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How and why does the Globe endorse presidential candidates?

A Q&A with editorial page editor Bina Venkataraman.

Globe Staff Illustration

What is the Globe editorial board?

The editorial board is a group of opinion writers and editors, separate from the Globe newsroom, who take positions on events of the day and policies at the local, state, and national level. We also endorse candidates in elections relevant to our readers. Our editorials represent a collective point of view, which is why they are unsigned.

The Boston Globe Editorial Board endorses Elizabeth Warren
The Boston Globe Editorial Board endorses Elizabeth Warren (Produced by: Shelby Lum, Anush Elbakyan and Caitlin Healy, Camera: Shelby Lum, Anush Elbakyan, Caitlin Healy Tyler Dolph and Shola Lawal, Graphics: Brendan Lynch)

Why is the Globe editorial board endorsing presidential primary candidates?

Part of our tradition as a newspaper editorial board, dating back for decades, is to help readers decide how to vote in presidential primaries and elections. Our first presidential endorsement was in 1968 for Hubert Humphrey.


With this presidential election, we’re at a pivotal moment in history. I have yet to experience an election that felt more consequential — and it’s hard to imagine one, whether you look at what’s at stake for our democracy or the fact that we’re nearing critical tipping points in the climate crisis. We wanted to help our readers reason through the choices in the crowded Democratic primary field, and we have the privilege of having met with many of the candidates to help inform that choice. Not everyone will agree with us, but for those who share our values, we hope it can help.

What did you ask the candidates about?

We asked them about the most pressing issues facing the country and the world, such as inequality and the widespread feeling that it’s becoming harder to get ahead. We asked how they’d deal with the climate crisis, health care costs, and Iran and China. We also asked what they would do about misinformation, privacy, and hate crimes, and how they’d address the outsized role played by quasi-monopoly companies in our economy. This year, for the first time, we asked every candidate in the Democratic field at least one question that came from a reader. (You can read the candidates’ responses to Jennifer Goldsmith’s question here.)


How did the Globe make its decision to endorse a Democratic candidate for Super Tuesday?

We tried to achieve consensus, like a jury coming to a verdict. That meant the candidate we chose to endorse was not necessarily the person for whom every member of the board would individually cast a ballot today. Instead, we collectively think this person will champion our values as an editorial board. Namely, we believe in protecting democratic norms and free expression, in securing equality and civil rights, and in advancing public health, which includes protecting our communities from the dangers of climate change. We also believe strongly in advancing education and in ensuring that technological progress is in the interest of society. We also want to restore America’s standing as a leader that will stand up for democratic values around the world and collaborate with our allies and international organizations to solve global problems of security and public health. We also deliberated about which candidate had the political skills to achieve the most while in the White House.

Like many of our readers, we’d like to see a Democratic nominee who can stand a good chance against President Trump in November. But we tried not to predict who would be most likely to win, because we felt that this could be a place where biases could come in — and that it might be too early in the race to determine credibly. That said, it was hard not to consider whether candidates at least had a viable course to win the nomination at this stage of the race, and how they’d motivate different groups of voters.


Editorials represent the views of the Boston Globe Editorial Board. Follow us @GlobeOpinion.