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Two bad choices for president doesn't make it right (or left) [Editorial]

Harford County is clearly Republican, and has been for a very long time.

Even when it wasn't Republican as the number of its registered voters skewed heavily Democratic, Harford County proved in every presidential election that it was staunchly Republican.

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For the most part, except for a misstep in 1992, this newspaper has supported the will of the people of Harford County and has endorsed the Republican nominee for president.

It's also been standard practice for about a quarter of century that The Aegis endorses in every race and takes a stand on every issue on the ballot. We also strongly and enthusiastically encourage everyone to vote every time there's an election.

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More than 200 people came out for the first hour on the first day of early voting in Harford County Thursday. People were eager to vote, but no so eager to say who they voted for, the result of a divisive national election.

We think voting every time we are given the opportunity is the minimum requirement for being an American in good standing. There are countless American heroes who gave their lives to protect our rights and freedoms. The very least any of us can do is to vote, if not for our families, or us, at least for those who died to protect us and their families.

Our view and our practice is if we expect everyone else to vote, we must do the same. That's why we make our endorsements, our public votes, if you will. Our endorsements are made more to let everyone know how The Aegis, an institutional citizen of Harford County, would vote rather than made to convince anyone how they should vote. Simply put, our endorsements are here's how we would vote, and why.

That brings us to the presidential election of 2016. Some politely call one candidate or the other or both flawed. We parroted that opinion in an editorial last Friday reminding our readers that early voting starts this Thursday, referring to the two major presidential candidates as "deeply flawed."

Harford County voters may be holding their noses when they vote for president this year, but the down ballot positions this year offer some great choices.

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, and Donald Trump, the Republican nominee are not only deeply flawed, they are very bad candidates; they're probably horrible candidates.

Republicans don't need to be reminded of Clinton's transgressions, some prefer to call them by a simpler name – crimes. There are the 33,000 emails, the private servers, Benghazi, et al.

Trump, who under different circumstances we would have easily endorsed, might be worse, however.

No matter how many "Women for Trump" signs we see near the stage at his rallies, nor how many denials he offers, or threats he makes, or women who rationalize away his behavior, we cannot endorse him.

Republican elected officials in Harford County support Donald Trump for president because he is a political outsider, has a record of business success and is the only viable alternative to Democrat Hillary Clinton, despite nagging concerns about his brash statements. In other words, for many of him he's the default to a Clinton presidency that one state senator says would be disaster.

His words on the now infamous recording with Billy Bush, the deposed "Today Show" anchor, make it impossible to support him. His denials during the second debate, days after the recording surfaced, angered and hurt women who claim he mistreated them to the point they went public with their allegations.

Partisan politics aside, there's no rationale reason for these women to say what they've said.

Some of the big donors, who usually donate millions to the Republican Party, have withdrawn their financial, as well as their political, support from Trump. They have said there's no way to look their wives or their daughters or their mothers or their sisters or any woman in the eye and tell them they support a man who bragged about doing what Trump bragged about.

Harford County voters aren't normally asked to weigh in on changes to internal county government procedures, but a charter amendment on this year's general election ballot, which they must first approve, will change what official is responsible for the purchase, sale or lease of county property. With sample ballots having been mailed to more than 185,000 voters last week, the amendment, which will appear on the ballot as Question A, is sparking confusion.

That's a crime. If you don't think so, ask yourself what would happen if a man walked up to a woman on Main Street in Bel Air, kissed her on the mouth and grabbed her private areas. The answer? They would be locked up.

Trump's attitude toward women alone makes him unfit to be president. We can't endorse Trump, and we won't endorse Clinton. Whether you go to vote in the coming days, or wait until Nov. 8, when you look at the top two candidates for president, you don't have much to choose from.

Voters share their views on the importance of casting a ballot during early voting at the McFaul Activity Center in Bel Air Thursday morning. (David Anderson, Baltimore Sun Media Group)

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