If all goes as planned Nov. 8, Americans will elect the 45th president.
For voters primarily concerned with appointees to the Supreme Court, this decision is easy. Pro-choice voters will choose Hillary Clinton; pro-life voters will choose Donald Trump.
Supreme Court nominations will also determine whether President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan survives. Supporters of the plan hope it will slow human contributions to climate change, while opponents believe it will harm the economy and Americans least able to afford costlier power.
In Colorado and other states, court appointees will determine whether state "Blaine" amendments continue preventing public tuition vouchers from assisting with tuition at sectarian schools.
The Gazette's editorial board has too many character and trust concerns with each candidate to issue an endorsement. We cannot condone a vote for the "lesser of evils," nor a vote thrown to the heap of ballots cast for third-party candidates who poll in the single digits.
We have hope for whomever wins the election. He or she should immediately work to heal the bitter campaign divisiveness that threatens to undermine 240 years of struggle to create a country of peace, prosperity and safety for diverse cultures.
We hope for leadership that favors jobs, affordable energy, school choice and an end to class warfare and political, cultural and ethnic divisiveness.
Neither winner will take office as a popular symbol of American statesmanship. Each consistently scores unfavorable ratings above 50 percent, a lack of confidence they brought upon themselves with actions and statements beneath the presidency.
Despite inevitable partisan election night celebrations in the streets, most Americans are settling and asking how we ended up with this unsavory choice. On both sides of the aisle and among independents, voters hold their noses while marking ballots this year.
Either winner has the opportunity to prove the masses wrong. An executive who can unite the country, and calm tensions of foreign allies, would quickly dispense with concerns about egregious past statements and actions. We want that, regardless of November's outcome.
When government functions as it should, Americans barely pay attention to the president, Congress and the courts. That's as it should be. Individuals should feel free to safely pursue prosperity and happiness that result from daily endeavors that improve the lives of relatives, neighbors and communities. The well-being of Americans should not depend on Washington.
America has been great for most of 240 years. It will remain that way if the public demands enforcement laws that created the republic. We will remain great if the public vigilantly maintains a stable federal government designed to serve, not rule, the people who pay for it.
The United States has flourished as an experiment in self-governance, in which success and failure depend on effort and achievement. A country of limited government, with no guaranteed outcomes, survives only in a context of morality, charity and self-restraint among the governed. The country was not designed to succeed or fail on a basis of election outcomes or on the morality and actions of presidents.
"Human rights can only be assured among a virtuous people. The general government . can never be in danger of degenerating into a monarchy, an oligarchy, an aristocracy, or any despotic or oppressive form so long as there is any virtue in the body of the people." — George Washington
Vote with conscience, information and knowledge. Nov. 9 will be another day, and we hope it marks the launch of a presidency historians will applaud rather than condemn. Either way, the country's future depends more on the actions of the people than those we elect to serve.