Fred Kaplan, Slate contributor: Obama
I will vote for Barack Obama. First, he has accomplished a great deal, especially given the Republicans’ obstructionism and given the post-Cold War world’s dispersion of power, which has diminished the leverage of any country. Second, Mitt Romney has proved himself a hollow man, shameless in the extent to which he switches views and outright lies in order to win. He is inept at foreign policy, clueless on the important issues facing our country. He is either the reactionary that he ran as through the GOP Convention or a man without a core. It’s unclear which is worse; both are unacceptable.
Dan Kois, senior editor in culture: Obama
I am voting for Barack Obama because all I care about are social issues and I don’t understand the economy. So maybe Mitt Romney would be way better for my pocketbook, but hell if I really know! On the other hand, it is clear that if Mitt Romney and I got into a conversation on a Greyhound bus, I would hate him in like 10 seconds (and vice versa!).
Rachael Larimore, managing editor: Mitt Romney
The GOP convention had few memorable moments, but one I keep coming back to is Ann Romney’s speech. “This man will not fail," she said of her husband. "This man will not let us down." Jokes about the 2008 nomination aside, Romney was indeed impressive as the Massachusetts governor and as the savior of the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Four years ago, when John McCain bafflingly halted his campaign to deal with the financial crisis, I wished that McCain had picked Romney to be his running mate. Or that we had nominated Romney himself. Instead, Barack Obama inherited the admittedly daunting challenge of fixing the economy.
And he has tried. But it feels like his efforts have been as much about padding his résumé as helping Americans. It’s as if it was more important to pass a stimulus quickly rather than passing one that would work. (Say what you will, but this chart says more.) He pushed hard for Obamacare with no regard for the fact that it scared the crap out of already-struggling business owners. This aloofness and distance has alienated even his supporters. While I’m not quite sure what job one would use the presidency to audition for, I say let’s let him start looking.
Josh Levin, executive editor: Obama
I'm with the Democrats on gay rights and women's rights and would never vote for a candidate whose stances on social issues align with what's in the current Republican Party platform. I’m concerned that a President Romney would be beholden to the “shut that whole thing down”/“something that God intended” wing of the GOP and would appoint justices that would push the Supreme Court further rightward. Plus, Coach K doesn’t like Obama. That means he must be doing something right.
Chad Lorenz, news editor: Obama
I believe Democrats have the best ideas and the right moral code for leading America, and Obama represents those values well. He’s also proven himself a smart, careful, determined president in his first term. He has led America through one of its most difficult periods and has helped us recover from the economic and diplomatic damage of the Bush administration. Where he has fallen short, it is usually because of political obstructionism. His conservative opponents in Congress have stood in the way (deficit reduction, economic stimulus), and corporate interests have manipulated public opinion against him (environment, immigration).
J. Bryan Lowder, editorial assistant for culture: Obama
The short answer: I'm gay, and the protection of my and my partner's still-meager civil rights (and, hopefully, their continued expansion) is my primary concern. However, the qualities I look for in a leader--intelligence (intellectuals welcome!), calmness of spirit, integrity, critical reasoning, sensitivity to the environment, belief in a secular state, and a commitment to a strong social safety net and an improved national infrastructure (what else is the federal government for?)--are clearly held by only one candidate. And hey, he's a fellow introvert, so my vote was always in the bag.
Farhad Manjoo, technology writer: Obama
I think he's done as good a job as president as can be expected. That's not nearly as good as I'd hoped, but the primary lesson I draw from Obama's first term is that presidents just aren't very powerful when hemmed in by a determined opposition. I don't have high hopes that the next four will be any better.
Amanda Marcotte, "Double X" contributor: Obama
As I did in 2008, I will be voting for Barack Obama for president. The most banal reason for this is that I always vote for Democrats. I don't buy the strange myth of "vote for a man and not a party," since party politics are how things get done. But Obama also has earned my vote. While I disagree with him on some issues, mainly regarding civil liberties, as Jamelle Bouie points out, Obama's overall record shows he's the most liberal president since LBJ. I expect him to continue to be an effective leader into his second term.
Andrew Morgan, designer: Obama
I’m voting for Obama because he seems like he has an actual direction to go in, unlike Romney's flip-flopping, listless "plans." Also, he's not an asshole.