Endorsement explanations

The Minnesota Daily editorial board didnâÄôt spend time quarreling about whether to endorse a presidential candidate. During what some people are calling a historic election, we felt a responsibility to present, at the very least, what we thought were the most persuasive arguments for voting for Barack Obama. In deciding to endorse Obama, the board first drew up what we considered the most pressing issues facing the nation: the economy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, energy policy and civil rights. A decision âÄîdespite popular perception that the Daily is a resoundingly liberal paper âÄî was not an outright consensus. One board member, an zealous supporter of third parties, argued that an endorsement for a third-party candidate on a college campus would be sound because Obama, if not in Minnesota, will certainly win the campus vote, and voting third-party now will give them viability in the future. Another board member is still undecided. Had McCain been the politician he once was âÄî a centrist who was willing to flout his party âÄî our decision would have been tough. But McCain, for whatever reason, has taken uncharacteristic shifts in his policy and message that have brought him closer to the hardliner right wing base of his party. In Obama, we see a slightly left-of-center politician who has illustrated sound and intelligent judgment throughout the campaign. The board also debated what role ObamaâÄôs race plays in the endorsement. We decided, however historic his candidacy may be, that the merit of having race an issue in choosing a black candidate is about as illogical as having it be an issue in not choosing one. Beyond debating the merits of the presidential candidates, the Daily would like to clarify a common misperception: A paperâÄôs endorsement doesnâÄôt affect its reporting. The ethical lines between the newsroom and the opinions and editorials pages are so tight that this opinions editor has spatial restrictions in the office. Indeed, whenever I wander into the newsroom, I will no doubt be followed by chiding glares from my superior. Otherwise, the board would like to encourage everyone to vote this year, whether you have to sacrifice missing class or not.