The Chicago Tribune has endorsed Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson for president saying he was a “principled choice” for the nation’s top job.
Joining the list of newspapers making unusual choices for endorsements for the 2016 election, Chicago’s somewhat conservative paper decided not to endorse the GOP nominee for president and instead picked the Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson.
In choosing Johnson, the editorial board of the Tribune noted that millions of Americans “yearn” to be able to vote for someone other than the nominees for the two major parties and so, decided Johnson was a principled choice.
But before it got to its endorsement, the paper insisted that Trump should never become president.
The Republicans have nominated Donald Trump, a man not fit to be president of the United States. We first wrote on March 10 that we would not, could not, endorse him. And in the intervening six-plus months he has splendidly reinforced our verdict: Trump has gone out of his way to anger world leaders, giant swaths of the American public, and people of other lands who aspire to immigrate here legally. He has neither the character nor the prudent disposition for the job.
The editorial board assured readers that Hillary Clinton is highly qualified to be president and could do the job as president.
The Democrats have nominated Hillary Clinton, who, by contrast, is undeniably capable of leading the United States. Electing her the first woman president would break a barrier that has no reason to be. We see no rough equivalence between Trump and Clinton. Any American who lists their respective shortcomings should be more apoplectic about the litany under his name than the one under hers. He couldn’t do this job. She could.
But the paper could not endorse Clinton because of her plans to increase federal spending and hike taxes, not to mention her loose relationship with the truth.
Johnson, the editorial board said, is a choice voters “can be proud of.”
This year neither major party presents a good option. So the Chicago Tribune today endorses Libertarian Gary Johnson for president of the United States. Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles — and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016.
The paper’s endorsement comes on the heels of Johnson’s several recent major gaffes on the campaign trail.
In September, Johnson was asked about the the Syrian city of Aleppo where so many have died in fighting between Syrian government forces and insurgents. Johnson was stumped by the question and tried to make light of it by saying in a bemused manner, “And what is Aleppo?”
Then a few weeks later, Johnson joked that he was having another “Aleppo moment” when he could not name any world leaders he admired.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.