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Four years ago, this newspaper, recognizing the unappealing choices for president, endorsed no one. There’s a better alternative in 2020.

Four Octobers ago, this editorial page wrote of Donald Trump that he was “bombastic, boorish, egotistical, offensive. He credits himself as a warrior in a relentless campaign against political correctness. But too often, he’s just plain obnoxious, obsessing over trivialities with self-aggrandizing self-promotion.”

Those words unfortunately still apply. We can add an inventory of other criticisms, including his talent for dividing instead of uniting Americans, his lack of transparency with the public, his refusal to disentangle himself from his business interests, his inept handing of the coronavirus crisis, his efforts to undermine the integrity of the election process and how he has overseen a frightening increase in the federal deficit, well before COVID-19 struck.

These are not the traditional Republican values that Midwesterners cherish and that this newspaper has espoused.

The Democratic Party alternative this year is a much better one. We believe JOE BIDEN can reunite Americans, restore civility and trust to the Oval Office and reach across the aisle to work with Republicans on important issues that have sat idle for the last four years: improving infrastructure, addressing important environmental and climate-related issues, calming racial tensions, fixing federal health care programs, re-engaging with our allies in NATO and other confederations and more.

In his long public career, Biden has been a moderate, pragmatic politician — too moderate and cautious for some in his party. But that’s what Americans yearn for after four years of controversy and chaos in the Trump years.

Biden isn’t perfect, but we believe he will surround himself with smart advisers and select a seasoned, stable Cabinet whose members can speak freely without fear of being insulted on Twitter by the president.

Acknowledging the long history and traditions of The News-Gazette, this endorsement is not made lightly. For nearly all of its 168 years, this newspaper has favored Republican presidential candidates, from Abraham Lincoln in 1860 to Mitt Romney in 2012.

No Democratic presidential candidate has been endorsed until now.

We look forward to the day when the presidential candidate of the Republican Party — the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and Reagan — again stands for fiscal responsibility, civility, ethics in government and equality.

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