The Spokesman-Review has endorsed candidates for more than 70 years. Our endorsements reflect the publisher’s views and are made independently of news coverage.
Over the decades, publishers have shifted from solidly Republican to a more centrist, pragmatic and pro-business view, prioritizing candidates and policies that would best serve the Inland Northwest.
As both major political parties have retreated to extremes in recent years, finding such candidates has become increasingly difficult. This year’s gubernatorial and presidential races exemplify that challenge. There are no ideal candidates among the serious contenders.
Therefore, with significant misgivings on both counts, we recommend voters re-elect Washington’s Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and Republican President Donald Trump.
Governor: Jay Inslee
It’s been nearly 50 years since Washingtonians elected a governor to a third term, but given the state Republican Party’s inability to field a strong candidate in this year’s race, Gov. Jay Inslee should get one.
There’s a lot to worry about with another Inslee term, not least that the governor has seemed more focused on national and global issues than on the issues hitting his own state the hardest. He has spent more time running for president and railing against climate change than addressing homelessness, a far more critical concern to the state.
The distracted governor also remains oblivious to big and small business concerns outside the Puget Sound, especially agricultural industries.
He is beholden to public employee unions and an opponent of education reform and accountability.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Inslee led by executive order far longer than necessary rather than work with lawmakers. On his watch, the Washington Employment Security Department flailed and got ripped off by scammers.
Despite all that, he’s the better choice. Republican Loren Culp is token opposition. He’s the police chief in Republic (population: 1,105) who made a name for himself fighting regulations on firearms. That’s not the résumé of a governor.
Inslee offers deep experience working on state policy and executive leadership skills. Washington at least knows what it’s getting with him.
President: Donald Trump
Donald Trump is a bully and a bigot. He is symptomatic of a widening partisan divide in the country. We recommend voting for him anyway because the policies that Joe Biden and his progressive supporters would impose on the nation would be worse.
The list of Trump’s offenses is long. He panders to racists and prevents sensible immigration reform in a nation built on immigrant labor and intellect. He tweets conspiracy theories. He’s cavalier about COVID-19 and has led poorly through the pandemic. He seeks to dismantle the Affordable Care Act without proposing a replacement. He denies climate change.
Voters knew his character in 2016 and elected him anyway. Four years later, the nation is still standing. Indeed, in many ways it flourished until the pandemic upended everything.
The economy and markets roared under Trump’s championship of market-based solutions and individualism. Unemployment among communities of color reached record lows. He reset trade and diplomatic relationships in America’s favor. He provided historically high support for traditionally Black colleges. He rolled back extreme environmental regulations and led the way for U.S. energy independence. He backed federal sentencing reform to address inordinately high American incarceration rates. And he’s committed to supporting law and order in American cities.
Biden might win on personality and comity, but his policies would strike at the economic well-being of the country. He favors massive growth in government and a historic increase in federal spending through green initiatives, free health services, free education and other ideas grounded in reliance on the state as savior rather than creating an environment in which individual liberty and hard work can thrive. Public employee unions would hold outsized power and demand greater spending.
To afford it all, Biden and a Democrat-controlled Congress would have to impose unprecedented tax increases or accept catastrophic deficit spending.
Taxes and spending likely would increase under Trump, too, but the nation stands a better chance of moderation and reform with him in the White House than it does with Biden pushed left by progressives intent on reshaping America to fit their fantastical vision.
This is an election that pits a wretched human being whose policies and instincts for helping America thrive are generally correct against a doddering, doting uncle who would hand out gifts the nation can’t afford in order to win people’s love. Given that choice, economic policy and principle should prevail. Vote for Donald Trump.
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