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McWilliams: The NYT wants unity, but their endorsement is the opposite

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Since 1860, the New York Times editorial board has given a presidential endorsement, encouraging their readership to put their civic energy behind a certain candidate. Whether it’s Abe Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt or Hillary Clinton, the NYT editorial staff has provided researched pieces for their readers. This year, NYT is endorsing Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren, giving their readers anything but clarity or direction.

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When writing an editorial, there are a few things to keep in mind to avoid confusing readers and keeping yourself credible: don’t contradict yourself, acknowledge counterpoints and support your opinion with strong facts. The NYT endorsement fails to do any of these.

In the beginning of the editorial, NYT states, “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.” In and of itself, this statement is contradictory.

Political change is not stable — any history class can tell you that much. Changing policy means changing our way of life, whether that be climate policy, foreign policy or health care. Realistically, we cannot have both.

One could argue that the NYT endorsement does include counterpoints, discussing the positive attributes of other candidates such as Joe Biden, Andrew Yang and Pete Buttigieg. However, a lot of this Klobuchar and Warren endorsement is dedicated to why they chose to not endorse Bernie Sanders.

They state that “Mr. Sanders would be 79 when he assumed office, and after an October heart attack, his health is a serious concern. … He boasts that compromise is anathema to him. Only his prescriptions can be the right ones, even though most are overly rigid, untested and divisive. He promises that once in office, a groundswell of support will emerge to push through his agenda.”

This counterargument is both misleading and confusing, with not much to stand on. Stating that Sanders will get a “groundswell of support” once he’s in office is misleading in implying that Sanders doesn’t currently have support for his ideas. In reality, he received the largest number of donations in history. Attacking Sanders’ age is also misleading, considering that Warren and Biden are 70 and 77 respectively, both of which aren’t discussed in the editorial.

They’re endorsing Warren for the more progressive readers and Klobuchar for the moderates — which is splitting their readership into two categories and showing that they’re seemingly unwilling to compromise on one single candidate.”

While the editorial staff has the right to have an opinion on Sanders’ rhetoric and policies, it doesn’t make sense for them to write multiple paragraphs as to why they don’t endorse Sanders when they have one paragraph dedicated to each of the other candidates’ positive qualities. It makes it feel as though their endorsement is anti-Sanders, not pro-Klobuchar and Warren.

The editorial is also misleading its readers by not giving all the facts. They state that Warren “speaks elegantly of how the economic system is rigged against all but the wealthiest Americans and of ‘our chance to rewrite the rules of power in our country,’ as she put it in a speech last month.”

While Warren did say these things, Warren also has a history of receiving support from Wall Street, receiving big money donations and claiming to be a “capitalist to her bones.”

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While none of these dispute the NYT’s original fact, they show that Warren, like most politicians, tend to cater to the audience they’re talking to and don’t always practice what they preach.

Finally, the endorsement is contradictory because they’re endorsing two candidates. The purpose of an endorsement is to encourage readership to support one certain person. The NYT editorial claims that the left needs to unify and compromise, yet they aren’t doing so in their endorsement.

They’re endorsing Warren for the more progressive readers and Klobuchar for the moderates — which is splitting their readership into two categories and showing that they’re seemingly unwilling to compromise on one single candidate.

Endorsing more than one candidate is confusing and contradicting. The NYT is failing its readers by endorsing both Klobuchar and Warren.

Leta McWilliams can be reached at letters@collegian.com and on Twitter @LetaMcWilliams.

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