Some may wonder why a newspaper would choose to endorse candidates for public office.
Some think news organizations should not offer opinions, because readers might believe that what’s on the Opinion page influences how we cover the news.
Others consider endorsements a meaningless relic of another era when newspapers had the biggest and loudest voices in most communities.
Some are upset when we do not endorse the candidate of their choice.
So why do we do it? It’s actually pretty simple.
Each day, on and ONLY ON the Opinion page, we express our views on pretty much everything that matters to the people who live here.
Taxes. Government action or inaction. The responsibility to help those in need. The inequity of how some people are treated. On and on. If it is an important topic for the people in our communities, we examine the issues involved and work to express an educated viewpoint.
I feel strongly that is among the obligations of a good community newspaper.
I also believe it would make no sense to weigh in on everything else but to sit out the elections.
So, about two months before each election, we begin the process of inviting candidates to speak with us and answer a series of questions about key issues. (Unfortunately, we don’t get to do that for president — though we did reach out to both campaigns again this year.)
During the ensuing weeks, the members of our editorial and community advisory boards — people who work for the newspaper and some community volunteers — have a chance to sit in on these interviews. We record and post them on our website, so you can watch them at your convenience.
After we have spoken to them all and reviewed their records, we make our best suggestions. As Pennsylvania, like most places, is very politically divided, those suggestions are almost certain to draw some disagreement.
That’s fine. We welcome reasoned opposing opinions — emphasis on the word reasoned. The Daily Item has one of the most robust Letters to the Editor exchanges I have seen in my 40-plus years in this business. It’s part of what I admire about this place.
History shows that a sizeable majority of Susquehanna Valley voters will likely vote for all Republicans on this year’s ballot, including President Donald Trump. Even in years when a Democrat has captured the White House or another state or national office, Valley voters have been reliably Republican.
Throughout the week, in addition to the president, we will be endorsing in the two congressional races, two area state senate races, a Valley state house race and the contests for state attorney general and state auditor general. There are no local municipal races this year.
We’ve been balanced in endorsements in recent elections. In 2018, we endorsed three Republicans and three Democrats. In 2016 we endorsed five Republicans and two Democrats. You could look it up.
Let me stress that we in no way set out to balance how many from each party we endorse. How it turns out depends on the editorial board’s assessment of the qualifications of the candidates.
We start today with the presidential race. I know many will disagree with our choice of Joe Biden.
I also believe we still live in a nation where reasonable people can disagree. So let’s be reasonable. And civil.
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