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Will Any Major Newspapers In Texas Endorse Donald Trump?

The Republican nominee is already in a 5-0 hole.

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Shaun Heasley/Getty

Between the three newspapers with the largest circulations in Texas—the Houston Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the San Antonio Express-News—there have been exactly two endorsements of a Democratic presidential nominee in the last forty years (the Chronicle and Express-News backed Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, respectively). This year, however, all three papers have endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, the first time the trio has gone completely blue in at least 75 years. This weekend, two smaller Texas papers, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and the El Paso Times, also raised their flags for Clinton. That’s a 5-0 newspaper endorsement lead for the Democratic nominee in Texas—a lead that jumps to 6-0 if you count the endorsement of the University of Texas-Austin’s student paper, the Daily Texan. This is fairly shocking considering Texas hasn’t voted Democrat since a peanut farmer named Jimmy Carter won the presidency in 1976.

There’s about a month left until election day, and plenty of Texas newspapers still have yet to make an endorsement. But it’s worth noting that Texas seems to be part of a nationwide trend that’s seeing papers that have historically backed conservative candidates turn away from Republican nominee Donald Trump. The Cincinnati Enquirer went with a Democrat for the first time in nearly a century. The Arizona Republic had never chosen a non-Republican since it started publishing in 1890, until it endorsed Clinton last week. And the San Diego Union-Tribune broke a 148-year streak of endorsing Republicans on Friday when it implored its readers not to vote for Trump.

The Dallas Morning News‘s streak was nearly as impressive, stretching back to 1940, when the paper backed Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his successful campaign for a third term. “We don’t come to this decision easily,” the Morning News wrote in an editorial explaining the Clinton endorsement in September. “Resume vs. resume, judgment vs. judgment, this election is no contest.” The newspaper went on to say “Trump’s values are hostile to conservatism,” and that he “plays on fear… to bring out the worst in all of us.” The story garnered more than 3,500 online comments and drew about a dozen protesters to the steps of the Morning News‘ building in downtown Dallas. The endorsement also seemed to rile up the Republican nominee himself:

The Houston Chronicle was an early endorser of Clinton, jumping on board way back in July. Like the Morning News, the Chronicle pulled no punches, writing: “Any one of Trump’s less-than-sterling qualities—his erratic temperament, his dodgy business practices, his racism, his Putin-like strongman inclinations and faux-populist demagoguery, his contempt for the rule of law, his ignorance—is enough to be disqualifying. His convention-speech comment, ‘I alone can fix it,’ should make every American shudder. He is, we believe, a danger to the Republic.” Meanwhile, the San Antonio Express-News chose not to analyze the characters of Trump and Clinton and instead focused on policy issues, eventually concluding that “Clinton is the only logical choice in this presidential election.” Before their recent Obama endorsements, the last time the papers picked a Democrat was 1976, when the Express-News endorsed Jimmy Carter, and 1964, when both the Chronicle and the Express-News endorsed Lyndon B. Johnson.

The El Paso Times went after Trump pretty hard for his border policies and his well-documented racist outbursts against Hispanic people. “A Trump presidency would be a disaster for our country, and worse for those of us on the border,” the newspaper wrote in an editorial. “His promises to make Mexico pay for a needless wall between our nations, and his vow to unilaterally terminate vital trade agreements, would disrupt one of the United States’ most important international relationships and set the border economy back decades.” The Times proceeded to quote, in entirety, Trump’s infamous remarks from June, when he described Mexican immigrants as rapists. It called the prospect of a Trump presidency “detestable.” And it said a vote for Clinton “allows El Pasoans to push back on efforts to marginalize and demonize our community.”

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times was far more pro-Hillary than its primarily Donald-dumping newsprint siblings. “She is not, as has been sold, a mere lesser of two evils,” the Caller-Times wrote. “Her experience and intellect would make her a standout in any group of candidates.” But the paper still got in a few well-placed jabs at Trump, saying he’s “an insult to voters’ intelligence” and that “voting for Trump is a form of nihilism,” and even implying that Trump doesn’t know how to change a diaper.

There are a few more major newspapers in Texas that have yet to announce an endorsement—the biggest being the Austin American-Statesman, but it’s hard to imagine the newspaper that services our state’s most liberal city will side with Trump, especially considering no major newspaper in the country has done such a thing as of right now, aside from the New York Observer (which is published by Trump’s son-in-law) and the Onion-esque National Enquirer. Even if Clinton sweeps the Texas newspaper endorsement circuit, it may not make much of a difference in the final poll, at least in the Lone Star State, where Trump has held on to a modest lead of about six points despite this first handful of non-endorsements.

