A week ahead of the first votes in the never-ending 2016 presidential election, the Des Moines Register has made its endorsements, and at least on the GOP side the paper is clearly indicating this is not a popularity contest: Failing to so much as mention frontrunners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, the Register skips right to "whip-smart" Marco Rubio, calling him "his party's best hope" and praising him as having "the potential to chart a new direction for the party, and perhaps the nation, with his message of restoring the American Dream." Adding insult to their omission of Trump and Cruz, the editorial board praised Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and John Kasich as having "executive experience, pragmatism and thoughtful policies," notes NPR.
Things were more predictable on the Democrats' side, with the paper giving Hillary Clinton its stamp of approval, noting that "no other candidate can match the depth or breadth of her knowledge and experience." The Register acknowledged Bernie Sanders as "an honorable and formidable campaigner" who has driven much of the national conversation on income inequality, but ultimately it's "almost inconceivable" that he could enact any of his sweeping proposals in the current Washington climate. Martin O'Malley, meanwhile, it said was better suited to a Clinton Cabinet position.