The New York Times announced late Sunday that its editorial board was breaking “from convention” and will endorse two candidates for president in 2020: Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
The paper’s endorsement has traditionally been one of the most coveted for a Democratic politician. The editorial board wrote that in choosing these two candidates, it recognizes that both “radical” and “realist” models should be considered.
The paper said it spent more than 12 hours with the candidates before coming to its conclusion.
“The history of the editorial board would suggest that we would side squarely with the candidate with a more traditional approach to pushing the nation forward, within the realities of a constitutional framework and a multiparty country,” the editorial read. “But the events of the past few years have shaken the confidence of even the most committed institutionalists. We are not veering away from the values we espouse, but we are rattled by the weakness of the institutions that we trusted to undergird those values.”
The paper called Warren a “gifted storyteller” who has “emerged as a standard-bearer for the Democratic left.” The editorial board called her path to the White House is “challenging, but not hard to envision.”
Klobuchar was described as the “standard-bearer,” but for the party’s center. The paper gushed that she is the very definition of “Midwestern charisma, grit and sticktoitiveness.”
The paper pointed to her goals of slashing childhood poverty, achieve 100 percent net-zero emissions by 2050 and her push for a more robust public option in healthcare. He moderate approach to governing would make for a formidable deal maker in Washington, the editorial wrote.
Reports on how she treats her staff “gave us pause,” but she pledged to do better in the future, the paper wrote.
Perhaps as important as who the paper endorsed is who it did not.
Joe Biden, the former vice president who continues to lead in polls, but his agenda does not go far enough on issues like climate and health care, the board wrote. The editorial board also wrote that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., appeared to have missed his moment. The paper pointed out that he would be 79 when he’s sworn in and has recently suffered a heart attack. “His health is a serious concern,” it wrote.
The paper said it is looking forward to watching South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg develop as a politician and said it was impressed with his resume, but it also pointed out that he never won more than 11,000 votes. The paper said it hopes Andrew Yang, the entrepreneur, also continues to work in politics and recommended looking to New York to get started.
Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor who the editorial board endorsed twice, falls short of the editorial board’s aspirations for 2020. The editorial pointed to issues like barring his own media company from investigating him and his refusal to let women who signed nondisclosure settlements speak to the media. The paper said his campaign approach “reveals more about America’s broken system than his likelihood of fixing it.”