Detroit Free Press endorses Joe Biden for president

Among the myriad lawn signs sprouting in anticipation of November’s presidential election, two are noteworthy for their seeming nonpartisanship:
The first sign – “ANY FUNCTIONING ADULT 2020” – makes light of America’s current upheaval, tacitly confessing how little today’s disillusioned voters expect of their elected leaders.
The second, beginning with the words “IN THIS HOUSE,” advertises the occupants’ allegiance to a list of cardinal virtues – kindness, respect for learning, compassion for those with disabilities, etc. – as timeless and anodyne as the Girl Scout Law.
Neither sign mentions any candidate, political party or elective office. But it is telling that both signs are understood – instantly and universally – to signal the resident’s opposition to Donald Trump’s re-election.
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Optimists who believe in America’s boundless capacity for re-invention like to think we are always one election away from redemption. But it will be no simple task to recover what has been lost in the four years since 2016, when a confluence of working-class anger, bipartisan resignation, and misplaced confidence in polls that forecast an easy Democratic victory propelled a man who personified the nation’s worst qualities to the highest office in the land.
Donald Trump’s election was a tragedy whose cost Americans have scarcely begun to reckon. Its most conspicuous casualties are the disproportionate number of American lives extinguished by a pandemic that raged unchecked for months while the president shrugged off, mocked and occasionally obstructed the medical community’s urgent efforts to contain it.
Continuing to pay the price of Trump’s negligence are the tens of millions of U.S. workers still languishing in unemployment, even as their counterparts in other developed countries – countries whose leaders recognized the pandemic’s seriousness and acted promptly to curtail its spread – return to work, and secure incomes.
Other damage is more difficult to quantify: It includes
the pervasive mistrust triggered by Trump’s relentless campaign to discredit or corrupt nonpartisan institutions like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the FBI, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Postal Service, and the myriad agencies that comprise the nation’s intelligence community; the legal chaos arising from his contempt for the authority reserved for the courts and the U.S. Congress, and the normalization of behavior Americans once found intolerable even in their children and house pets.
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The Detroit Free Press Editorial Board urged Michigan voters to reject Trump’s candidacy in 2016, and we have opposed many of his signature initiatives: his obsessive war on immigrants, which began with an overtly racist attack on Mexicans and culminated in images of caged children that shocked the world; his chaotic tariffs, which brought confusion to U.S. auto manufacturers and higher prices to American consumers, and his emasculation of regulations designed to slow or combat climate change.
Trump’s State Department deserves credit for brokering a rapprochement between Israel and some of its Arab neighbors, but his blustering, impulsive conduct of foreign policy has mostly diminished America’s reputation and influence abroad.
But our most serious reservations about Trump’s presidency do not rise to the level of politics or policy. They center, rather, on his aversion to facts and contempt for science, his nonchalant cruelty toward everyone from principled public servants to deceased political rivals, his use of social media to promote white supremacist extremists and amplify flagrantly fraudulent conspiracy theories, and his unapologetic exploitation of his public office to enrich his family and favored friends.
His attacks on the federal judiciary are without precedent in their viciousness, and he will likely exploit U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death to appoint a successor dedicated to eradicating much of Ginsburg’s civil rights legacy, including the rulings that have protected the reproductive rights of American women for the last half-century.
Today, we call on Free …
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