Why we're breaking tradition: Our view

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Why we're breaking tradition: Our view

The USA TODAY Editorial Board traditionally has not made voting recommendations.

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Why we're breaking tradition: Our view

The Editorial Board, USA TODAY Published 6:41 p.m. ET Sept. 29, 2016 | Updated 8:59 p.m. ET Sept. 29, 2016
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For the first time in its 34-year history, USA TODAY's Editorial Board is choosing a side in the presidential race.

The USA TODAY Editorial Board traditionally has not made voting recommendations.

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There are a number of reasons the Editorial Board — which operates by consensus and reaches our opinions independently from any other part of USA TODAY or its parent company, Gannett — traditionally has not made voting recommendations:

  • Different voters — a soldier in Afghanistan, a worker displaced by imports, a woman with an unplanned pregnancy — have different concerns.
  • Unlike community publications, which have dozens of political races to cover and readers who know little about them, USA TODAY has only the presidential race to consider, and readers have no shortage of information about it.
  • Fairness is one of our core values. It’s the reason most of our editorials are coupled with an opposing view, a unique feature that gives readers another side of an issue. Once a news organization makes an endorsement, some readers perceive it as biased — even if, as at USA TODAY, the organization has a strong wall between its opinion and news sections.
  • Our ideologically and demographically diverse Editorial Board seeks to be pragmatic and politically non-aligned. The current board has conservative, moderate, progressive and libertarian members. Usually, we couldn’t agree on an endorsement anyway.

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USA TODAY's Editorial Board: Trump is 'unfit for the presidency'

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Mike Pence: Donald Trump is ready to lead

In breaking with tradition this year, we asked ourselves what Al Neuharth, who founded USA TODAY in 1982, would have done. Like Donald Trump, Neuharth had a big ego. (Trump’s best-known book is “The Art of the Deal”; Neuharth’s was “Confessions of an S.O.B.”) But Neuharth, who died in 2013, was a champion of diversity, a defender of First Amendment freedoms and an optimist about America’s future. In a 2012 column, he described Trump as “a clown who loves doing or saying things” to get attention, “no matter how ridiculous.”

Sounds like Al was on to something.

USA TODAY's editorial opinions are decided by its Editorial Board, separate from the news staff. Most editorials are coupled with an opposing view — a unique USA TODAY feature.

To read more editorials, go to the Opinion front page or sign up for the daily Opinion email newsletter. To respond to this editorial, submit a comment to [email protected].

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