One of the most striking anecdotes of the 2016 presidential campaign was the large number of ancestrally Republican newspapers who refused to endorse Donald Trump. In many cases, they broke decades-long traditions to either endorse Hillary Clinton or refuse to endorse anyone at all.
The Houston Chronicle, for instance, made Hillary only the third Democrat to get its endorsement since 1952. The Cincinnati Enquirer made Hillary the first Democrat to get its endorsement since 1916. The Dallas Morning News broke a 70-plus year streak of endorsing Republicans to endorse Hillary. And The Arizona Republic had never endorsed a Democrat in its entire 118-year history–until it endorsed Hillary.
Well, one historically Republican paper recently took a hard look at Trump’s first year in office–and was decidedly unimpressed. The Northwest Herald, the daily newspaper for McHenry County, Illinois–a northern suburb of Chicago–drew the same conclusion that most of us drew long ago. That is, Trump is manifestly unqualified.
The Herald got right to the point in its headline:
“Our View: Trump is unfit to serve”
The Herald editorial board notes that it agrees with a number of Republican priorities, such as tax reform, immigration reform, and health care reform. However, it sees Trump’s fitness for office as something that “transcends party platforms or political ideology.”
As the Herald sees it, Trump has proven beyond any doubt that he “is not going to lead America or the rest of the world to a better place.” He has also proven beyond any doubt that he “has the temperament of a child, “cares only about himself,” “is a serial liar,” and “is a racist.” In a colossal understatement, the Herald editorial board calls Trump’s ranting about the number of immigrants from “shitholes” like El Salvador, and Haiti “an unmitigated embarrassment.”
Like most of us, the Herald editorial board believes that with Trump in office, we have abdicated our leadership role in the world.
“The American president long has been regarded as ‘leader of the free world.’ But the world will not follow this president, with his sneering lies, the endless bile he spews on social media, and his racist dog-whistle rhetoric.”
The Herald would just as soon see Trump stand down. But if he isn’t willing to do so, it wants members of both parties to leave him on an island, and call out his “blatant lies and racist statements without holding back.” From where the editorial board is sitting, this is no longer a question of politics, but about our nation’s values–and “President Trump does not represent them.”
This would be absolutely brutal coming from any paper. But it’s especially so considering both the Herald’s pedigree. It’s owned by the Shaw family of Dixon, an old-school Main Street Republican family. In fact, patriarch Benjamin F. Shaw was one of the founders of the Illinois GOP in 1856. Clearly, the Shaws harken back to the days when Republicans with scruples weren’t considered squishes or “cucks.”
The Herald was taking a calculated risk in putting Trump on blast. After all, McHenry County has largely resisted the growing Democratic trend in the Chicago suburbs. It has only supported a Democrat for president once since 1852, when Barack Obama narrowly won it. It was the only collar county to support Mitt Romney in 2012, and was the only one to support Trump in 2016.
Apparently the Herald’s assessment of Trump hasn’t changed from 2016, when it opted not to endorse either Trump or Hillary–the first time that the paper or its ancestors have not endorsed anyone for president.
Surprisingly, this editorial hasn’t gotten much attention. One person who did notice it was Matt Brolley, who is challenging Randy Hultgren for the congressional seat that covers most of McHenry County.
You’re not going to want to miss this editorial from the Northwest Herald in McHenry County.
— Mayor Matt Brolley (@MayorMattIL) January 14, 2018
That’s a shame. This editorial deserves more eyes.
It should come as no surprise that the Herald is taking a beating on Facebook for taking off its red blinders. But this editorial board, as well as the Shaw family, deserves to be applauded. After all, we’re going to need the help of some of the few sane Republicans left in order to do the damage Trump has done.
(featured image courtesy Caitlin Swieca, Northwest Herald)