Editorial: Choosing not to endorse a presidential candidate

Anne Buie

Editor’s Note: The following represents the majority of the editorial board.

The Appalachian made the slightly unconventional decision to endorse a Student Government Association president/vice president ticket last semester.

And with the national election highlighting this semester, we chose not to endorse a president/vice president this year.

It was easier for us to endorse an SGA ticket because we had met with the candidates and talked with them.

But we have not met with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Gov. Mitt Romney or U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan.

Several national publications had the opportunity to meet with Obama and Romney. These publications had the chance to talk with the candidates on a more personal level and ask specific questions that catered to what the newspapers were looking for in their endorsement.

As journalists, we get the chance to meet with the candidates and ask particular questions we want answered. These interviews, whether in person, email or over the phone, give us the chance to see the candidates in a more personal light.

A month ago, we sat down during an editorial board meeting and debated endorsing a candidate, but we quickly realized that none of us felt compelled to fight for one particular ticket without these crucial interviews.

And we were not alone.

According to the Daily Caller, of the 89 college newspapers that endorsed President Obama in 2008, 43 said they are not endorsing a candidate in 2012, and 53 did not indicate before the election whether they would endorse a candidate or not. The Daily Campus from the University of Connecticut endorsed Romney, while The Davidsonian at Davidson College endorsed both presidential candidates.

We did not feel comfortable endorsing a combination of candidates, but we did not feel comfortable endorsing a single candidate, either.

Politics turned personal for us, and there was never a clear consensus on who we wanted to vote for as a collective group and why we should.

Instead, we turned our attention to encouraging our opinion writers and voluntary staff members to pick up politically charged opinions.

Because at the end of the day, we all signed our ballots with our own names, and our names alone – not beside the other names on our editorial board.