The paper has endorsed a presidential candidate in all but two elections since its founding, and most recently backed Hillary Clinton in 2016.
As a cultural signifier, the “Times endorsement” still amounts to some form of political currency, and the paper’s decision to lend its support to two women candidates is a striking break with tradition.
In an op-ed announcing the dual endorsements, the editorial board praised Warren’s singularly detailed legislative agenda and Klobuchar’s centrism, framing the decision to lend support to two candidates as a tacit acknowledgement of an increasingly fractioned Democratic Party that will need to reconcile itself in order to meet the moment and win the presidency.
“There will be those dissatisfied that this page is not throwing its weight behind a single candidate, favouring centrists or progressives,” the editorial board writes. “But it’s a fight the party itself has been itching to have since Mrs Clinton’s defeat in 2016, and one that should be played out in the public arena and in the privacy of the voting booth.”
However, it is precisely the role of an endorsement to choose between divergent political impulses — to hold up one ideological envisioning as the most correct one. The choice to endorse two women who employ such drastically different means to achieve their ends feels like an abdication of that responsibility.