The subscription cancellations were arriving every 10 minutes. Mad subscribers happen to be calling in droves. A death threat was issued by one caller.
“We’re feeling the weight of our history, the editorial page editor of The Arizona Republic, ” Phil Boas, said on Wednesday in a telephone interview. The paper had never supported a Democrat over a Republican, until it backed Hillary Clinton on Tuesday.
In supporting Mrs. Clinton, The Republic’s editorial was, by any interpretation, scathing toward her rival, Donald J. Trump. “Trump replies with the petulance of spit wads that are verbal,” the editorial says at one point.
“Trump’s long history of objectifying women and his demeaning remarks about women during the campaign aren’t only good old boy gaffes the editorial added. “they’re signs of deep character flaws. They’re part of a routine.”
The paper isn’t the first this year to break with its long tradition of supporting Republicans. The Houston Chronicle, which has in the past supported a Democrat for president but which usually supports Republicans, eschewed Mr. Trump in July, long before sanctions are usually printed in an election year.
The Cincinnati Enquirer, which supported Mrs. Clinton last week, set it especially bluntly: “Trump is a clear and present danger to our state.”
For some readers, nevertheless, the sanctions demonstrated a step too much.
But he said fiscal concerns were “never a variable” for the paper’s nine-man editorial board. “It was more of a fascination,” he said. We understand we’re doing the right thing. We feel great relating to this choice.”
The sanction of Mrs. Clinton would likely not have come as a surprise to the newspaper’s loyal subscribers, he said.
We believe that we’re being traditionalists here. We’re saying we’re not willing to compromise our worth.”
Your choice to back a Democrat, nevertheless, had not been taken. The paper failed to have an archive of its sanctions, and it hired a researcher to discover when it’d supported a Democratic presidential nominee over a Republican. A historian was brought on to review the research worker’s work. When they found out the newspaper hadn’t ever supported a Democrat, Mr. Boas said, “It was an actual surprise.”
But ultimately, he said, the editorial board’s choice wasn’t controversial. “We’re never in unison on anything, but it wasn’t a hard thing,” Mr. Boas said. “It was the sort of thing that only evolved over time.”