dukakis, Bush-Clinton, Clinton-Dole, Gore-Bush, Bush-Kerry, Obama-McCain, and Obama-Romney.

In none of those contests, with their significant differences in politics and personalities, has its editorial board expressed a specific preference for or against a candidate. Just now, in its ninth race, it has.

The editorial it has placed online, under the headline “Don’t Vote for Trump,” begins:

In the 34-year history of USA TODAY, the Editorial Board has never taken sides in the presidential race. Instead, we’ve expressed opinions about the major issues and haven’t presumed to tell our readers, who have a variety of priorities and values, which choice is best for them….

This year, the choice isn’t between two capable major party nominees who happen to have significant ideological differences. This year, one of the candidates — Republican nominee Donald Trump — is, by unanimous consensus of the Editorial Board, unfit for the presidency.

It goes on to make the case in detail.

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As a reminder, in the “things that have not happened before” category, this follows: the Arizona Republic, endorsing a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time ever; the Dallas Morning News, doing the same thing for the first time in modern history; similarly for the Cincinnati Enquirer; similarly for major business leaders and many others.  Noted for the record with just over 39 days to go, and early voting underway.