Last evening, Donald Trump received an endorsement from Mark Levin, the conservative radio host who sounded sympathetic to Trump for months, then rediscovered his hostility to Trump, then went full #NeverTrump -- shortly after blasting people in that category as pro-Hillary "buffoons." As Katie noted earlier, Levin's rationale behind this shift is similar to that of fellow former Never Trumper Brad Thor, the popular thriller novelist who rescinded his anti-endorsement in a column at Hot Air over the summer. This morning, editors at the Dallas Morning News announced their recommendation of Hillary Clinton for president. "Big city newspaper endorses Democrat for public office" is virtually the definition of a "dog bites man" story, except the DMN is...different:
There is only one serious candidate on the presidential ballot in November. We recommend Hillary Clinton. We don't come to this decision easily. This newspaper has not recommended a Democrat for the nation's highest office since before World War II — if you're counting, that's more than 75 years and nearly 20 elections. The party's over-reliance on government and regulation to remedy the country's ills is at odds with our belief in private-sector ingenuity and innovation. Our values are more about individual liberty, free markets and a strong national defense. We've been critical of Clinton's handling of certain issues in the past. But unlike Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton has experience in actual governance, a record of service and a willingness to delve into real policy...Clinton has remained dogged by questions about her honesty, her willingness to shade the truth.
Her use of a private email server while secretary of state is a clear example of poor judgment. She should take additional steps to divorce allegations of influence peddling from the Clinton Foundation. And she must be more forthright with the public by holding news conferences, as opposed to relying on a shield of carefully scripted appearances and speeches...After nearly four decades in the public spotlight, 25 of them on the national stage, Clinton is a known quantity. For all her warts, she is the candidate more likely to keep our nation safe, to protect American ideals and to work across the aisle to uphold the vital domestic institutions that rely on a competent, experienced president. Hillary Clinton has spent years in the trenches doing the hard work needed to prepare herself to lead our nation. In this race, at this time, she deserves your vote.
One galling passage in this endorsement essay entails the editors asserting that despite her shortcomings, Clinton isn't guilty of the sorts of "conspiracies and cover-ups" of which she's accused by her opponents. It seems as though in convincing themselves that Hillary Clinton is the best choice for voters this fall, the DMN editors decided that her outright lies would be euphemized as "shading the truth," that her breathtakingly reckless, national security-compromising email scheme would be framed as mere "poor judgment," and that critics with the temerity to notice evidence of her influence peddling and shameless efforts to avoid accountability would be dismissed as insatiable "political hyenas." It's one thing to reach the conclusion that Hillary Clinton is less bad than Donald Trump. It's another proposition altogether to airbrush her extraordinary and disqualifying flaws in the process. For what it's worth, the paper's nod to Clinton reads much more like a comprehensive rejection of her opponent, whom the editors excoriated as a temperamentally-unfit non-conservative in a separate piece published yesterday:
Trump is — or has been — at odds with nearly every GOP ideal this newspaper holds dear. Donald Trump is no Republican and certainly no conservative...It's not easy to offer a shorthand list of such tenets, since Trump flips from one side to the other, issue after issue, sometimes within a single news cycle. Regardless, his ideas are so far from Republicanism that they have spawned a new description: Trumpism. We have no interest in a Republican nominee for whom all principles are negotiable, nor in a Republican Party that is willing to trade away principle for pursuit of electoral victory. Trump doesn't reflect Republican ideals of the past; we are certain he shouldn't reflect the GOP of the future. Donald Trump is not qualified to serve as president and does not deserve your vote.
The value of media endorsements is highly questionable these days, although occasional Black Swan-style developments can influence events. The Dallas Morning News backing a Democratic presidential ticket for the first time in more than three-quarters of a century certainly qualifies as a surprising and unusual turn, but will it have any impact in red Texas? Perhaps, but it seems unlikely -- unless you believe Hillary Clinton really has a one-point lead in the state, a highly suspect finding. I'll leave you with another call for GOP unity in order to defeat Mrs. Clinton, plus two theories on why some erstwhile right-leaning 'Never Trump' stalwarts are changing their tune:
The prospect of the figurative hanging of SCOTUS in the morning concentrates the mind wonderfully https://t.co/lw9BuNq2XY— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) September 7, 2016
No, Hugh, it's more a reflexive and understandable revulsion toward Clinton, combined a weakening of moral backbone. https://t.co/ShNExTD6u3— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) September 7, 2016