Editorial: The reasoning behind our endorsements

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Updated 9/15/2020 10:26 AM

With the beginning of mail-in voting just around the corner, we began last week offering our endorsements in Election 2020 and we'll be publishing many more in the next several days. It is worth taking a pause today to provide some backdrop that you may find useful in assessing those recommendations.

In making these endorsements, we strive to stay true to our institutional voice. Over the years, and still today, we have viewed ourselves as the voice of the suburbs. We look out for suburban interests. But not myopically. We recognize that the general interest takes precedence, and that what's in the general interest ultimately is in the suburban interest too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

We view ourselves as neither Republican nor Democrat. As a matter of fact, we are wary about party politics altogether; we hearken to George Washington's warning that political parties tend toward power over service. We're certainly critics of partisanship; we see it as corrosive, as an obstruction that blocks solutions.

In our hearts, we are centrists -- common sense pragmatists; socially moderate, at times perhaps even a bit progressive; and fiscally conservative.

We believe that government serves best if there is a balance of power that requires different philosophies and ideologies to listen to each other and to work together.

We are disturbed by today's vitriolic rhetoric and by the extremism on both sides.

This philosophy shows up in our endorsements.

That said, to some degree this year, that philosophy is restrained by circumstances.

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For instance, Republicans used to dominate in the suburbs; today, for a number of reasons, Democrats have taken hold. That change has been so mighty that in many of the federal races here, the GOP hasn't mustered candidates with the credentials or funding to compete. In one suburban district, Republicans aren't even fielding a candidate. In another, Republicans are running one who decided she is above talking to the press.

In the Illinois General Assembly, we, like voters throughout the state, lack any real say in who the speaker of the Illinois House is and are manipulated by a cynical system of gerrymandering that Gov. J.B. Pritzker and others talk about changing but don't.

The citizenry lacks power over either of these abuses of democratic rule. These abuses give our Editorial Board added sympathy toward Republican legislative candidates where capable ones are running.

Beyond all that, our priority in making endorsements is less about influencing your vote -- although certainly we'd wish to have you consider our arguments -- but more about engaging you and your neighbors in the process.

The more active all of us are in the democratic process, the more we all research the candidates and debate the issues, the better the republic will be served.

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