“The Fix” correctly points out that the endorsement was expected. Almost mandatory. The Post has collectively patted themselves on their own backs since their endorsement of Deeds last May propelled him out of relative obscurity and was the difference maker in Deeds’ primary victory. That would be hard to deny. And their own sway and power had the paper, known by many as the Mouthpiece of the Democratic Party “smelling themselves”, a term used by some to denote a feeling of self importance.
“The Fix” refers to the Hierarchy of Endorsements, a column from January 2008. One aspect of endorsements that was mostly neglected was party alliance.
There is no doubt that the Post’s influence in the Democratic Primary was substantial. But that was a contest amongst Democrats where the paper’s opinion is strongest. More undecided primary voters used that endorsement to break the tie in their own minds.
But this is not a primary.
The real power of a general election endorsement comes among the undecideds. There are no Liberals leaning towards McDonnell and no Conservatives leaning towards Deeds. The undecideds expect the Post to endorse Deeds. A left leaning paper is expected to endorse the Semocrat. It’s a given. So, while the WaPo wields a great deal of sway among fellow Democrats in a Primary, they are impotent in a general election, unless they do not endorse the Democrat.
The Sheila Johnson endorsement carried far more power for McDonnell than a Post endorsement for Deeds.
A non endorsement or an endorsement of the Republicans by the Post would constitute a big deal. And will have a huge impact.
Only the impact will be on the WaPo’s bottom line as angry left wing readers cancel their subscriptions in droves. And with the creeping demise of the Post and other print rags, not endorsing Deeds would be a death sentence for the paper.
And that would be a shame for the canaries of D.C.