Read a bi-weekly column from The 19th’s editor-at-large, Errin Haines, every other Friday. Delivered straight to your inbox.
On Tuesday night at 9:22 p.m. ET, Donald Trump announced his third bid for president of the United States, unofficially launching the 2024 campaign. His announcement came just a week after Democrats defied history in one of the most consequential midterm elections in recent memory by maintaining control of the Senate, holding Republicans to a slim majority in the House and keeping many election deniers away from the levers of our democracy.
In his remarks, Trump confirmed what we already know about who he is — which is why, for our newsroom and the audiences we serve, this election must be about who voters are.
People in major media outlets predicted a Republican “red wave” headed into last week and suggested that, because abortion was not most Americans’ top issue, it wouldn’t be a galvanizing issue for millions of voters this year. On the other side of November 8, it became clear that much of the media missed the story of the midterms by centering pundits and predictions. They missed the concerns and the motivations of many voters and failed to capture the full electorate. At The 19th, we remained focused on you.
Our journalists interviewed the voters, organizers, experts, activists and candidates who told us directly that abortion was on the ballot in 2022. Our inaugural poll — which asked nuanced questions of a diverse set of Americans — reinforced those sentiments and helped us to see that women and marginalized people would be the deciders in November.
Both Trump’s latest run for president and last week’s results are in part a huge response to the rising majority in our country, a coalition that includes The 19th’s key audiences: women and LGBTQ+ people, particularly people of color and folks with disabilities, and those who are marginalized in our democracy and our society. Because we talked to them early and often about their lived experiences, our journalists know that many of these Americans see what is happening in our politics in existential terms.
Getting the story right for our intersectional audience is more critical than ever to who we are as a newsroom, and essential to leaving behind the most honest and accurate record of who we are as a democracy.
I came here to help start The 19th to tell a fuller truth about where we are as a country. The work we do feels like my highest calling as a journalist, and the urgency of the moment is what gets me out of bed. But here’s what keeps me up at night: Is the work we do meeting the moment for our industry and for our audiences? Are we doing the things we set out to do?
Presidential elections are one of the ultimate tests of a newsroom, a chance to show the country what we’re made of, to literally live up to the mantle the Constitution of the United States places on us. The First Amendment is fundamental to who we are. We have an additional charge: to make the 15th, 19th and 26th amendments to the Constitution real for millions of Americans through journalism that reflects how their lives are impacted by politics and policy, and empowers their full participation in our democracy.
In many ways, this newsroom met the moment of the midterms, reaffirming the need for our existence in an industry that remains too White, too male and too obsessed with horse race, turn-of-the-screw politics. To meet the moment in 2024, The 19th must continue to advance the mission, support our team and serve our audience.
This work is ambitious, and it includes the entire organization, working together toward a shared goal and vision about the stakes of this election and why it matters for you. As candidates begin asking for your vote, The 19th will continue to ask for your trust. We hope to continue to earn it.