Mark Joseph Stern, editorial intern: Obama
Obama has improved the lives of gay people like me beyond what I ever could have imagined a decade ago. He repealed "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" and secured hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples, yes, but more importantly, he gave his blessing to marriage equality. That might seem relatively insignificant, but there’s something about the president of the United States recognizing your rights that puts to bed a lot of lingering struggle.
Seth Stevenson, Slate contributor: Obama
I think a Romney administration might actually govern pretty well. He’s smarter than G.W. Bush, more reassuringly bloodless and technocratic than John McCain. But Romney evinces zero sympathy for the less advantaged, he seems dangerously malleable when it comes to foreign policy, and his nominees could tip the Supreme Court in a terrifying direction. As for the other guy: President Obama has played a uniquely awful hand as well as anybody could have. Platforms aside (I greatly favor the Democrats’), Obama’s calm and steady performance in the face of potential chaos—along with his overall competence, intelligence, and authenticity—easily earn him another four years from me.
John Swansburg, editorial director: Obama
I believe I'm Slate's only registered Republican besides Rachael Larimore. But Rachael's the real thing; I'm a RINO. I joined the party in 2008 because I wanted to vote against Rudy Giuliani in the primary. (His fear-mongering use of the 9/11 attacks was driving me batty.) While I do admire certain Yankee Republicans of yore, their breed has ceased to roam the American political landscape, and I can’t imagine voting for a GOP presidential candidate nowadays. I lived in Mitt Romney's Massachusetts and found him to be an able manager of the commonwealth's affairs. But the Romney who's running for president isn't that Romney. And I'm pretty satisfied with my Obama vote from 2008. On the whole I think he's done about as well as can be expected in difficult times and has earned another nod from this Lincoln Chafee Republican.*
Ryan Trow, account manager: Gary Johnson
I am voting for Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party. He aligns much more closely with my views of laissez-faire governing, meritocracy, and individual freedom. I would rather throw away my vote than support the continued failure of the traditional two parties. Let’s try something new.
Matt Turck, publisher: Romney
I will again vote the Republican ticket this year. This follows my vote for Obama last presidential election, after a long history of voting Republican.
While I don't agree with all the principals of the Republican Party, and I think Obama is a good man, I don't believe Obama prioritized well. More importantly, it's my belief that larger government feeds into a "level of expectation" that is crushing our country.
Julia Turner, deputy editor: Obama
I’m voting for Obama. Perhaps not wholeheartedly: I am frustrated by the gridlock that has characterized his term. I am disappointed that regulatory reform on Wall Street after the crash wasn’t more comprehensive. I am troubled by the kill-at-will drone strike program he has authorized. But I believe his stimulus prevented a total economic collapse; I’m impressed that he passed health care; I think he’s a fundamentally smart, thoughtful, and decent person—and I can’t stand the other guy. Romney’s “just trust me” economic “plan,” lack of firm commitment to any ideal, and general slipperiness turn me off. His comments on women in the second debate signaled a complete inability to understand the workings of a modern family. The power he would have over the future of the Supreme Court frightens me. I’d much rather see Obama get another four years—if he does, I think we’ll all be much better off.
Katy Waldman, assistant editor: Obama
I am voting for Obama because I do not understand how Romney plans to provide for people in need while cutting entitlements, increasing defense spending, and preserving tax cuts for the stupendously wealthy. I find his views on gay rights and women’s reproductive choice morally offensive. I wish I believed that he cared about 100 percent of Americans, but his policies tell a different story. Obama, on the other hand, seems to genuinely want to resurrect the value of “fairness” and to lessen suffering—not just to promote success for some but to secure opportunities for all. I get the disappointment surrounding the last four years, but Obama’s critics seem to be ignoring some dazzling accomplishments, too: a new health care system, Osama Bin Laden dead, the end of the Iraq War. GObama!
David Weigel, political reporter: Johnson
I'm copping out. On about half of the issues that I care about, Barack Obama has been a massive improvement on George W. Bush. Drone warfare or lie-based land wars in the Middle East? U.S. attorneys running junk cases against "voter fraud," or the DOJ trying to expand the vote? Endorsing the Federal Marriage Amendment, or refusing to defend DOMA in court? I agreed with an economic stimulus in 2009, as did the forgetful Republicans, who just disagreed about what should go in it. But Obama's a mediocre executive who's never figured out how to overcome opposition in Congress. I think Romney could be a great executive. If we fell into some Greece-like receivership, and a coalition of bankers installed a dictator to manage our economy, Romney would be perfect. Give him a Democratic Congress and you'd bring out his best instincts. My problems: If you trust John Bolton and Dan Senor to speak for you, who are you going to fill the government with? If you agree to a Balanced Budget Amendment that would require a California-style supermajority to raise taxes, what other dumb fiscal decisions will you make?
So I'll vote for the Libertarian ticket, which I agree with on everything besides the scale and speed of spending cuts, and the first third-party team that actually seems competent enough to run a country. (Let's face it, Nader voters. Would you have trusted him to run anything larger than a make-your-own-salad franchise?) But I guess I'm pulling for a 269-269 electoral vote split, which would give us a chastened President Romney and let us keep the greatest vice president in history, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.
Forrest Wickman, staff writer: Obama
I was going to list off President Obama’s many major accomplishments here—saving us from a depression, putting an end to “don’t ask don’t tell,” ending the war in Iraq, helping my struggling friends get insurance (I’m under 26)—and leave it at that.
But right now I can’t help but focus on another reason I’m voting for Obama, a reason that showed up at my doorstep on Monday. Right now I’m working from home in a city that’s gone half-dark, with a tree still on top of a car across the street, as vital federal aid begins to flow toward my city. I don’t believe that Obama is eager to grow the federal government, but he understands that there are some things—from rebuilding cities after historic disasters to helping ensure affordable health care for every citizen—that only the federal government is fit to do.
Meg Wiegand, copy editor: Obama
I believe access to health care and education are rights, not privileges reserved for those who can afford them. I believe this country needs economic policies inclusive of all Americans, not just those at the top. I believe women should make our own health care decisions and receive equal pay for equal work. I believe my friends, family members, and peers—straight or gay—should be allowed to serve openly in the military, receive benefits for their partners, and marry the person they love.
And I believe Obama will continue push for these issues and more in his second term as president.
Matt Yglesias, "Moneybox" columnist: Obama
I’m voting for Obama because, basically, I strongly disagree with Mitt Romney’s views on abortion, gay rights, foreign policy, and such. I’d like to say I have reasons driven by detailed examination of the policy issues, but that’s really what it comes down to. On the economic policy issues I cover for Slate I think it’s a tough choice, but Romney may deserve the edge. Obama’s proposed second-term agenda of deficit reduction is misguided, and I think it’s reasonably likely that President Romney would emerge as a closet Keynesian and bring us a lower unemployment rate.
Gary Johnson: 2
Jill Stein: 1
No one: 1
Correction, Nov. 5, 2012: This article originally misspelled Lincoln Chafee's last name. (Return to the corrected sentence.)