Hillary Clinton is the only choice for president, but Donald J. Trump’s successes say much about our nation’s divisions.

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Today, The Times editorial board recommends Hillary Clinton for president of the United States. While readers will see it as a decision resting on pragmatism rather than enthusiasm, this, nevertheless, is the choice of our time.

Clinton wasn’t this editorial board’s first choice. In fact, the board recommended the newly minted Democrat Bernie Sanders, a Vermont U.S. senator and self-proclaimed democratic socialist, in the race for the Democratic nomination. On the Republican side, Ohio Gov. John Kasich was the clear choice for his experience in Congress and running a state — and for his maturity. But both candidates failed with primary voters.

Now, Clinton is the only choice.

Past endorsements

• 1976 — Gerald Ford, R

• 1980 — Ronald Reagan, R.

• 1984 — Reagan

• 1988 — Michael Dukakis, D

• 1992 — Bill Clinton, D,

• 1996 — Clinton

• 2000 — George W. Bush, R

• 2004 — John Kerry, D

• 2008 — Barack Obama, D

• 2012 — Obama

• 2016 — Hillary Clinton, D

Eleven months ago, the board published an editorial, “Donald Trump’s creeping fascism needs to be rejected,” highlighting what we now know all too well about this demagogue and the damage he has done to civil discourse. “Button-pushing lie after button-pushing lie, he diminishes the public sphere,” the board wrote.

Still, Trump is running a campaign that has demoralized and insulted almost half the nation and, disappointingly, inspired too much of the rest. Polls show him close or leading in some battleground states, including Kasich’s Ohio.

This phenomenon says much about our nation — the precipitously uneven effects of and recovery from a devastating recession, the burdens of 15 years at war with casualties that have fallen too heavily on rural communities and low-income people, the rising fortunes of high-tech communities and the fading of some resource-based economies, the bitter divisiveness of trade-dependent communities and those who blame trade agreements for lost jobs and growing income inequity everywhere.

Blue Washington, with its own versions of those divisions, is expected to go strongly for Clinton. Recent polls show Clinton is leading Trump by double digits.

Today’s Times’ endorsement of Clinton won’t be much of a surprise in Puget Sound. But in red Spokane County across the state, The Spokesman-Review’s endorsement of her was. Editorial page editor Gary Crooks reported the Clinton endorsement was only the third time in the newspaper’s 122-year history that it did not endorse a Republican. The last time was for Bill Clinton in 1992, and before that it was 1912 when the erstwhile Republican and by-then-former President Teddy Roosevelt, running on the progressive Bull Moose ticket, got the nod.

The spectacle of Trump’s campaign has pushed other reliably conservative-leaning newspaper editorial boards to make similar history, too. The Dallas Morning News endorsed its first Democrat for president in 75 years and prompted angry protesters; San Diego Union-Tribune endorsed its first Democrat in its 148-year history, The Arizona Republic — the list goes on.

Washington is not a battleground state. But in 2000, it was considered a swing state, bringing Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore to the state in the quest to replace Bill Clinton.

That year, the Times editorial board stoked its own controversy by endorsing Bush over Gore — an act that has become legend among many story commenters who still can’t get over it. Interestingly, Gore won the state by just 5 percent that year — and King County went for Gore by 60 percent. That might have been higher except for the Green Party’s Ralph Nader.

But four years later, the editorial board, disturbed by Bush’s headlong rush to war in Iraq and other issues, abandoned him for John Kerry and later went strongly for Barack Obama in both of his campaigns.

While the Clinton-Trump question is the one with the most buzz on the ballot, voters have many other important decisions. Among them are state representatives and senators who will go back to Olympia to solve the state’s basic-education-funding problem. The state Supreme Court continues to hold the state in contempt for an inequitable system that leaves too many students behind.

The Seattle Times editorial board already is publishing recommendations for most legislative races in King and Snohomish counties, all the statewide executive races and ballot measures. Ballots will be mailed to voters by Oct. 21.

To read the rest of The Seattle Times’ endorsements, go to: st.news/nov-2016-endorsements.

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