The Slatest

San Diego Union-Tribune Breaks 148-Year Tradition To Endorse Clinton

Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally at Wake Technical Community College on Sept. 27 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The San Diego Union-Tribune has become the latest in what is a growing number of traditionally conservative newspapers that are expressing support for the Democratic candidate for president. The San Diego paper’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton marks the first time in its 148-year history that it has endorsed a Democratic candidate for president.

In the editorial, the paper spends a long time explaining why the prospect of a president Donald Trump is so frightening.

“We could see an administration that’s friendlier to ruthless Russia … that reneges on its treaty commitments … that ruins U.S. trustworthiness in international finance … that launches a trade war … [and] with an open enemies list,” notes the Union-Tribune.

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Not that Clinton is ideal mind you.

“We understand the lack of enthusiasm for her candidacy, the anger over her private email server, family foundation and income from Wall Street speeches, and the questions about how America fared in foreign affairs when she was secretary of state,” the endorsement reads. “But despite Trump’s insistence otherwise, she has the better temperament to be president—and the experience, background and relationships with world leaders that we need in a president.”

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The Union-Tribune’s endorsement came mere days after the Arizona Republic endorsed the first Democratic presidential candidate in its 126-year history. Earlier, the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Dallas Morning News, and Houston Chronicle all broke with tradition to endorse Clinton.

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It is precisely these types of unexpected endorsements that could actually make a difference with voters. A widely cited 2008 Pew Research Center study found that newspaper endorsements really don’t change minds. But studies suggest that people do pay attention when the endorsement is unexpected.

The question now, points out the Los Angeles Times, is what the Wall Street Journal will do. The Rupert Murdoch–owned paper has long backed Republicans, but it has also criticized Trump at great length. Earlier this week, a Wall Street Journal editorial board member wrote a column expressing support for Clinton.

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign. 

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