Until recently, in 159 years, The Atlantic had only endorsed two candidates for president. Hillary Clinton just became number three. While The Atlantic is for all intents and purposes what Fox News pretends to be, “fair and balanced,” and it does employ plenty of progressive and left leaning voices (Ta-Nehisi Coates, for example), it has been, traditionally, a more Conservative publication. Effectively, yet another conservative leaning publication has stood up to endorse Hillary Clinton for president, and what makes this endorsement that much more important, that much more worth your time to understand, is the fact that The Atlantic rarely bothers to endorse a presidential candidate. By endorsing Hillary Clinton, they have placed her in a small, historically significant group. In 1860 The Atlantic endorsed Abraham Lincoln. Maybe you have heard of him? Tall, slender fellow, beard, “honest,” savior of the Union and emancipator of slaves. In 1964 The Atlantic endorsed Lyndon Johnson. “Johnson, The Atlantic believed, would bring ‘to the vexed problem of civil rights a power of conciliation which will prevent us from stumbling down the road taken by South Africa.'” Johnson had already signed into law the 1964 Civil Rights Act and would later sign into law the 1968 Civil Rights Act. Also, in the year following his election, Johnson would sign into law the Voting Rights Act. The Atlantic had another reason to prefer Johnson, another reason important enough to break their 104-year silence on presidential endorsements:
[Their] endorsement of Johnson was focused less on his positive attributes than on the flaws of his opponent, Barry Goldwater, the junior senator from Arizona. Of Goldwater, Weeks wrote, “His proposal to let field commanders have their choice of the smaller nuclear weapons would rupture a fundamental belief that has existed from Abraham Lincoln to today: the belief that in times of crisis the civilian authority must have control over the military.” And the magazine noted that Goldwater’s “preference to let states like Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia enforce civil rights within their own borders has attracted the allegiance of Governor George Wallace, the Ku Klux Klan, and the John Birchers.” Goldwater’s limited capacity for prudence and reasonableness was what particularly worried The Atlantic. (See Full Article)
This is an all-too-familiar refrain describing Hillary Clinton’s current opponent in the presidential race, and that is part of the reason The Atlantic chose to speak up and endorse a presidential candidate for only the third time:
Today, our position is similar to the one in which The Atlantic’s editors found themselves in 1964. We are impressed by many of the qualities of the Democratic Party’s nominee for president, even as we are exasperated by others, but we are mainly concerned with the Republican Party’s nominee, Donald J. Trump, who might be the most ostentatiously unqualified major-party candidate in the 227-year history of the American presidency. (See Full Article)
While I can appreciate their stated reasons, even respect them, it is just as important, if not more important, to point out, once again, that in the 227-year history of the American presidency there has never been a more perfectly qualified major-party candidate. I have made numerous references to Hillary Clinton’s service and qualifications in my previous posts (here, here, and here). However, some people, even those who support Clinton to varying degrees, lack the conviction necessary to push for Clinton, to more actively support and endorse her themselves, thereby helping to preserve our past and save our future. For example, someone made the following comment on my previous post: “I definitely don’t believe she is the most prepared to [sic] person to be President. George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, those men were prepared.” WHAT?!?! Those men knew absolutely nothing about what it meant to be president because there had never been any such thing as the American presidency. And while we can rightly apply the appellation “founding fathers” to each of these men and respect and appreciate them for their work in founding this great nation, we can truthfully only say they did the best they could while shooting from the hip. Like Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson before, Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for the president sits at a vital crossroads in American history. Do not make the mistake of voting against her and finding yourself on the wrong side of that history.
(Feature image credit: Video still from Stand with Hillary PAC campaign ad. Watch here.)