Forum newspaper takes a pass on presidential endorsement

The normally conservative Fargo Forum is declining to endorse a candidate for president.

Not since Lyndon Johnson was challenged by Barry Goldwater in 1964 has the Forum editorial board not endorsed the Republican presidential candidate.

Unlike its other editorials, the Forum hands the endorsements to the company CEO and his son — William C. Marcil, and his son, Forum Communications CEO and publisher of The Forum, Bill Marcil Jr.

The Marcils found no reason to vote for Trump, who they say has damaged the Republican brand.

More damaging, however, is the havoc he’s done to the Republican Party, which, because of his vile personal behavior, unvarnished misogyny and his trashing of prominent GOP leaders, has set back the party for a generation. The party’s 2016 strategy to broaden the base has been shredded by Trump’s pandering to his ever-narrowing base.

Of Clinton, they said if character is destiny, she has a problem.

She has too easily dismissed or lied about carelessness with State Department emails, the improper influence of the Clinton Foundation and what appear to be her campaign’s dirty tricks at Trump rallies. She is on record saying one thing before a Wall Street audience and the opposite on the campaign trail, and then minimizing the contradictions.

The unwillingness to take any stand on the race — reminiscent of when the St. Paul Pioneer Press punted on an issue that had split the state — raises the usual questions of what value an editorial endorsement has?

Assuming a newspaper values itself as a civic leader, would it be OK with an editorial board if people simply didn’t vote for president at all?

Related: Why we care about endorsements: Newspapers are important in presidential races (Salon)