Welcome to Orlando, Donald. We endorse anyone but YOU.


I have to congratulate the Orlando Sentinel for its endorsement today in the 2020 presidential election — of anyone but Donald Trump.

For those out there simple enough to believe that being for or against Trump is a matter of being a Republican or a Democrat, I should point out that this is a paper that practically always endorses the Republican. But like serious, thoughtful Republicans everywhere (a dwindling breed, although it includes most prominent conservative pundits, which makes it seem like a dominant view to those of us who take in our information from the written word), this board is apparently made up of Never Trumpers.

I’m not a regular reader of the Sentinel‘s edit page, but from afar I’ve always seen it as more or less center-right, based on the few times it has come to my attention (which admittedly could be misleading). For instance, in 1998, I briefly thought we were the first paper in the country to call for Bill Clinton’s resignation when he admitted lying to us — but I soon discovered the Sentinel had done so on the same day.

So… great minds and all that.

Here’s how today’s piece begins:

Donald Trump is in Orlando to announce the kickoff of his re-election campaign.

We’re here to announce our endorsement for president in 2020, or, at least, who we’re not endorsing: Donald Trump.

Some readers will wonder how we could possibly eliminate a candidate so far before an election, and before knowing the identity of his opponent.

Because there’s no point pretending we would ever recommend that readers vote for Trump.

After 2½ years we’ve seen enough.

Enough of the chaos, the division, the schoolyard insults, the self-aggrandizement, the corruption, and especially the lies….

From there, the piece gets into a long litany of his sins, any one of which would have ended a politician’s career, back before our country went stark, raving mad in 2016.

It’s a very well-reasoned piece, although none of the points in it should be a surprise, and the conclusion is inescapable to any thinking person.

It’s a nice, VERY early kickoff to the endorsement season. For that matter, it’s nice to see that some major metropolitan newspapers still do endorsements, or even have editorial boards. Only one in South Carolina still does…

26 thoughts on “Welcome to Orlando, Donald. We endorse anyone but YOU.

  1. bud

    The Orlando piece is ok but does not go NEARLY far enough. Trump is not the problem, he’s just a symptom. The real problem is the sycophants in the Republican Party who continue to carry this craven individuals water. The Sentinel should have done the right thing and recommended absolutely no vote for ANY Republican. Otherwise we just continue with the madness, Trump or no Trump. It is time to recognize where we are and not just pretend that this is a momentary lapse with the election of Trump and that after Trump we will have a Republican Party that is once again normal. Why so many otherwise intelligent people just can’t seem to understand the root of the problem is beyond me. I suggest that all Patriotic Americans do the right thing and pull the Democratic lever for ALL races next time they’re in the voting booth. Perhaps then the healing can begin.

    1. Bob Amundson

      bud, please hear me. It is so important that we change people’s minds in the “new” Trump centered Republican Party, and that is done by understanding the other side, using rational arguments to counter what they think. Yes, changing minds is tough (confirmation bias makes it tough), but name calling only reinforces beliefs. I enjoy, and agree with, your point of view more often than not. Let the other side call names, let them be binary, black and white. Playing dirty ends up with leaders like President Trump (it is hard to write his title, but I am following my principles).

      1. bud

        Who did I name call other than an accusation of sycophancy in the Republican party? I’m referring to those in congress like Lindsey Graham, Jim Jordan, Devin Nunez and Mitch McConnell. That’s what these guys are and I could not in good conscience suggest I feel otherwise.

          1. Bob Amundson

            I’m glad you clarified your original comment; I misunderstood.

            That is the sort of approach I try my best to take. Acknowledge understanding, accept some responsibility, be humble. bud, please understand I am not accusing you of not doing any of those three things.

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        There are a number of reasons I’m glad I no longer work in news. Just this morning, I was thinking how I would find it impossible to follow AP style and call him “President Trump.”

        Of course, I haven’t worked in news since Jan. 1, 1994. And all those years that I headed the editorial board, we pretty much had our own style. (For instance, we used courtesy titles, and the newsroom did not.) So I expect I’d experience a LOT of other culture-shock stuff if I worked in a newsroom again…

    2. David T

      So the only way a person would be considered patriotic is to vote the Democratic straight party line?

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Not in my view.

        I almost had a terrific argument with one of my fellow Smith staffers last year who went to vote early and voted a straight Democratic ticket. He’s a very intelligent young man whom I respect, so it kind of blew my mind. Because there are few things in politics I respect LESS than straight party voting…

        1. bud

          Because there are few things in politics I respect LESS than straight party voting…

          Would you respect a Trump, Lindsey Graham or Joe Wilson voter more than a straight party voter? Since there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to vote for a Republican (at one time I would have given a pass to state offices but not now) then the only other option is to vote for Democrats or one of the third party.

