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NYT endorses two Democratic presidential candidates—and not the two you might expect


'Both the radical and the realist models warrant serious consideration'

Scott Olson/Getty Images

The New York Times editorial board endorsed two candidates in the Democratic primary Sunday, the first time the paper has declined to choose a single candidate in an election.

The NYT editorial board endorsed Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) for the Democratic presidential nomination, a choice they said reflects the need to consider both the "radical" and the "realist" approaches to the presidency.

"Both the radical and the realist models warrant serious consideration," the editorial board wrote. "If there were ever a time to be open to new ideas, it is now. If there were ever a time to seek stability, now is it. That's why we're endorsing the most effective advocates for each approach. They are Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar."

The choice to endorse two candidates with very different political philosophies and appeals is a hedge, and allows the editorial board to avoid weighing in on the defining question of the Democratic primary: Do Democratic voters want a radical change, or are they more comfortable with gradual progress toward their goals?

The top five remaining candidates are clearly divided on either side of that spectrum. Sanders and Warren represent the far left ideals of the party, while former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Klobuchar present a relatively more moderate vision.

Even with the endorsement, the NYT offers some serious criticisms of both candidates.

Of Warren, the board wrote that she had a tendency to place too much blame on capitalism for the problems of society.

"American capitalism is responsible for its share of sins," the editorial reads. "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."

With Klobuchar, the editorial board raised concerns about her reported treatment of staff and her ability to attract and retain talented people as a result of her reputation.

The editorial dismissed frontrunner Joe Biden's strong polling numbers as possibly "a measure of familiarity as much as voter intention" and wrote that "Mr. Biden is 77. It is time for him to pass the torch to a new generation of political leaders."

According to FiveThirtyEight's national polling average, Biden is the leader at 26.7 percent, Warren is third at 16 percent, and Klobuchar is sixth at 2.9 percent.

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