Daily Herald opinion: The importance of candidates participating in editorial board interviews
Next week, the Daily Herald will email questionnaires to candidates running for governor, U.S. Senate, Congress, state attorney general, secretary of state, comptroller and treasurer, state House and Senate districts and even county offices and boards.
Trust us, it's an exhausting process -- for candidates and employees of the newspaper. But it's an important process.
Publishing the candidates' positions on the issues of the day is one of the ways we help suburbanites decide for whom to vote.
We post the answers on dailyherald.com and publish as many as we can in the pages of the print newspaper.
We'll follow up that questionnaire with an invitation to participate in a Zoom conversation with members of our editorial board -- and their opponents.
In higher-level races, we'll post those interview videos to our website. We feel it's important for readers to see how candidates respond to questions and to each other. It's another way in which we can help suburban voters make up their minds.
During the spring primary, however, we saw the blossoming of a trend that has candidates taking a pass on this process. Yes, the vast majority of candidates filled out a questionnaire, but fewer and fewer agreed to face the editorial board -- and their opponents.
This is decidedly bad for the voting public.
Some candidates will tell their constituents that the "media" won't give them a fair shake, that it's out to get them. They hide behind this to avoid the uncomfortability of having to answer questions that are on the minds of voters or engage in conversation with an opponent.
Is it easier to let the self-chosen talking points on one's website or campaign events do the talking? Sure. It's always easier not to be challenged.
But it's bad for the republic.
Thomas Jefferson famously wrote: "Wherever the people are well-informed they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights."
Jefferson was a big fan of the value of a free press, too, as a check on government.
In today's fractured political scene, where candidates are increasingly evaluated by voters more on their party affiliation rather than their particular views, the easy route is to follow the path of least resistance.
Voters deserve better than this.
To those who paint us as part of a broad media conspiracy, take note that we've been locally and family owned for nearly a century and a half and that now we are employee owned. We are beholden to no one but our readers and our communities.
We encourage all candidates to answer our questionnaires and discuss the issues with the editorial board.
Don't do it for us. Do it for your constituents. They deserve it.