THE ECONOMIST does not have a vote in America's presidential election, but since 1980 we have cast a ballot in spirit.
Despite our London home, much of our readership lives in the United States, so we believe it useful to say how we would think about our vote—if we had one. Looking back, we tend to dislike incumbents, but favour no party—we have endorsed nearly equal numbers from both parties.
We are not unlike America's swing voters in that we value competence and moderation. More often than not we are disappointed with our options.
This year we have many complaints about Barack Obama, but choose him nonetheless because Mitt Romney's failings are graver. So as Americans ponder how to vote, we share the thinking that led us to our current and past endorsements.
2012: Barack Obama
“A man who once personified hope and centrism set a new low by unleashing attacks on Mitt Romney even before the first Republican primary. Yet elections are about choosing somebody to run a country. And this choice turns on two questions: how good a president has Barack Obama been, especially on the main issues of the economy and foreign policy? And can America really trust the ever-changing Mitt Romney to do a better job? On that basis, the Democrat narrowly deserves to be re-elected....
Mr Obama’s shortcomings have left ample room for a pragmatic Republican, especially one who could balance the books and overhaul government. Such a candidate briefly flickered across television screens in the first presidential debate. This newspaper would vote for that Mitt Romney, just as it would for the Romney who ran Democratic Massachusetts in a bipartisan way (even pioneering the blueprint for Obamacare). The problem is that there are a lot of Romneys and they have committed themselves to a lot of dangerous things.”
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