Rieder: GOP-leaning papers abandon Trump

What's Going On

The last time the 148-year-old San Diego Union-Tribune endorsed a Democrat was never.

But on Friday, the staunchly Republican Southern California daily broke sharply with its tradition andannounced it was supporting Hillary Clinton for president.

Describing her Republican rival, Donald Trump as “vengeful, dishonest and impulsive,” the paper, long-owned by the conservative Copley family and now belonging to Tronc (formerly Tribune Publishing), warned that Trump could drive the USA into chaos a la Hugo Chávez and Venezuela. Clinton, it said, is “the safe choice for the U.S. and for the world.”

The Union-Tribune is hardly alone. It’s the latest in a string of GOP-loving papers that have been unable to overcome their revulsion toward the strange, careening and at times frightening campaign put on by Trump. It’s yet another sign of his enormous power to disrupt.

The papers’ principled positions stand in sharp contrast to the approach taken by many Republican politicians, who have swallowed their sharp personal and political differences (and their qualms) and rallied around Trump. (Yes, Ted Cruz, we’re looking at you.) And in some cases the papers have paid a price, with canceled subscriptions and even a death threat.

The Houston Chronicle got things rolling July 29 with a stunningly early endorsementof Clinton. The Hearst-owned paper traditionally backs Republican presidential candidates, although it did support Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and Barack Obama in 2008 (but not 2012).

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