Why The Duke will not endorse a candidate

By Duke Staff

In the run-up to Monday night’s presidential debate, a Pittsburgh news organization reached out to The Duke’s editorial staff and asked us if we planned on endorsing one of the candidates.

We were surprised by the query. To be honest, it had never occurred to us to formally endorse a candidate. We met to discuss the issue, and after a lively back-and-forth debate, came to this conclusion, which we shared with the news organization and now share with you, our readers:

We do not think it would be helpful or appropriate for The Duke Editorial Staff to endorse a candidate for President of the United States.

We are not so conceited as to think that The Duke’s endorsement of a candidate would sway your opinions in any substantial way. We do, however, want to use this opportunity to share our thoughts on why we think such an action would be incredibly inappropriate and not just a fruitless effort.

In an increasingly polarized world, we at The Duke believe voters, especially young voters, are too often told what to think by organizations and people in positions of power. Whether it’s a celebrity, a parent, a religious authority or a news outlet, there always seems to be at least one person or group striving to influence the way any given young voter thinks.

College is a time to critically examine the thoughts and beliefs that you were fed as little children. You are becoming your own person, independent of your parents. If you change your beliefs, that’s fine. If you hold your previous beliefs, do so for your own reasons.

Think critically. Be media literate. A study by social marketing platform Crowdtap found that people ages 18 to 36 spend an average of 17.8 hours a day consuming media, often social media. That’s a lot of exposure to other people’s opinions and content. What about your own opinions? What influence does social media have on them? Is that influence beneficial?

These are the questions you must ask yourself as you prepare to vote in November. And we do hope you will vote.

In lieu of endorsing a presidential candidate, we at The Duke would like to endorse you, our readers, as informed, thoughtful voters in this representative republic. We support you as you discern how to cast your vote. And that’s an endorsement our whole staff, no matter our political leanings, can support.