Birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim, and Republicans gotta get the endorsement of the Columbus Dispatch.
For 100 years the conservative editorial board of this newspaper could be counted on to endorse the GOP nominee. In four elections, with the nation at war, they never backed Franklin D. Roosevelt. Or Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy or Bill Clinton for that matter.
They have always been a loyal Republican soldier.
So it’s really, really something when the Columbus Dispatch — in the swingiest part of this ultimate swingstate — writes in its Sunday paper:
Republican candidate Donald Trump is unfit to be president of the United States. Democrat Hillary Clinton, despite her flaws, is well-equipped for the job.
Is the universe still spinning?
The endorsement of a Democrat is shocking because it has never happened in our lifetime. Not once. In my book Front Row Seat at the Circus I describe how close the Dispatch came to endorsing John Kerry over George W. Bush in 2004. The paper had been strongly opposed to the war in Iraq — much like Trump — but in the end, they stuck with the Republican.
But Trump was the last straw.
“The Dispatch traditionally has endorsed Republican presidential candidates, but Trump does not espouse or support traditional Republican values, such as fiscal prudence, limited government and free trade, not to mention civility and decency,” the editorial reads. “We are disappointed that so many Republican leaders have accommodated a narcissistic, morally bankrupt candidate who is so clearly out of step with those values.”
Trump’s failure to earn the endorsement of the Columbus Dispatch especially hurts because Ohio is a must-win state for him. No Republican in history has ever won the White House without the help of Ohio’s electoral votes. Columbus is considered the most moderate part of the state and often determines which way Ohio goes in presidential elections.
“Trump has proved himself a liar of epic proportion,” the editorial reads. “He is a bigot, a braggart and an admirer of foreign thugs such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin. He is reckless and thin-skinned. He has demeaned Mexicans, demonized Muslims, insulted women and mocked the disabled.”
The conservative editorial board of the Dispatch isn’t alone.
A Wall Street Journal editorial endorsed Clinton last week, predicting Donald Trump would be “the most unstable, proudly uninformed, psychologically unfit president ever to enter the White House.”
The top circulated paper in the country, USA Today, has never taken a side in a presidential race, but last week called Trump “erratic, ill-equipped, prejudiced, reckless and a serial liar.”
The San Diego Union-Tribune endorsed its first Democrat ever, calling Trump “vengeful, dishonest and impulsive” while Clinton has “the experience, background and relationships with world leaders that we need in a president.”
The Arizona Republic had never endorsed a Democrat in its 126 year history but they endorsed Clinton saying, “Clinton has the temperament and experience to be president, Donald Trump does not.”
The Cincinnati Enquirer had not endorsed a Democrat in 100 years, but endorsed Clinton, slamming Trump as a “clear and present danger” to the country.
In Texas, the Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle both endorsed the Democrat for the first time in decades. The Morning News blasted Trump, saying his “values are hostile to conservatism. He plays on fear, exploiting base instincts of xenophobia, racism and misogyny, to bring out the worst in all of us, rather than the best.” The Chronicle wasn’t any nicer, saying Trump “is a danger to the Republic.”