Leah Goggins | @leahisonline
We know that if you regularly read opinions content from The Crimson White or spend any amount of time in the comments section of our Instagram posts, you know what we’re about to say. But we have to say it anyway.
Vote for Doug. Vote for Joe.
We know we’re a student newspaper in a town of 100,000, and our reach is small. We know we probably won’t sway your vote if you have your mind made up already. But not endorsing a candidate for the 2020 Presidential Election would only imply silence on issues that affect our campus and local population.
National papers have made endorsements commonplace, and more than 30 college newspapers have also endorsed candidates in the 2020 presidential race. It isn’t as if all of these editorial boards think they’re going to snap their fingers and change their readers’ minds. In their endorsement of Joe Biden, the editorial board of The Michigan Daily recognized that their prior endorsement of Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries hadn’t made much of a difference. But, as that editorial board wrote, “now is not the time for avoidance.”
Our endorsement isn’t about changing minds. It’s about showing support for the students and staff on campus marching for Black lives. It’s about saying loudly that this campus isn’t all Trump flags and Ben Shapiro lectures. It’s about telling you, our readers, who we are as a newspaper in no uncertain terms.
But endorsements come at a cost that some papers just can’t afford. Take the example of AL.com, which is owned by Alabama Media Group, our state’s largest news conglomerate. The editorial board of AL.com did not endorse a candidate for the 2020 presidential election after receiving backlash when they endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016. If their comments section is at all reflective of their revenue sources, AL.com could have a real tough time keeping journalists employed after a Biden endorsement.
We’re not AL.com. We aren’t at risk for losing funding. If anything, we’re at risk for losing some staunchly bigoted followers, which is honestly fine.
Trump has to go. His failure to respond quickly to a deadly pandemic has cost more than 200,000 people their lives. He has enabled white supremacists and even hired some strategists described as “white nationalist-adjacent” to work in his White House. He has purposely separated children from their parents, a punishment not fitting for the crime of wanting a better life in a country built on immigration. (And before you leap back over to Twitter to tell us that Barack Obama did it first, maybe do a Google.)
Our Editorial Board has chosen to be silent on endorsing candidates in the past, especially when board members just couldn’t agree on which candidate to support. But in this race, there is simply no question about it. President Trump is bad for America. He’s bad for the way we communicate with people we disagree with. He’s bad for climate change, civil rights and even the national deficit, if you can believe it.
We’re aware that Joe Biden isn’t a perfect candidate. He wasn’t our first choice, but now he’s our only choice. And he has announced policies—like raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour and implementing facets of the Green New Deal—that are just flat-out best for our generation. We need to make changes that will slow the pace of climate change. We need to pay American workers a living wage. We need a non-Republican in office to make those changes happen.
If you’ve made it to the end of this editorial and you’re mad at us, that’s okay. But as a paper that has endorsed presidential candidates regularly since Michael Dukakis in 1988, we cannot be silent this year. The choice between Donald Trump and Joe Biden could be the most important decision any of us will ever make.
We hope you make the right choice Tuesday. We know we will.
The 2020-2021 Crimson White Editorial Board is composed of Editor-in-Chief Rebecca Griesbach, Managing Editor Leah Goggins, Engagement Editor Adaya Jackson, Chief Copy Editor Bhavana Ravala and Opinions Editor Mikayla Wyatt.
Note: This story was edited to clarify that AL.com has not officially given a reason for not endorsing a candidate this year and to clarify Joe Biden’s stance on the Green New Deal.