The 2020 presidential election is likely to come down to a few states: Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Arizona, and — perhaps most pivotally — Pennsylvania. As of Sunday, Democratic nominee Joe Biden has a 4-point lead in the Keystone State, but President Donald Trump just received a rather notable endorsement.
The Pittsburg Post-Gazette has not endorsed a Republican for president since 1972, but on Saturday night, the newspaper backed President Donald Trump. The editors acknowledged the president’s divisiveness, but they praised his policies and his originalist justices, warning that Biden is too old and frail for the presidency.
The editorial began by acknowledging all the accusations against Trump’s character, noting that people call him “unpresidential,” “crude and unkind.” But even if these attacks are true, is that really the key issue? “Isn’t the real question whether he has been taking the country, and the economy of this region, in the right direction these last four years?”
The Post-Gazette editors acknowledged Trump’s “rudeness and put-downs and bragging and bending of the truth,” saying they “prefer the first-class temperament and demeanor of a Winston Churchill, a Dwight Eisenhower, a Franklin Roosevelt, a Ronald Reagan, or a Barack Obama (whom this newspaper enthusiastically supported in 2008 and 2012).” Yet none of those politicians are on the ballot.
Whatever Trump’s flaws, he has achieved many important successes. “Under Donald Trump the economy, pre-COVID, boomed, like no time since the 1950s. Look at your 401(k) over the past three years,” the editors wrote. “Unemployment for Black Americans is lower than it has ever been, under any president of either party.”
The Post-Gazette praised Trump’s trade deals, his work to protect Americans in “flyover” country, and his originalist nominees to the Supreme Court. “His third appointment, Amy Coney Barrett, is the best of all — a jurist whose mind and character and scholarship ARE first class. We hope she stands against both judicial and executive excess.”
Perhaps most importantly for Pennsylvania, the Post-Gazette praised Trump’s record on energy. Under Trump, the U.S. achieved energy independence, thanks in large part to hydraulic fracturing, on which Biden has a mixed record. The Post-Gazette argued his campaign “offers an end to fracking and other Cuckoo California dreams that will cost the economy and the people who most need work right now. ‘Good-paying green jobs’ are probably not jobs for Pittsburgh, or Cleveland, or Toledo, or Youngstown.”
“Donald Trump is not Churchill, to be sure, but he gets things done,” the editors argued.
As for the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, the Post-Gazette acknowledged that Trump hasn’t handled the pandemic perfectly, but “no one masters a pandemic. And the president was and is right that we must not cower before the disease and we have to keep America open and working.”
Meanwhile, according to the Post-Gazette, Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), offer “higher taxes and a nanny state that will bow to the bullies and the woke who would tear down history rather than learning from history and building up the country.” Biden would also go soft on China.
The newspaper’s editors also noted that while Biden is old and “fragile,” Trump is also old but “seemingly robust.” While Vice President Mike Pence is “ready to take over,” Harris “gives no evidence of being ready to be president.”
While the Post-Gazette has not supported a Republican for president since 1972, the editors wrote that “we believe Mr. Trump, for all his faults, is the better choice this year.”
Americans may be frustrated with some of Trump’s rhetoric and his aggressive style, but when it comes to concrete policies, the president offers a much better deal than his Democratic opponent. I have argued that Biden’s character defects may be worse than Trump’s (though in different ways), and that Trump offers a far better option on foreign policy, protecting the right to life, defending civil rights like due process and religious freedom, spurring on the economy, and defending America from leftist radicalism on transgender ideology and Marxist critical theory.
President Trump is far from perfect, but he will defend the heart of America while Biden has refused to rule out packing the Supreme Court in order to undermine the justices Trump nominated in order to protect the Constitution.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette made powerful arguments supporting Trump in Pennsylvania, a key swing state. Yet those arguments also apply to much of America.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.