Four years after USA Today endorsed voting against Trump, and third parties got enough of the anti-Trump vote for him to win the Electoral College, the national newspaper finally gets around to doing the actual right thing and endorsing Joe Biden.
Four years ago, the Editorial Board — an ideologically and demographically diverse group of journalists that is separate from the news staff and operates by consensus — broke with tradition and took sides in the presidential race for the first time since USA TODAY was founded in 1982. We urged readers not to vote for Donald Trump, calling the Republican nominee unfit for office because he lacked the “temperament, knowledge, steadiness and honesty that America needs from its presidents.” We stopped short, however, of an outright endorsement of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee. This year, the Editorial Board unanimously supports the election of Joe Biden, who offers a shaken nation a harbor of calm and competence.
Recent polls show that more than 90% of voters have decided between Biden and Trump, and nothing at this point will change their minds. This editorial is for those of you who are still uncertain about which candidate to vote for, or whether to vote at all. It’s also for those who settled on Trump but might be having last-minute doubts.
Maybe you backed Trump the last time around because you hoped he’d shake things up in Washington or bring back blue-collar jobs. Maybe you liked his populist, anti-elitist message. Maybe you couldn’t stomach the idea of supporting a Democrat as polarizing as Clinton. Maybe you cast a ballot for a minor party candidate, or just stayed home.
Now, two weeks until Election Day, we suggest you consider a variation of the question Republican Ronald Reagan asked voters when he ran for president in 1980: Is America better off now than it was four years ago?
Beset by disease, economic suffering, a racial reckoning and natural disasters fueled by a changing climate, the nation is dangerously off course. We spoke to dozens of people in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, battleground states that helped propel Trump into the White House in 2016. Many declined to comment, citing a general disgust with the election or fear of speaking out publicly. While some said they were personally better off, most of those willing to talk on camera expressed anguish and dismay about the nation's directionI am definitely not better off today than I was four years ago. I think America in general is much worse off today now that Donald Trump has unhooked us from so many of our traditions and our safeguards. … He is trying to tear down the Affordable Care Act, which is criminal.Anita Giltner of Holland, MichiganThe way (Trump) has handled (COVID-19) so far has just been gross mismanagement. … Trump has repealed a bunch of environmental restrictions, which is really important to me because my age group and my demographic are the ones that are going to inherit the Earth.Daniel Viar, of Rochester Hills, Michigan, who didn’t vote in 2016It's getting worse. … There’s not a lot of food around, there’s not a lot of money around, people are getting evicted. … I just wish the United States could pull together. … Why do we got to fight against each other? It’s too much.Lucinda Young of Toledo, OhioYou have a president who is … mocking people, attacking people on Twitter. … We’re dealing with diversity and racism right now in our country, and we need a new leader who stands up and faces these challenges, like Joe Biden. ... I think it’s time for a change.Mecca Vaughn of Milwaukee