Today we finish a five-day series of endorsement editorials. The five members of The Journal editorial board view endorsements as an important public service. We take seriously what we believe is our responsibility to inform and foster discussion during election season.
We aren't telling anyone how to vote, we are offering an additional source of information we hope is of value in helping voters make election decisions.
When we endorse a candidate, we are telling our readers we, after a process of thorough research and discussion, believe this individual is right for this office, and we explain why. In our view, an endorsement should be for one candidate, not simply against the other candidate or candidates.
Which brings us, near the end of a long and largely shallow, ugly campaign, to the election for president.
Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump - according to polls, the two most disliked presidential nominees in American history, with disapproval ratings among likely voters of between 50 and 60 percent - will be the 45th president of the United States, but we neither believe in nor can we, with honesty and in good conscience, recommend and build the case for either of them.
As a result, we offer no endorsement in the race for president this year.
Aside from significant reservations about her positions on issues - in particular, domestic issues such as federal spending and the economy - we hold deep concerns about the long list of scandals involving Clinton, dating to her days in Arkansas. In our view, almost nothing is as it seems on the surface with Clinton, who is as calculating a politician as you will find.
This year alone, we have read more than enough about a private email server, mishandling of classified information (the FBI on Friday opened a new investigation of emails from Clinton's private server), the relationship between the Clinton Foundation and State Department during Clinton's days as secretary of state, and WikiLeaks related to "both a public and a private position," and more, to darken still more what we believe is an already dark cloud of doubt hanging over Clinton's honesty and trustworthiness.
For us, she doesn't pass the character and integrity test.
We endorsed the former first lady, New York senator and secretary of state before the Iowa caucuses, but the endorsement was lukewarm, based on the belief she was a stronger choice as nominee for Democrats in the state than was Bernie Sanders or Martin O'Malley. However, her negatives have grown too substantive for us to ignore in making a decision on a general-election endorsement for president.
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If polls prove correct and Clinton wins this election, we hope Republicans hold the House and Senate to provide proper checks and balances.
Because of our problems with Clinton, we hoped throughout the caucuses and primaries for the emergence of a general-election Republican competitor other than Trump, and we believe she would be behind in this race today if Trump wasn't the Republican nominee.
Trump is, in our view, a reprehensible candidate. He has insulted women (comments made by Trump about women and sexual-related allegations made by women about Trump are beyond disturbing), Latinos, accomplished fellow Republicans, a U.S.-born judge of Mexican heritage, a disabled reporter, a former POW, a Gold Star family, and, seemingly, anybody who criticizes him or disagrees with him in any way about anything. (On Oct. 23, The New York Times published a list of "The 282 People, Places and Things Donald Trump Has Insulted on Twitter: A Complete List".) He is a thin-skinned narcissist who has urged violence against protesters at rallies and believes everything in America is a disaster from which only he can save us.
In short, Trump lacks the character, integrity and temperament we have come to expect from our president. While we may agree with him on some issues - some domestic economic issues and illegal immigration, for example - we can't, in making a decision on an endorsement for president, overlook these troubling flaws in the man.
The fact our political system produced this choice for the most powerful office in the world is, in a word, sad.
Our lack of an endorsement for president is, by no means, a suggestion to sit this election out, however. To the contrary, we urge everyone to follow what their head or heart tells them and exercise this fundamental right of our republic, as each individual member of our editorial board will do.
In other words, vote.
Vote not only for president, but make sure your voice is heard on all the important local, state and other federal races and, in some states, the initiative questions and judicial retention questions on your ballot.
This much about the election for president is indisputable: Our next president will lead a country full of division, frustration and anger. Uniting the United States may be her or his biggest challenge.
Regardless of who wins, we endorse a need for success on that front.