Photos: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons license 2.0

The New York Times decided that for its big 2020 Democratic primary endorsement, two weeks ahead of the Iowa caucuses, it would "[experiment] with a new level of openness." Instead of just pooping out an endorsement that wouldn't ultimately make a lot of difference to voters, the Grey Lady's editorial board would publish the full transcripts of interviews with candidates, and unveil the recipient of this major award on a special live edition of the paper's FX/Hulu TV show, "The Weekly." Then it would poop out the endorsement that wouldn't ultimately make a lot of difference to voters. Which may lead some cynics to suggest the whole exercise had as much to do with ginning up attention for the Times across multiple platforms as with making the endorsement process any more transparent.

And then, after all the buildup, the Times endorsed two ladies, neither of whom is grey: Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar.

The endorsement editorial says 2020 voters have to choose between three visions for governance. Donald Trump's dumpster fire of nationalism, corruption, and cruelty, or the two broad flavors of Democratic progressivism: centrist incrementalism that hopes replacing Trump will bring America back to its senses, or bigger, more structural changes promoted by Dems who believe Trump is "the product of political and economic systems so rotten that they must be replaced." That's actually not a bad analysis as far as it goes.

But in the most New York Times-y move ever, the paper endorsed one candidate from each camp so it wouldn't have to actually put its feet down in either. Donald Trump is a pox on America. If you want a cure, you should consider either taking this nice aspirin tablet or switching to single payer like sane countries have.

The Times at least has the almost-courage to suggest they leaned Warren but then wussed out and added Klobuchar for "balance":

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. 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.

There are legitimate questions about whether our democratic system is fundamentally broken. Our elections are getting less free and fair, Congress and the courts are increasingly partisan, foreign nations are flooding society with misinformation, a deluge of money flows through our politics. And the economic mobility that made the American dream possible is vanishing.

Both the radical and the realist models warrant serious consideration. If there were ever a time to be open to new ideas, it is now. If there were ever a time to seek stability, now is it.

That's why we're endorsing the most effective advocates for each approach. They are Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar.

We like the part where the editorial board says this is a "time to seek stability" but doesn't quite make an actual case that all we need is a new, non-Trump president to restore that stability. Then the editorial moves quickly past that don't-make-us-decide moment into the various strengths of each candidate.

It's exactly the sort of muddy middle-ism we'd expect from the editorial home of David Brooks. Also, is this really the year to embrace the norms of reality TV? Seems like that's been part of the problem.

Also, the board includes this casually racist bullshit in an editorial published in 2020, because look at all the turmoil in our world! (Emphasis very much added.)

There has been a wildfire burning in Australia larger than Switzerland. The Middle East is more unstable at this moment than at any other time in the past decade, with a nuclear arms race looking more when than if. Basket-case governments in several nations south of the Rio Grande have sent a historic flood of migrants to our southern border. Global technology companies exert more political influence than some national governments. White nationalists from Norway to New Zealand to El Paso use the internet to share ideas about racial superiority and which caliber of rifle works best for the next mass killing.

We missed the hiring announcement when Steve Bannon was added to the NYT editorial board. (We checked; Brett Stephens isn't on the board either.)

The framing is essentially Donald Trump's view of immigration, minus the rapists and murderers, but with the drug dealers possibly implied. Brown people can't govern themselves, which is why those basket cases are "sending" immigrants to el Norte. In a flood! Are they perhaps coming in hordes, or swarms? Is it an invasion? And how did those governments get to be such "basket cases," huh? Couldn't have anything to do with corporate and geopolitical forces from their neighbors to the north, which made them susceptible to the rise of strongmen -- like the one who's now, with plenty of help, shaking the Grey Lady's faith in American institutions -- could it? How about we also add in the climate disaster that's also driving the Australian bushfires?

Still, bless their hearts, the nice veteran journamalists on the board tried. And by endorsing two people, they erased any relevance for endorsements, at least until maybe we adopt ranked-order voting.

Wonder if they'd like to help Yr Wonkette sell some hats?

[NYT/ NYT / Variety]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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