Why the Houston Chronicle Endorsed Hillary Clinton

The Chronicle’s executive editor on how the board came to consensus and how readers have reacted.

By Rhonda FanningAugust 2, 2016 2:54 pm

What do the candidacies of Barack Obama in 2008 and Lyndon Johnson in 1964 have in common? For one, they represent the only occasions the Houston Chronicle has endorsed a Democrat for president – until now.

But this is no ordinary endorsement: according to the Chronicle’s editorial board, the issue isn’t even political. It’s existential.

Jeff Cohen, executive editor of the Houston Chronicle’s opinion pages, says it was clear they were not going to endorse Donald Trump. “Since it was clear we weren’t going to be rolling with him,” he says, “we decided that we would stake a position early on and that we would write an endorsement for Mrs. Clinton for president.”

Cohen says when his staff begins the endorsement process, they look at the candidates’ positions on “six or seven critical issues” that affect Houston. They also examine the candidates’ “temperament, their experience, their character, their family values” as well as considering the “counter-arguments.”

Cohen says reaction to the editorial board’s endorsement has been about 50-50. “Plenty of people have stepped up and said everything from ‘It was well-reasoned’ to ‘It was courageous.'”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How smoothly the process went and how they reached consensus

– What Cohen thinks about how the endorsement reflects the paper’s conservative views on other issues like energy

– Whether this editorial has been “fanning the flames” of anti-Trump sentiment