In a major break with tradition, The Dallas Morning News will not endorse a presidential candidate this year. Instead, the newspaper will explore and support “ideas” and offer a “vision for the country,” it explained in an editorial message to readers.
Its rationale is that the more thoughtful, voter-empowering approach will quell the rise of political personality cults, overheated extremes — and contempt.
“From the start, this nation was always an idea, a concept about liberty ... that invited a perpetual debate about how society should be,” the newspaper noted. Now the nation is “at a crossroads.” It can “pivot into a bright future or fall into an abyss.”
There’s currently a “broad push to drive our politics to extremes, to destroy without building consensus for what should be built,” the newspaper warned. Political debates are being driven by “assessments of political personalities” and “populist passions on the left and right,” it added. The result is distracted voters who empower a candidate without ever “seriously debating policy implications.”
The paper will continue to endorse local candidates, but, on a national level, “we can best serve our readers by sorting through the messages that politicians throw at voters,” the Morning News explained. It will explore such issues as taxation, economic policy and immigration.
It will also speak up for “individual liberty, the rule of law and alliances with like-minded democracies,” the editorial noted. “We believe that society must arc toward justice, compassion and responsibility.”
The election is “larger” than Donald Trump, the message emphasized. “What’s at stake in 2020 is the basic art of democracy” — and a turning away from the “crisis of contempt.”
“We stand ... with Abraham Lincoln, who reminded us in his second inaugural address” ... that ‘we should proceed with “malice toward none, with charity toward all,”’” the paper stated.
The editorial concluded: “We’ll start that conversation on civility ... by framing and supporting ideas rather than a candidate for president ... We hope it will empower you, the voter. For our fate resides in your hands.”