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Local Editorials

What We Think: No endorsement for unpresidential hopefuls

Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? We can’t endorse either candidate for president, nor can we support a third-party hopeful. Good luck to voters as they weigh these deeply flawed candidates.

Newspaper editorial boards traditionally evaluate candidates running for president based on a set of core values. Among those core values for Sauk Valley Media are fiscal conservatism, limited government, personal responsibility and accountability, a belief in a strong family structure, and a staunch protection of First Amendment rights.

Apply those values to the two major-party candidates for U.S. president, and neither passes.

The Republican, Donald Trump, is a shallow, narcissistic – perhaps sociopathic – bully who treats women as sex objects, belittles the handicapped, and has skin so thin he lashes out on Twitter against anyone who opposes him.

Just when you think Trump’s campaign has hit bottom, a new, far-worse scandal breaks.

Take the 2005 video and audio recording of Trump’s conversation with then “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush that broke recently. On the recording, Trump vulgarly discusses kissing and groping women who “let you do it” just because he’s a celebrity. He later apologized for his words, but attempted to deflect the criticism away from himself by cowardly criticizing his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, for her husband’s, former President Bill Clinton, sexual affairs.

Trump also dismissed his words as “locker room talk.” Make no mistake – his words went well beyond “locker room talk.” In the audio, Trump was bragging about sexual assault.

On policy, Trump is ignorant and dangerously uninformed. He outrageously claimed to know more about the military than U.S. generals. He touted the ridiculous plan to build a thousand-mile-long wall along the U.S. border with Mexico and make Mexico pay for it. He said the U.S. government should close mosques for no other reason than because Muslims worship there. He said he would place new restrictions on the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of the press by opening up libel laws. These are just a few of his policy positions that are either unconstitutional, economically impossible or, well, scary.

Not to mention Trump's stubborn refusal in Wednesday night's debate to say whether he would accept the results of the November election if he loses to Clinton. His assertion that the election is rigged is both unmerited and dangerous. It is disqualifying.

Pure and simple, Trump is incapable of taking any action that is outside his own immediate self-interests. He has the impulse control of a puppy. He is unqualified and unworthy of holding absolutely any public office, let alone being considered as the leader of the free world.

Clinton, Trump’s Democratic rival, is an arrogant, out-of-touch, self-entitled career politician who voters don’t trust – and rightfully so. She’s also a fiscal liberal who would likely continue President Barack Obama’s debt accumulation through big government spending programs.

Displaying unpresidential judgment, Clinton used a private email server to conduct official government business instead of a far-more-secure State Department email system during her tenure as secretary of state, which violated State Department rules. She claimed that no classified material was stored on the private server, but a Justice Department investigation revealed that claim to be untrue. Her private system was more susceptible to hacking, which endangered national security. During the investigation, Clinton’s lawyers turned over about 30,000 emails but deleted thousands of others before they could be reviewed.

Clinton was slow to take responsibility for the gaffe, and recent WikiLeaks releases reveal that she and her team privately fretted over the scandal while planning to publicly play it down. Her lack of transparency in the scandal is unforgivable.

In addition, Bill and Hillary Clinton's involvement in the Clinton Foundation and its dealings with foreign leaders, at best, raises questions about the integrity of Mrs. Clinton's work as secretary of state.

Unfortunately, voters have no good choice for president this year. As we believe with the major-party candidates, none of the third-party candidates are remotely qualified to serve.

In these unprecedented times, we find ourselves unable to reach a consensus on a qualified and viable candidate. We regret that the poor choices in this race led us to a non-decision, but we will not lower our standards for the sake of endorsing an unworthy candidate.

We encourage our readers to conduct their own research and vote their consciences at the polls, and we encourage all citizens to cast a vote for the candidate they believe will best serve the country for the next 4 years.

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