What follows is a transcript of a secret recording of the meeting last week of the New York Times Editorial Board as it discussed who it will endorse for President in 2020.
Moderator: Okay, everyone, settle down. We have a momentous responsibility today. As you know, all the best people who are deciding who to vote for this year will be carefully eyeing our decision, since they have so few other information sources. So let’s give this the serious consideration that it deserves.
Voice in back: Donald Trump! Keep America Great!
Moderator: Very funny. I think we can dispense with that suggestion. So let’s go through the candidates in random order. First up: Bernie Sanders.
Voice with Brooklyn accent: Too Jewish. Oy.
Moderator: Who let Larry David in here? Actually, as Jews go, he’s not that Jewish.
Quiet voice: He’s the only one who can beat Trump.
Unidentified Board Member 1: I don’t think we can endorse a socialist for President. And his constant whining is really annoying.
Shouts: Hear, hear.
Moderator: So much for Bernie. How about Pete Buttigieg.
Shouts: Too young. Too inexperienced.
Unidentified voice: Too gay.
Moderator: Let’s keep the homophobia in check, shall we? Obviously, we can’t endorse the mayor of South Bend for President, even though he’s got intriguing ideas.
Unidentified Board Member 2: We could say he’s too new. Hasn’t paid his dues.
Moderator: That sounds good. After all, look what happened when the Republicans nominated somebody new. So, no Pete. Good, I could never figure out how to pronounce his name anyway. Okay, how about Andrew Yang?
Shouts: Too new!
Moderator: See, this is easier than I thought. He’s clearly running for Secretary of something or other, anyway. Okay, who’s left? Elizabeth Warren.
Shouts: Too radical! Too old!
Moderator: She’s the only one here who actually lays out plans for what she will do.
Unidentified Board Member 3. Yeah, but Medicare for all? The end of private health insurance? That’s too far out.
Quiet voice: And there’s the whole fake Indian thing.
Moderator: Okay, she’s out. Are there any black people running?
Unidentified Board Member: Not any more. All dropped out.
Moderator: So much for diversity. What about Bloomberg?
Unidentified Board Member 4: Haven’t we had enough of him in this city? No one will take us seriously if we endorse a billionaire ex-Mayor.
Moderator: Bloomberg didn’t even get into the debates. We can’t endorse somebody we’ve hardly heard from. So we’re left with . . . Amy Klobuchar.
Unidentified Board Member 5: You know. Midwestern. Moderate. Polls well in swing states. Eats salad with a comb.
Moderator: Yeah, but what does she stand for?
Unidentified Board Member 5: Pretty much, going back to where we were before Trump.
Moderator: So we’re left with Klobuchar? We must be missing somebody.
Quiet voice: I think Joe Biden is running.
Moderator: Yeah, I heard something about that. What’s he stand for?
Unidentified Board Member 6: Obama again. Only slower, and with a hand out to Republicans to work together.
Moderator: Geez. Who would vote for that?
Unidentified Board Member 6: He’s the front-runner.
Moderator: Hmm. No accounting for people, I guess. Well we were talking about Klobuchar. Are we in agreement?
Quiet voice: I don’t think so. She’s not very inspiring.
Moderator: Well, they all have flaws.
Unidentified Board Member 7: None of the Democrats are inspiring to everybody. The moderates like Biden and Buttigieg and and the liberals like Warren and Sanders.
Moderator: Well, I was hoping for consensus, but that seems to be impossible. Let’s do a secret ballot. Write your choice on a piece of paper.
Rustling of papers.
Moderator: OK, let’s see what we have. Six votes for Klobuchar, six votes for Warren, one vote for Biden, and one vote for . . . Michael Bennet? Who’s the joker?
Moderator: OK, we have two clear choices here. Show of hands: How many of you would support endorsing Warren?
Moderator: Okay, that’s seven. And how many for Klobuchar?
Moderator: That’s seven, too. Well, we’re deadlocked.
Quiet voice: Well, we could endorse both.
Unidentified Board Member 8: And showcase the the division in the Democratic party? What a terrible idea.
Moderator: No, I think it’s a great idea. We show that we think they’re all flawed, and we won’t get criticized by either wing of the party.
Unidentified Board Member 8: We’re going to look like wimps.
Moderator: Have you read our paper lately? We’re scared of our own shadow. I think this is perfect. And it will make news: our first split endorsement. Thanks everyone. Let’s write it up.
Sounds of chairs scraping, people talking, piling out of room.
Quiet voice talking on mobile phone: Yes, Comrade Putin. . . . Yes, I did. . . . They can’t make up their minds, all it took was a little push. . . . Count on it. I remain ever loyal to you and Comrade Trump. Good bye, Mr. President.