Skoog: The New York Times endorsement is privileged indecision disguised as wokeness

The New York Times editorial board urges for a democratic candidate that can unite the left. They contradict themselves by endorsing two candidates.

by Caroline Skoog

Having spent “more than a dozen hours” interviewing democratic candidates, The Times editorial board graced us with their endorsement: Elizabeth Warren. Or Amy Klobuchar, whichever you prefer. Stylistically, the endorsement reminds me of the Old El Paso “porque no los dos?” taco shell commercials. Big win for women! Or rather, half a win for two women. Partial credit to them. Maybe no more group projects for the editorial board, though.

Ironically, this was The Times’ most transparent endorsement process. Every interview was on the record, and filmed and full annotated transcripts were published by the paper. Coverage leading up to the official endorsement focused on demystifying their process, as well as boasting the authority of their decision. An article titled “How and Why Our Editorial Board Endorses Political Candidates,” states, “Each member brings years of research, subject-matter expertise and personal experience to the job.” Hey Times, your private health insurance is showing. “Our choice will reflect a consensus of the board.” It seems they spoke too soon.

In light of The Times’ aim for clarity in this process, the result is pretty obscure. Two endorsements basically cancel each other out; you only get one ballot. A divided decision isn’t a decision. Endorsing two candidates defeats the purpose of an endorsement. Not to mention, the paper’s endorsement is about the only thing Klobuchar and Warren have in common other than both being women. Slay, queens! Why not endorse Hillary Clinton while you’re at it? 

The endorsement article characterizes Klobuchar as the “realist” approach to beating Trump and Warren as the “radical.” Pretty odd to declare Klobuchar as the realistic route, considering she’s polling at five percent. Despite being dubbed “a standard-bearer for the Democratic center,” her campaign is pretty peripheral.

On the other hand, the article did wag a finger at Warren for possibly pushing for too much ‘Big Structural Change,’ stating, “American capitalism is responsible for its share of sins. But Ms. Warren often casts the net far too wide, placing the blame for a host of maladies from climate change to gun violence at the feet of the business community when the onus is on society as a whole. The country needs a more unifying path.” As if to say, slow down there, Warren! Also, placing the onus on “society as a whole” for the impending doom we’re facing is a great thing for powerful people to tell themselves in order to sleep at night but a wildly irresponsible thing to publish. 

There is nothing funnier to me than The New York Times hankering for a nominee that will unite the left, dwelling on the need for consensus, and then endorsing two oppositional candidates. Because the only thing Warren and Klobuchar share is gender identity, it looks like a failed consensus dressed up as neo-wokeness. The piece ends with “May the best woman win,” and, I imagine, a condescending wink. Is this being flaunted as progress? That The Times liked both Liz and Amy, but neither of them enough to get the endorsement on their own? 

It’s not that I disagree with their two choices — I do, but that’s not the point. It’s that their endorsement is counterproductive. They just presented the same old conflict between center and left that we witness online every day and showed they’d rather compromise their endorsement than suggest taking on the inequity embedded into this country.

Then again, The Times editorial board shouldn’t tell us what to do anyways. That’s Joe Rogan’s job (in this one specific instance only).