Chicago Tribune Editorial: Democrats Should Ask Clinton to Step Aside

Updated on October 30, 2016
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Ralph Lopez majored in Economics and Political Science at Yale University. He has published in the Boston Globe and the Baltimore Sun.

A scathing editorial in the nation's third-highest circulation metropolitan daily, the Chicago Tribune, has called for Democrats to ask Hillary Clinton to step down as their nominee for president of the United States. The decision by the newspaper to publish the uncompromising piece recalls, to some, the newspaper's role as the first major newspaper to call for Richard Nixon to resign in 1974.

The Tribune endorsed Barack Obama in 2008.

Like the editorial calling for Nixon's resignation, the recent piece is making news, and has gone viral on the Internet.

The piece, penned by senior Tribune writer John Kass and entitled "Democrats Should Ask Clinton to Step Aside" begins:

"It's obvious the American political system is breaking down. It's been crumbling for some time now, and the establishment elite know it and they're properly frightened. Donald Trump, the vulgarian at their gates, is a symptom, not a cause. Hillary Clinton and husband Bill are
both cause and effect."

This presidential election season, unhappy with both major party choices, the Tribune broke with tradition by endorsing Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico.

Kass writes of Hillary Clinton:

"FBI director James Comey's announcement about the renewed Clinton email investigation is the bombshell in the presidential campaign. That he announced this so close to Election Day should tell every thinking person that what the FBI is looking at is extremely serious."

The piece calls for Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine to step into the void.

Clinton's Legitimacy as the Nominee Questioned

Throughout a contentious Democratic primary season, many Democrats were calling foul on tactics which they say were employed by Clinton forces to secure the nomination of Clinton over primary rival Bernie Sanders. Among them were voter suppression, tampering with voter registrations, and what election experts say essentially amounts to electronic ballot box stuffing. The studies, lawsuits and allegations which followed each set of primaries culminated in a report released by the nonprofit Election Justice USA, "Democracy Lost: A Report on the Fatally Flawed 2016 Democratic Primaries."

The report concluded:

"an upper estimate of 184 pledged delegates [were] lost by Senator Bernie Sanders as a consequence of specific irregularities and instances of fraud. Adding these delegates to Senator Sanders’ pledged delegate total and subtracting the same number from Hillary Clinton’s total would more than erase the 359 pledged delegate gap between the two candidates."

The authors of the report included the 100th president of the American Statistical Association, Fritz Scheuren, who is a professor at George Washington University.

The report prompted outrage among Sanders supporters as it stated:

"We conclude by calling for decertification of the 2016 Democratic primary results in every state in which we have established a reasonable doubt as to the accuracy of the vote tally."

Despite calls for a contested Democratic convention, Bernie Sanders nevertheless called for a suspension of the roll call vote of delegates at the convention for the nomination, and moved that Clinton be nominated by acclamation, which threw efforts to contest the seating of state delegations into disarray. The move puzzled many Sanders supporters and left bitterness and accusations of betrayal in its wake, as did Sanders' decision to formally endorse Clinton.

Efforts are now underway to employ a little-known feature in about half of paper ballot vote-counting machines in the US, the automatic creation of digital ballot images which can be accessed by the public, in order to prove election fraud in the Democratic primaries and other elections.

With the latest FBI re-opening of a criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton, many prominent Democrats are left to defend their backing of Clinton. Kass of the Tribune recommends that:

"Democrats hold themselves to the high moral standards they impose on the people they govern."

The Chicago Tribune is owned by Tronc, Inc., which also owns the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun, and the San Diego Union-Tribune. Tronc is the nation's third-largest newspaper publisher, behind Gannett and The McClatchy Company.

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