How Toronto's Papers Covered Election Day in the U.S.
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How Toronto’s Papers Covered Election Day in the U.S.

The end of the world as we know it?

In Front Page Challenge, Torontoist analyzes the best and worst of Toronto’s major dailies.


Americans finally go to the polls today to select the 45th president of the United States, marking the end of the most bruising, hard-fought election campaign in American history, with most polls showing Democrat Hillary Clinton with an advantage. But there’s much uncertainty as to whether Republican Donald Trump has enough secret support from voters to pull off a stunning victory. On days like today, especially after such a polarizing campaign, the whole world is watching, and the editorial preferences of newspapers can be deduced by how they cover the day voters go to the polls. But with a new American president mere hours away from being elected and history about to be made, which of Toronto’s papers best capture the tenor of the times?

globe nov 8
The Globe and Mail

The Globe‘s entire front page is devoted to Election Day coverage, with matching photos of Clinton and Trump set against respective American flags. Marcus Gee delivers a magniloquent column from New York harbour this morning, stretching an obvious metaphor for imperilled American democracy, the city’s Statue of Liberty, to its breaking point:

The sun rose over New York harbour at 6:33 on Monday, the day before Americans were finally to vote in the ugliest U.S. election anyone can remember. The horizon glowed pink against the grey morning waves. Gulls circled in the early light. A plane traced a white thread across the eastern sky.

Off in the distance, a figure came into view, her arm held high. As the first full rays bathed her towering form, the green of her copper robes showed against the sky’s blue backdrop and the gold flame in her upraised torch seemed to glow.

The United States is not just the most powerful country in the world. It’s the most powerful idea: the idea of freedom. If that idea becomes tarnished and the torch dims, the whole world stands to suffer.

post nov 8
National Post

The National Post boils the choice facing America today down to a minimalist showdown between the silhouettes of Trump and Clinton, and as far as the Post is concerned, this election seems to be too close to call. Matthew Fisher weighs in from the campaign trail and deploys the argument many Conservatives have used to rationalize Trump’s likely loss to Clinton, that “both candidates are flawed” and that most voters are holding their noses at the ballot box this time. Fisher feels the results of the election will enrage nearly half of the electorate no matter what the outcome, and that it’s too late to put this genie back in the proverbial bottle.

star nov 8
Toronto Star

The Star didn’t go the extra mile this morning with a strong graphic design for America’s Election Day. Its “America Votes” coverage mostly frets about the possibility of a Trump victory, split between Rosie DiManno reporting from Washington on “Citizen Trump” (who she thinks has no hope of actually occupying the White House) and Daniel Dale (who has received great acclaim during the campaign for his tenacious daily fact-checking of Trump). Dale hasn’t forgotten his Canadian roots, describing today’s vote as a “referendum,” this one being “on the soul of a divided nation.” The Star also finds room on page one for a Martin Regg Cohn column on the “Dickensian” mistreatment of inmate Adam Capay in supposedly modern Ontario, and gives a shout-out to Madeleine Thien for winning this year’s Giller Prize.

metro nov 8
Metro Toronto

Metro is unabashedly in the tank for Hillary Clinton this morning, anticipating her to emerge as Madam President once the ballots are tallied. It sees Clinton’s likely victory as the triumph of “hope over fear,” and its “Election Day Special” provides an overview of election night viewing parties taking place across Canadian cities tonight. Metro also squeezes in a mention of Madeleine Thien’s “well-deserved” Giller Prize.

Toronto Sun

sun nov 8

“END OF DAYS” intones the Toronto Sun headline, against silhouetted profiles of Trump and Clinton. This headline is a hint that the conservative Sun feels Trump may lose the election; if it looked like he was going to win (and therefore “Make America Great Again”) the front page wouldn’t be so downbeat. “America Holds Its Nose And Votes,” sighs columnist Mark Bonokoski, who takes the popular “both candidates are flawed” position:

“There is, without question, one undeniable fact about this election. It has been the dirtiest and most divisive presidential campaign in modern U.S. history, with Republican candidate Donald Trump portrayed as the creepiest of creepy clowns, and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton so arguably corrupt that she seems beyond redemption, despite her last email scour coming up empty for the FBI.”

Another Sun column, from Thomas Howell, says neither Trump nor Clinton are qualified for the presidency but of course names Trump as the lesser of two evils due to Clinton’s “ruthless and cunning contempt for anything and anybody that gets in the way of her personal enrichment and power.” While Trump poses much less ideological danger and “can be impeached if he oversteps the bounds.” The Sun also makes a special plea to local heroes Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista to stay with the team next year instead of opting for free agency. Will the Sun‘s gambit keep Bautista from signing with the New York Mets? Stay tuned!

This week’s winner: the Post and the Sun cancel each other out this morning with covers that are strong but too similar in design, letting the Globe run up the middle to victory this week, with its arresting photos of the two candidates looking triumphant as this strange, nasty election campaign comes to a merciful end.

Newspaper Number of Wins
Toronto Sun 14
Metro 14
Toronto Star 10
Globe and Mail 9
National Post 7

Front Page Challenge returns Wednesday with a special edition looking at how Toronto’s papers cover the results of the U.S. election.

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