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Two Southern conservative newspapers bolt from Trump

Dallas Morning News endorses Hillary Clinton; Richmond Post-Dispatch opts for Johnson

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

southern states smDALLAS (CFP) — Two major Southern newspapers that are normally stalwartly Republican on their editorial pages have broken with the party for the first time in decades in refusing to endorse Donald Trump for president.

The Dallas Morning News endorsed Hillary Clinton, the first time Texas’s largest newspaper has endorsed a Democrat since before World War II. The Richmond Times-Dispatch endorsed Libertarian Gary Johnson, ending a string of Republican presidential endorsements stretching back to 1980.

The Morning News editorial board not only endorsed Clinton, it ran a separate, scathing editorial calling Trump unqualified to be president and urging readers not to vote for him.

“Donald Trump is no Republican and certainly no conservative,” the editorial said. “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.”

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton

While Clinton has “real shortcomings,” including showing “poor judgment” in using a private email server when she was secretary of state, the paper told its readers that, in comparison, Trump is worse.

“Unlike Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton has experience in actual governance, a record of service and a willingness to delve into real policy,” the editorial said. “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.”

Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson

Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson

The  Times-Dispatch endorsed Johnson in a September 4 editorial, despite the fact that Virginia’s junior U.S. Senator, Tim Kaine, is Clinton’s vice presidential running mate.

“Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton meets the fundamental moral and professional standards we have every right to expect of an American president,” the editorial said. “Fortunately, there is a reasonable — and formidable — alternative.”

The Richmond paper called Johnson, a former two-term governor of New Mexico, “a man of good integrity, apparently normal ego and sound ideas. Sadly, in the 2016 presidential contest, those essential qualities make him an anomaly.”

The paper also said that while Kaine’s presence on the Democratic ticket “flatters” Virginia, “it is futile to vote for a presidential candidate because one likes the vice presidential nominee.”

The Times-Dispatch has endorsed every Republican presidential candidate since 1980. The GOP candidate carried Virginia in every election from 1968 until 2008, when Barack Obama moved the Old Dominion into the Democratic column.

The last time the Morning News did not endorse the GOP standard-bearer was in 1964, when it remained neutral in the contest between Democratic President Lyndon Johnson, a Texan running against Republican U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona. It had not endorsed a Democrat since throwing its support to Franklin Roosevelt in 1940, as World War II loomed.

A Democrat has not carried Texas in the presidential race since 1976.

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