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Chicago Tribune knocks Trump, endorses Johnson

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson gives acceptance speech during National Convention held at the Rosen Centre in Orlando, Florida, May 29, 2016.

REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski

Breaking with a long tradition of backing Republicans for the presidency, the Chicago Tribune has endorsed Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

“We would rather recommend a principled candidate for president — regardless of his or her prospects for victory — than suggest that voters cast ballots for such disappointing major-party candidates,” the paper’s editorial wrote in a story published Friday.

Johnson, a former Republican governor of New Mexico, has done somewhat well in the polls for a third-party candidate, but has also committed a series of unforced errors in recent interviews. Earlier this week, during a town hall aired on MSNBC, he was unable to name a foreign leader he admired, repeatedly blanking on the name of former Mexican president Vincente Fox.

Earlier this month, he was stumped when asked by journalist Mike Barnicle about what he would do about the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo. “What is Aleppo?” he responded.

Johnson currently gets support from around 7 percent of voters nationwide, according to the most recent RealClearPolitics polling average, a number well behind the 15 percent deemed necessary before he can be included in presidential debates.

The Tribune’s decision to back Johnson is one of his biggest newspaper endorsements to date. Many newspapers that traditionally back Republican nominees have endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton this year, while The Detroit News and New Hampshire Union-Leader, among others, have lined up behind Johnson.

“Taken together, Trump and Clinton have serious flaws that prevent us from offering our support to either of them,” the editorial board wrote.