Race Consciousness and a Newspaper Endorsement

 The Story:

The Detroit News has endorsed the campaign of John James, the Republican candidate for a contested Senate seat in Michigan. It said  that “as an African American, a conservative, and a Republican, James would add an important perspective to policy-making aimed at vanquishing racial inequity.” We looked at the James/Peters race in this column last week, but the News‘ editorial gives us an opportunity to see it from a different perspective.


The News is one of two competing daily newspapers (with the Detroit Free Press) dominating that market in the city of Detroit, Michigan.

Founded in 1873, the News has usually, though not invariably, supported Republican candidates. It endorsed the Libertarian Party’s candidate for President in 2016. It has not yet endorsed any candidate in the Presidential race 2020.

In 2014, the News supported Gary Peters, the Democratic Party’s candidate for Senate that year, and the man whom James is now challenging. So this endorsement of James is a reversal of course with regard to that seat and a return to form in the papers’ more customary partisan alignment.

The Thing to Know: 

There was a time, not long ago, when Republicans and editorial boards affiliated with them would make a point of their “color blindness.” Now, as this editorial illustrates, such editorial boards are as willing to play the racial-identity card as are those they once criticized for exactly that.


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