The Galveston County Daily News endorses Hillary R. Clinton for President of the United States.
The editorial board was unanimous in this decision, which is the newspaper’s first endorsement of a Democratic Party presidential candidate in recent history.
Had members of the board drafted a profile of the absolute best possible presidential candidate, the result would not have exactly described Clinton.
On the other hand, had the board drafted a profile of the absolute worst possible candidate, the result would have very closely described Donald Trump.
This was the situation facing the board during its deliberations, and the situation facing voters Nov. 8.
The question is not who between the two is more or less marginally qualified to be president. The question is who is least likely to run the ship of state aground and sink it over the next four years. Of the two, Clinton is that person by a long shot.
It is conceivable that a Clinton presidency could turn out to be far better than the candidate’s critics imagine. We don’t see the same possibility in a Trump presidency.
The board rejected the idea of making a third-party endorsement. The stakes are far too high in this election to trifle with protest votes.
In the polls, only a few percentage points stand between the nation and a dangerously irrational, erratic, opportunistic demagogue who clearly has contempt for most Americans and most things American.
Members of the editorial board are familiar with the criticisms commonly lodged against Clinton; most commonly recently, that she is a crook and a liar.
Her alleged propensity for using public offices to accumulate personal wealth is disturbing.
If the GOP candidate this year were Abraham Lincoln, or any one of several credible Republicans who lost to Trump in the party primary, those criticisms might have had some resonance among the editorial board members and this endorsement might have been different.
But we’re talking about Donald Trump, who Texas Sen. Ted Cruz described as “utterly amoral,” a “narcissist,” a “serial philanderer” and a “pathological liar.”
Cruz’s subsequent support of Trump’s candidacy does not change the accuracy of those assessments.
Assuming for the sake of argument that both candidates are as flawed as their critics argue, the question becomes which can run the country.
It is clear to us through paying close attention to what Trump says during the infrequent instances when he attempts to outline a policy position that he has no idea what he’s talking about. Neither does anyone else.
What Trump offers is a litany of hot-button words and phrases and a bag of empty promises, many of which, if they were fulfilled, would diminish and degrade our country, rather than enhance and elevate it.
• The Daily News Editorial Board