The Atlantic, in endorsing Clinton: Trump ‘is spectacularly unfit for office’

The Atlantic

The Atlantic, one of America’s longest-running and most esteemed magazines, was founded in 1857, deeply committed to advocating for the abolition of slavery. In 1860, the Atlantic endorsed Abraham Lincoln for president, although Lincoln did not run as an abolitionist, believing that Lincoln’s election would do the most to advance that cause. I guess they got that right.

As the magazine grew in reputation through the decades, it didn’t make another presidential endorsement for a century. It’s not a fundamentally political publication, and it has no regular editorial page. In 1964, it broke that nonendorsing habit to endorse Lyndon Johnson over Barry Goldwater.

It was not a particular warmth for LBJ but a concern about the reckless hawkishness of Goldwater that moved it to break its century-long habit of not endorsing, especially Goldwater’s suggestion that field commanders should have access to nuclear weapons, with authority to use them if they felt it necessary. After that, the Atlantic went back to its nonendorsing habit for another 48 years.

Yesterday, The Atlantic announced that it would again, for just the third time in its 159-year history, make an endorsement in the current presidential race. It endorsed Hillary Clinton — again, as in its 1964 endorsement of LBJ, not because of an uncontrollable enthusiasm for Clinton but because of its alarm at the prospect of turning the executive branch over to Donald Trump. The editors wrote:

If Hillary Clinton were facing Mitt Romney, or John McCain, or George W. Bush, or, for that matter, any of the leading candidates Trump vanquished in the Republican primaries, we would not have contemplated making this endorsement. We believe in American democracy, in which individuals from various parties of different ideological stripes can advance their ideas and compete for the affection of voters. But Trump is not a man of ideas. He is a demagogue, a xenophobe, a sexist, a know-nothing, and a liar. He is spectacularly unfit for office, and voters—the statesmen and thinkers of the ballot box—should act in defense of American democracy and elect his opponent.

The editors expressed respect but not enthusiasm for Clinton:

Hillary Rodham Clinton has more than earned, through her service to the country as first lady, as a senator from New York, and as secretary of state, the right to be taken seriously as a White House contender. She has flaws (some legitimately troubling, some exaggerated by her opponents), but she is among the most prepared candidates ever to seek the presidency. We are confident that she understands the role of the United States in the world; we have no doubt that she will apply herself assiduously to the problems confronting this country; and she has demonstrated an aptitude for analysis and hard work.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, has no record of public service and no qualifications for public office. His affect is that of an infomercial huckster; he traffics in conspiracy theories and racist invective; he is appallingly sexist; he is erratic, secretive, and xenophobic; he expresses admiration for authoritarian rulers, and evinces authoritarian tendencies himself. He is easily goaded, a poor quality for someone seeking control of America’s nuclear arsenal. He is an enemy of fact-based discourse; he is ignorant of, and indifferent to, the Constitution; he appears not to read.

To read the full endorsement, go here.

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/06/2016 - 04:34 pm.

    Trump is unique

    in all the wrong ways.

  2. Submitted by Mukesh Chauhan on 10/07/2016 - 04:29 am.

    Absolutely Irrelevant and wrong!

    Developing real estate to country is not a public service. Industrialist is not a public servant. I hope he has lived the best public servant life and lived as common man like. He can understand money and economy much better way than any other candidate in this Election. Common Man past will be full of such things as one never start living life that one day he has to become President. The best thing he will do is that he will focus on his country rather becoming international hero it is good to be US National Hero and boost economy of USA as soon as possible. He will win this Election and will turn to be best President one day for USA.

    Mukesh Chauhan

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/07/2016 - 10:01 am.

      All he understands about money

      is how to get it from other people.
      His business model was bankruptcy and tax avoidance.
      His actual record in starting successful new businesses is abysmal — he’d take us into that abyss.
      Or are you speaking tongue-in-cheek?

    • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 10/07/2016 - 05:06 pm.

      He is the poster child

      For what is wrong with the super rich in this sad country

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/08/2016 - 10:10 am.

        Some of them at least

        I wouldn’t put the superest rich (Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg) in that category.

  3. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 10/07/2016 - 11:38 am.

    Trump is a character who lacks character.

    Incapable of speaking in complete sentences, Trump has a lexicon of a conman. Words like tremendous, amazing, and the scary one “trust me” pepper his incomplete sentences. Never says how he would accomplish anything that could be called tremendous or amazing and I absolutely will never trust him. I’m not willing to vote for a person with Trump’s very questionable character and just hope for the best. With America in gridlock, it doesn’t have a need for a leader whose style is to denigrate others as a way of building himself up. Trump is a very insecure person who speaks with a bravado to cover his insecurity. He talks about plans he doesn’t have. He knows his tax returns contain numerous bombshells, so contrary to promises from Trump and Pence, Trump’s tax returns will never be seen. He is willing to use his own children to cover his lies. I agree America is short on effective political leaders but Trump is not the person who has any skills that will move America forward. Trump cannot do it alone, as he states, because that would be a dictatorship. That is why Putin appeals to Trump because he likes the dictatorship aspect of Putin.

    Trump and his baseless promises will not get us where we need to be as a country. I understand people’s frustrations with the current political gridlock. Gridlock is caused by totally self-inflicted wounds. America can be much better than that. It is time for the dysfunctional Republican Party to regroup, rebuild, and come back stronger because America is at its best when we have politicians who will work to common ground, agree, and move on. The era of poison pill politics needs to end. It is obvious it doesn’t work for America.

  4. Submitted by rolf westgard on 10/07/2016 - 06:26 pm.

    At last

    We realize that the would be emperor has no clothes. The trouble is that this is no fairy tale.

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