One of the most striking features of this rubberneckable presidential campaign is the extent to which the nomination of historically repellant candidates has done shockingly little to dislodge political-class types out of their two-party operating systems. While the little people in the polling booths are set to give Gary Johnson the largest third-party vote since Ross Perot’s 8 percent 20 years ago, Jill Stein the largest Green Party vote since Ralph Nader in 2000, and possibly some rando named Evan McMullin the first non-Democrat/Republican victory in a state since 1968, the politicians, journalists, and court jesters who are Serious About Politics for a living keep telling us to bite the pillow rather than risk the future of the republic by voting for someone we don’t despise.
You can see this in the threadbare list of office-holding politicians willing to admit they’re voting for the third-place finisher, and you can see it in this running Wikipedia list of daily newspaper editorial endorsements, just 3 percent of which affirmatively support a candidate with neither “D” nor “R” tattooed on their chest.
The major political parties need a wake-up call, and simply voting in a status quo, traditional two-party candidate in November won’t do it, no matter how many, or how few, voters turn in ballots. […]
We had the opportunity to meet with McMullin and his running mate, Mindy Finn, and came away impressed with their desire to be the face of a new conservative movement in this country. We believe their platform aligns with Utah values — including equality for all, reining in government spending, particularly entitlements, reforming the corporate tax rate, cutting excessive regulation and establishing responsible global leadership. […]
We believe McMullin and Finn when they say they are standing on principle. And we fully support McMullin’s statement that he “would seek to be the weakest president of modern times” in an effort to cede political power to the legislative branch of government and individual states.
With the McMullin endorsement, our unofficial count in the daily editorial wars stands like this: Hillary Clinton 215, Donald Trump 8, Gary Johnson 6, Evan McMullin 1.
That’s quite the change from one month ago, when a Chicago Tribune endorsement of Johnson put the tally at a much more Libertarian-friendly 13 Clinton, 6 Johnson, 0 Trump. Of particular disappointment to the Libertarian Party is the non-endorsement by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, which was the only daily to endorse Johnson back in 2012. (Explained the paper: “We continue to believe the Republican Party offers the best hope for the country and are supporting Republicans throughout the ballot, as has been the tradition for this page [with the exception of 2012 when it endorsed libertarian Gary Johnson for president]. We could never endorse Clinton, do not choose to recommend a third-party candidate and never would advise anyone not to vote.”)
It was The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Indiana, that put the GOP nominee over the Libertarian Friday with a nose-holding exercise headlined “Let’s keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House.” Trump now has two more endorsements than he does anti-endorsements in the form of anybody-but-Trump editorials, so I guess the ed-board unanimity has been broken. And now there’s even a #NeverHillary editorial, from The Advertiser-Tribune of Tiffin, Ohio.
Still, if Donald Trump wins next Tuesday, it will be the biggest advertisement for impotence (of newspaper editorials) this side of a Bob Dole commercial.