Spectrum editors divulge on publication's lack of Presidential endorsement
Published: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
If you read any other newspapers, you might notice something different in the confines of its pages every election year: a candidate endorsement, an editorial piece where the editorial board of the organization meets, discusses and decides who they wish to endorse for elected office.
Here at The Spectrum, this will not be the case.
Last week, we sat down trying to figure out who we wanted to give our endorsement to, but the discussion quickly turned to “Do we want to give an endorsement at all?” The answer is obviously no. Instead, we have e-board representatives – one for Mitt Romney, one for President Obama, one for a third-party option, and one undecided – to write their own columns on why they’re voting the way they are. In an issue devoted to the election, we have no intention to write a lengthy piece showering praise over one specific candidate.
Why does it matter? Chances are high that anyone reading a newspaper endorsement is not going to decide or change his mind because of the piece. But every issue, our paper is devoted to one page of opinion. Though you might try and make assumptions, you don’t know whom we’re voting for based on news articles and features. There has been some unwritten rule that newspapers should endorse candidates for offices because of that – to show our opinion and tell you our choice after providing you with page after page of information.
That’s exactly why we’re not doing it.
We are a split e-board. Our opinions on this election range from incredibly similar to polar opposites. We have some editors who are still entirely undecided and some who have been decided since the election season began. Our editorial meetings that revolve around politics can get very heated and sometimes personal. If we were to mesh all of our viewpoints together, the collective viewpoint would probably not fit into any major political party, and despite our strong sway on certain issues, there are always exceptions to the rule.
So it would be deceitful of us to try and pick somebody, and the collective decision between the candidates is far more difficult than making the decision to not do an endorsement in general. We are just as split on the decision as the rest of you, and we’re echoing that national split. Yesterday Rasmussen Reports polling put Mitt Romney ahead 50 percent to 47 percent for President Obama. Within their own parties, Romney has support of 90 percent of the Republican Party, and Obama has support of 86 percent of Democrats.
For the record, the majority of our editors support the re-election of President Obama. But the way our newsroom is set up and the way we operate, we don’t feel strong enough to make an all-out decision. We have members on our e-board who support Obama, Romney, third-party candidates, no one at all or are still undecided. And in almost all cases, our support comes with hesitance, unsure that our candidate would do a better job than the next.
So when the decision became all-or-nothing, we chose nothing.
Our indecision is just proof of just how split this election really is. In an election where many are saying that Ohio will decide it, even Ohio is too close to call – the most recent polls from Ohio News Organization have the candidates deadlocked at 49 percent. But the question is why is the country so split?
Since the committee nominations, we’ve seen such a dramatic shift from Mitt Romney to the current “Moderate Mitt” that we saw in the debates. The president, despite being a lot grayer, has barely changed at all from the Barack Obama of 2008, and between the two of them, the divide is not that harsh – neither is that radically different.
With the President, we know what we’re going to get: four more years of more of the same, which, honestly, hasn’t been that bad. Four more years is the safe bet, but it also might lead to a worse result. On the other hand, people who are dissatisfied with the lack of progress from Obama have a curiosity and a yearning to see if Romney could do better. But he’s a gamble and a risk. Good or bad, nobody has any idea what he or she is going to get with Governor Mitt.
Whichever candidate you go for has his or her strengths and weaknesses, though. Obama is inevitably stronger on social issues in the sense of what the majority of college students look at, but we put more trust in Romney with the economy. Foreign policy is a toss-up between the two, especially since neither candidate proved anything to us in the final debate that was supposedly on the issue.
And if these two don’t appeal to you at all, there are always the options on the third-party ballots: Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Virgil Goode and Rocky Anderson. Despite not having the majority vote in the country, these candidates could play a very important role in the election and could tilt the outcome in the swing states.
Election 2012 is eight days away. We’ve given you the platforms, the articles and the cheat sheets. We’ve told you individual opinions and discussed the issues in editorials, given you coverage on the debates and scored them on how we think they did. There’s nothing more we can do – the rest is all up to you.
Get informed and go vote.