Plus, as depressing as this sounds, even the most evocatively-written newspaper editorial is just a drop in 2016’s deplorable information bucket. “Newspaper endorsements don’t have nearly the impact they used to,” Mark McKinnon, co-host of Showtime’s political show “The Circus” and a political adviser who worked with former President George W. Bush, told the Associated Press. “There are just way too many other sources of information for voters today.”

If you want to see the physical manifestation of the struggle newspaper endorsement editorials face to move the masses in this election, look no further than Morning News editor Mike Wilson’s interaction with a group of protesters last month:

Of course, a handful of Trump supporters motivated enough to picket a newspaper’s front door likely aren’t representative of the majority of the Morning News‘ readership. But Wilson later told the AP that he’s never received feedback from anyone who said the editorial changed their mind, so it’s possible these few outspoken readers weren’t alone. Still, Wilson seemed hopeful about the impact of his paper’s endorsement editorial. “They’re not really meant to end arguments, they’re mean to start discussions, and this one certainly did that,” Wilson told the APIf more Texas newspapers choose to endorse Clinton, there could be similar discussions taking place across the state.

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  • Charlie Primero

    Everyone is amazed at how the mainstream media is burning their last few shreds of credibility this election season. It’s not crazy. It’s their only logical course of action.

    The only hope of survival for dinosaur media is to continue the gravy train of pre-written, free content press releases, and favored access to exclude competitors. That requires eight more years of Cultural Marxism.

    Advertising revenue from government-subsidized industries like health care, real estate, and low-income retail require MORE national debt-based subsidy of those industries. Stop the government subsidy, and the dinosaur media go extinct.

    • AJ Via

      Keep in mind one of the reasons the “mainstream media’ is orchestrating this “con game” of “rigging the election”: They, and in this example “they” are hardcore lifelong Republicans, are disgusted, ashamed, and terrified of what a jackass, pathetic, disgusting waste of an election year that Drumpf is. They are “rigging” the game by pointing out what a disgrace he is. That’s not rigging. That is honesty at any cost. They are American citizens too, and are just as served by the POTUS as you and me. And like me, (and most of “you”) they do not want Trump as POTUS either. Luckily only about 31% of the voters are going to vote for him, anyway, so it won’t be an issue come Election Day. Thank God.

  • Wilson James

    The dumbing down of America continues. The dumbing down of Texas is complete. Voting for Trump is a civic exercise in willful ignorance.

  • Randy Smiggles

    It’s interesting that the Dallas Morning News writes, “Resume vs resume, judgment vs judgment, this election is no contest.” If there’s no contest, why was the decision so difficult for them?

    • JCAF

      Uh, maybe because they haven’t endorsed a “democrat” for 40 years and carefully considered the red-neck back lash? Are you dim?

      • Randy Smiggles

        They’ve just said in their editorial it’s ‘no contest’. If it’s no contest, then the decision, no matter that they usually support Republicans, should be ‘no contest’ unless they are blinded by party politics. The DMN is supposed to be a respectable news organization and not the official Republican Party newsletter as Pravda was for the USSR Communist Party.

        • Jed

          question answers itself, doesn’t it.

  • pop_sav

    New York Post will endorse Trump.

  • JSul

    Will be interested to see if the Fort Worth Star Telegram makes an endorsement.
    Former Arlington mayor, Richard Greene, a stauch GOP and anything Obama hater, never misses a chance to take pots shots at Democrats in his columns. One of his latest touted that Texas would become even deeper red due to this election.
    Sadly, Texas does have a pathetic voter turnout record….and that how we got our current governor, Lt. govenor, and oh, yes, a guy named Ted Cruz. In fact, the Tea party rules.
    Demographics are changing and if voter registration goes through the roof, Green may live to see the day he eats his words.

  • Bill N

    Well I suspect the picketers are rethinking their support at this point – certainly if they have daughters they are.

  • Eugene Lim

    It is surprising. hillary -> 90 newspaper endorsements accordingly to wikipedia, Trump – 0. nada, zero, null. Not even 1. He is the first and only republican nominee for president with 0 newspaper endorsements.