An Endorsement Is An Opinion…Not Validation

On Saturday evening, the Des Moines Register announced their endorsement for President of the United States.  For the first time since 1972, the Register endorsed a Republican candidate, Mitt Romney.

Of course, this caused an uproar with many (specifically liberals and anti-Romney people) to no end.

Just because your newspaper didn’t endorse your guy, it doesn’t guarantee that he’ll lose. Endorsements are a crap shoot.

I find it funny on how people overreact to such silly things such as an endorsement.

An endorsement is nothing more than an opinion.  Everyone endorses something or someone.  However, for my generation (Xers) and Milennials, we have a bad habit of not looking at history and facts as we’re running around going crazy over the Register’s endorsement of Romney.

First of all, an endorsement, as I noted, is an opinion.  Traditionally, endorsements doesn’t hold much weight or sway people one way or another.  In other words, it means nothing by the time Election Day arrives.  Most of the time, anyone who is endorsed doesn’t always win the election.

Here is a list of the election year, candidates the Register has endorsed, and who actually won the presidential election.  Mind you, since 1976, the Register endorsed a Democratic candidate, until their decision on Saturday night.

1972:  Richard Nixon; Richard Nixon

1976:  Jimmy Carter; Jimmy Carter

1980:  Jimmy Carter; Ronald Reagan

1984:  Walter Mondale; Ronald Reagan

1988:  Michael Dukakis; George H.W. Bush

1996:  Bill Clinton; Bill Clinton

1996:  Bill Clinton; Bill Clinton

2000: Al Gore; George W. Bush

2004: John Kerry; George W. Bush

2008:  Barack Obama; Barack Obama

Out of 10 presidential endorsements, the Register was wrong on 5 of them.  That’s 50%.  See, endorsements doesn’t provide much of a bounce for a candidate.

Which leads me to this observation:  it’s amusing to read the reaction of those who have had no issue with the Register endorsing their party candidates (for this long of course)…until the paper chooses someone else they don’t like.

In the above classic clip from the British comedy series “Yes, Prime Minister”, PM Jim Hacker and Sir Humphrey Appleby argue over newspapers.  Humphrey believes that papers only pander to readers’ prejudices, in which Hacker delivers his memorable line, only be upstaged at the end by his private secretary Bernard Wooley.

Newspapers, to me, should not be in the affirmation business when it comes to people and their political views, for the most part.  They are (and should be) in the information business.  You need information and facts, so that you can make your own conclusions or learn more about a topic.

They assessed their interviews and interactions with both candidates, scrutinized their proposed agenda and plans, and made an opinion.  That’s what you and I do on a daily basis about someone or something.

Ironically, most of you have already made up your mind about who you are endorsing and voting for.  There is no difference.

Entities such as MSNBC and Fox News are in the affirmation business.  They provide the biased slant that you want to hear, thus making you feel good by affirming your political beliefs and values.  Where else do people turn to hear Rachel Maddow affirm your liberal views and Ann Coulter to validate your conservative views?

For as much progressive (or liberal) views the Register’s editorial board has endorsed from supporting the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling on Varnum v. Brien, more government transparency, endorsement of light-rail service to Des Moines, and others, to let one thing like a political endorsement make you lose your mind, isn’t one of them.

Nor should it.

It’s alright to disagree with the Register’s endorsement, but let’s not get too batshit crazy here.  It’s one opinion, and the opinion is subject to be wrong…including your opinion as well as mine.

No one is obligated to appease your political beliefs, as a way to make you happy.

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