Endorsements: nobody’s sure if they matter, but the press keeps making them anyway

Endorsements: nobody’s sure if they matter, but the press keeps making them anyway

Over there on the left? That’s constitutional éminence grise Peter Russell, and judging from the video, it’s pretty clear he won’t be voting blue on Monday. But it’s not just academics on YouTube who are giving voters advice on whose box to check. A long-standing tradition has newspapers and some magazines (like The Economist) doing it, too. A roundup of some of the more prominent endorsements so far this election, after the jump:

Guess which party the National Post endorsed. Go on. We’ll wait. Yes, that’s right: the Post endorsed Stephen Harper and the Conservatives as the antidote to instability—but only if they get a majority. We won’t be so crude as to suggest that the paper then invoiced the Conservative Party for the third-party advertising expenditure, but we are disappointed they struck such a sombre tone—this election has been absolutely nutso, especially in the last week, and we didn’t expect the Posties to be such downers.

• The endorsement that really got people’s goat, however, was the Globe and Mail’s, also plumping for the Tories. Why this should enrage people so is a mystery—the Globe endorsed the Conservatives in 2008 and 2006 as well. Perhaps it’s the logical hoops the endorsement jumps through, like saying that the next government should respect Parliament, only to argue that people should vote for the men and women who were found in contempt of Parliament. It is a bit odd.

• The Toronto Star is gearing up for its endorsement on Saturday, but for now we’re less than shocked that the Star is on the anyone-but-Harper bandwagon. That position is apparently not being extended to other Torstar-owned properties, like the Brampton Guardian or the Waterloo Record. Huzzah for editorial independence, we say.

• They don’t do a blanket endorsement, but the Ottawa Citizen has an approach we like: endorsing candidates at the riding level for the region, including Gatineau. The precision—and the diversity of candidates—is a lot more useful to voters than a general “vote for party X.”

Of course, there’s an argument every election about whether newspapers should even do this kind of thing, whether it means their reporters are biased (answer: no—reporters don’t write the endorsements) and whether it actually moves any votes. On the last point, we’re pretty sure the answer is no, but the endorsements are usually fun to read (even when they are, like the Globe’s this year, kind of a train wreck). We’d hate to see papers do away with them.

Editorial board endorsement: Conservatives a clear choice in uncertain times [National Post]
The Globe’s election endorsement: Facing up to our challenges [Globe and Mail]
The election choice: No new mandate for Conservatives [Toronto Star]
EDITORIAL: Harper deserves a majority [Brampton Guardian]
Record’s view: Tough choice facing Canadians in election [Waterloo Record]