The Chicago Tribune picked Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for the GOP presidential nomination, but refused to pick either candidate for a recommendation on the Democratic side of the ticket.
Illinois votes next Tuesday, when Rubio has acknowledged he has to win his home state of Florida to remain viable in the race.
“Our custom is to offer primary election endorsements to candidates of both major parties. But the 2016 race confronts Illinois voters with uncommon dangers, because so many candidates are playing with fire,” wrote the Tribune’s editorial board.
The paper explained they could not endorse Trump: “The party of Abraham Lincoln finds itself with a front-runner who has gone out of his way to anger world leaders, giant swaths of the American public and people of other lands who aspire to immigrate here legally. And to what end, other than self-aggrandizement?”
And why they could not endorse Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has argued he’s the only anti-Trump choice: “Cruz is entitled to his zeal and absolutism. His retinas cannot process shades of gray. The same inability to compromise that has gridlocked Washington has left Cruz all but friendless in the U.S. Senate. What’s more, the multiple ethical offenses of his staff during the primary campaign have fed pre-existing suspicion that Cruz would do or say anything to win this nomination.”
The Tribune noted that “many Republicans seem not to have noticed [Rubio’s] fundamental GOP message of opportunity and uplift.”
“Spending limits, line-item veto, a balanced-budget amendment — all Rubio policy pillars. Crucially, his foreign affairs expertise vastly exceeds that of his rivals,” the editorial stated. “We like his youth, his bilingual fluency and the fact that he isn’t one more Republican who’s been standing in line, awaiting his turn to run.”
On the Dem side of the aisle, the Tribune acknowledged Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) “are welcome to pander however feverishly they wish, promising vast new expenditures by a federal government already committed to wildly more spending than its taxpayers and its low-growth economy can afford.”
“…If you like window-shopping at the Lamborghini dealership on Sundays, when no salespeople are around to check your credit, then you’ll enjoy the bounty of Free Stuff that Clinton and Sanders promise to provide.”
The paper accused Clinton of edging “toward the Cruz zone of doing or saying anything to win this nomination.”
“Clinton and Sanders are smart and shrewd enough on economics to know they essentially are promising Americans whole fleets of Lamborghinis that never … will … be … built. This year, federal deficits begin a new climb that rises, every year, for as far as the Congressional Budget Office projects — to fiscal 2026. Given the distance from economic reality that Clinton and Sanders have catapulted in their exhortations, we cannot endorse either of them in the Illinois primary election.”