Spectator presidential endorsements through the years
In today’s paper, Spec’s editorial board endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election. This wasn’t the first time that Spec has endorsed a presidential candidate.
Today, we look into our digital archives to examine Spec’s previous endorsements, what they said, and how things turned out. The archives currently available online run from 1972-1992.
In the first election in which most college students could vote (after the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18), Spectator endorsed George McGovern in the Democratic primary, and again in the general election.
What Spec said:
In the primary endorsement—“Senator McGovern is far from an ideal candidate. … He is, however, the only candidate for the Democratic nomination who promises new policies, new directions, and, perhaps, dynamic leadership — something that has been lacking in America for far too long.”
In the general election—”What the poll-watchers forget is that despite his all-too-human flaws, Senator McGovern still represents a decade of dynamic leadership and courageous opposition to the Vietnam War on the floor of the Senate.”
The result: McGovern won the primary, but went on to lose the general election to Richard Nixon in a landslide defeat.
Spectator endorsed Jimmy Carter over Gerald Ford.
What Spec said: “The election of Carter will bring an end to the political, economic, and social stagnation the nation has suffered under eight years of Republican rule. It would mean the return of the positive ideology of the Democratic party and its concern for the individual citizen, as opposed to the corporate mass.”
The result: Carter handily defeated incumbent President Gerald Ford, carrying much of the northeast, the south, and the midwest.
Spec had soured on Jimmy Carter. In an editorial titled “Conscience,” the paper declined to endorse a candidate in the general election, instead urging students to choose third-party candidates.
What Spec said: “It is a fact that either Reagan or Carter will be our next President, but a foregone conclusion is no rationale for voting for a man you dislike. The two-party system failed the country this election year by offering two miserable candidates, neither of whom a majority of voters supports.”
The result: Reagan crushed Carter.
Spec endorsed the candidacy of Walter Mondale and his historic vice-presidential nominee, Geraldine Ferraro. But the endorsement at times seemed to be more a rejection of President Reagan than a full-throated endorsement of Mondale.
What Spec said: “Reagan is the most extreme President we have experienced in our lifetime, Democrat or Republican. He bucks the percentages largely through his personal charm that has convinced those who agree with Mondale’s arguments to nonetheless vote Republican.”
The result: To say Reagan destroyed Mondale doesn’t even begin to describe it. The Democrat carried exactly one state (his home of Minnesota), plus the District of Columbia. Reagan accumulated almost 60% of the popular vote, and all but 13 electoral votes.
And now we skip an election, because 1988 is not yet available online.
Spec endorsed Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton over incumbent President George H.W. Bush.
What Spec said: “Clinton and Gore are looking to the long term. They represent youth, and the future. No longer will the simple-minded post-war mentality make America succeed. America is a great nation (as Bush has repeatedly, and quite manically, asserted), but it is a nation which no longer faces the nebulous communist threat. It is now domestic, rather than foreign policy we need to be concerned with.”
The result: The Clinton-Gore ticket cruised to the White House with 370 electoral votes to President Bush’s 168.
How will Spec’s choice for president fare this year? We’ll find out in three weeks!
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