The editorial board of the Chicago Tribune declined to endorse either Hillary Clinton or Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) in the Democratic presidential primary because of their exorbitant policy proposals that would increase federal spending.
"This being a free country, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders 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," the editorial board wrote Wednesday, less than a week before voters in Illinois head to the polls.
"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 editorial accused both Clinton and Sanders of being out of touch with "economic reality."
"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," the board wrote. "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."
The publication’s decision not to endorse either candidate will likely come as a surprise. The Tribune endorsed Barack Obama, once an Illinois senator, in his 2008 primary contest against Clinton as well as in the 2008 and 2012 general elections.
The editorial board did not, however, refrain from endorsing a candidate in the Republican primary. The paper’s leaders backed Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) for the nomination, possibly offering him a boost after disappointing results in the Mississippi and Michigan primaries Tuesday.
"[Rubio] offers Illinois voters the framework of a presidency that realistically could exist. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have not met this fundamental economic test," the editorial concluded. "We’re keeping an open mind, hoping that whichever of them prevails will meet that test in the general election campaign. Because promises, pledges and policies mean nothing to a gravely indebted American government that can afford only to window-shop."
The Illinois primaries will take place next Tuesday, along with those in Florida, Ohio, Missouri, and North Carolina.