      1. David T

        Thank you for providing this blog, the comment section is worth at least one laugh per day. That three lettered guy cracks me up sometimes.

  2. Mr. Smith

    It’s great that the Sentinel wrote that. But practically every editorial page in the US came out against him in 2016, including some that had seldom or never not endorsed a Republican presidential candidate – and yet he still won. What’s more, voters knew practically everything about him that the editorial pointed to – and yet they still voted for him. So it’s hard to avoid concluding: that’s what his supporters like about him. They don’t want a president, they want an SOB-in-Chief who’ll tell everybody where to get off.

    A neighbor now has a new red cap to go with his MAGA cap, the new one says:
    “Make Them Cry Again 2020”

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      “So it’s hard to avoid concluding: that’s what his supporters like about him.”

      Yep. And that sickness in the electorate is what worries me more than Trump himself.

      Of course, I’m also pretty concerned about the spinelessness among Republicans who know better, but slavishly follow him anyway, because they’re terrified of the people you’re talking about…

      1. Doug Ross

        Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau appeared to have a very pleasant and productive meeting with Trump today. Seemed more convivial than earlier meetings.

        I’m just wondering if there is something about Trump in person in private that gets people to become less hostile about him. It obviously worked on Lindsey Graham.. Last week when one of Trump’s biggest foes (Jerry Nadler – NY) went into the hospital, Trump was on the phone with him wishing him the best and offering anything he could do to help. Part of it is just the New York style that Southerners don’t get… they like the brawling, verbal back-and-forth.

        1. Bill

          There is something about Trump and it has nothing to do with “style”;it’s called ‘human evil’,plain and simple.Read,”People of the Lie:The Hope for Healing Human Evil” by M. Scott Peck if you want to understand your man…

          1. Doug Ross

            Yeah, when you use terms like “human evil” to describe Trump, you end up devaluing true evil. He’s a buffoon.. But if 43% of the country thinks he’s doing fine as president, it’s likely he is not human evil. Ratcheting up the war of words by calling him a racist and misogynist just serve to embolden his supporters. But keep trying that tactic.. Worked great in 2016.

            1. Scout

              ‘ But if 43% of the country thinks he’s doing fine as president, it’s likely he is not human evil’ -Doug

              Is this still true if that 43% is deluded because they allow themselves to be taken in by his spin rather than looking at the evidence of their own lives.

              Is this still true if the people who are actually doing fine do so only to the detriment of other groups/issues (the poor, immigrants, public health, the environment)?

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              Of course he’s evil, Doug. He’s a narcissist who doesn’t give a damn about anyone but himself, and acts accordingly, day after day. That’s the essence of evil….

              Yes, and he’s a buffoon. And it’s easy to get distracted by that and forget the utter disregard for the rest of the human race that underlies it…

    2. Scout

      But do/did his voters really know those things about him? Our information systems are broken. I hope not beyond repair, but I don’t know. I think at least some of them surround themselves with only what they want to hear and really don’t know all those things. Some of them only hear them with bias and believe the spin that it is all fake news. Getting the info to them in a way they will actually hear it is a puzzle I can’t solve. Do people even know what objective means anymore, much less have the intellectual honesty or discipline to attempt to be it? I don’t know.

      But if you could somehow get them the information in a way that would bypass their filters and let them see things objectively by accident, if even for a minute, before their filters catch up, maybe you could get a toe hold. Somebody go figure out how to do that.

      1. Mr. Smith

        “But do/did his voters really know those things about him?”

        Well of course they do. The media landscape isn’t broken – not to that extent, it isn’t. If you restrict your media diet to Fox, conservative talk radio and conservative websites, then you, not the media, are to blame for your skewed perspective. If you reject everything that conflicts with that perspective as slanted, biased, “fake news,” then you’re at fault, not the media, for losing a grip on objectivity. And no one can save you from that but you. And if you’re willing to ignore all this president’s nastiness, cluelessness and recklessness just to get tax cuts and the rest, then that says something about your willingness to put personal advantage over the common interest.
        Most people have their character tested multiple times in life. Many failed the test held on November 8, 2016.

        1. Scout

          I agree it’s their fault if they are misinformed, and not the media’s. Doesn’t mean it is not happening. Yes, those people have failed the test in my book too. Still they are there, misinformed, and ready to vote again.

          Did you see the clip of this voter that made the rounds a few weeks ago….After hearing Mueller’s press conference, she said:

          “I was surprised to hear there was anything negative in the Mueller report at all about President Trump. I hadn’t heard that before,” she said. “I’ve mainly listened to conservative news and I hadn’t heard anything negative about that report and President Trump has been exonerated.”

          I swear, some of them really don’t know.

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