Peterson: Turning down the noise, tuning into the issues

Want to know why people hate politics? Just look at the stuffed waste bins at your local post office.

Maybe it’s reassuring that all those hyperpartisan political mailers wind up right where they belong — in the trash. Then again, what a waste of trees.

Ditto for all the money being spent by “soft money” groups flooding the local airwaves or finding you on social media or when you’re suffering through another Broncos game.

It makes you wonder: Why do we agree to this? Isn’t there a better way?

This obsession with zero-sum, us-versus-them politics, it’s not good for us.

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It turns neighbors and coworkers and family members against each other, for no other reason than we buy into the narrative that’s constantly being shoved down our throats by people we’ve never met. It turns candidates into caricatures and twists words and facts.

And forget the finger-pointing between the two major political parties who always use the same line: Look at what the other guys are doing.

In this election, with important decisions to make up and down the ballot, point the finger at yourself. It’s on you to make informed votes.

That starts with doing your homework on where candidates stand on the issues that matter to you, whether it’s housing, climate, crime, immigration, education, abortion, or rising costs. It also means taking a hard look at who’s behind the questions on this year’s ballot and following the money.  

There’s no better place to do that than by relying on trusted, fact-based news sources. At the Vail Daily, we’re cutting through the noise with coverage that focuses on the major issues, not political gamesmanship.

That includes straightforward candidate Q&As and columns that ask those seeking your vote to outline their policies, their priorities, and why they’re qualified for the job.

It also includes investigative reporting on the “soft-money” groups pushing negative advertising and fact-checking their claims. We’re also digging into the manufactured controversies that different factions are trying to push with ballots due to be mailed out next week. Stay tuned.

One directional shift from years past: We will not be endorsing candidates for this year’s election, as we have in years past. I wish that wasn’t the case, but in a time of intense partisanship and political extremism, including a significant rise in threats of political violence, it’s become a no-win proposition for a nonpartisan news organization to make endorsements. We may revisit that policy in the future. As of now, we are still doing endorsements of ballot issues.

As a small newsroom, we’re also reliant on other outlets for important reporting — whether it’s our sister papers in other resort markets or statewide outlets like the Colorado Sun and Denver Post.

We’ll continue to run the Sun’s explainers on statewide ballot initiatives and pick up reporting from the Post and Sun and our sister papers on key developments in races.

Lastly, we’re hosting a candidate forum on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the Eagle County Building in Eagle starting at 6:30 p.m., that will include debates between the candidates running for Eagle County commissioner, Senate District 8 and House District 26, and possibly other races. The forum will be streamed online as well, though we’re still ironing out the details.

The debates will be moderated by yours truly and Tony Mauro, who is no stranger to candidate forums. We’ll be sticking to kitchen-table issues that you’re discussing in your homes as you weigh your choices in this year’s races.

We expect the candidates to be civil and stay on topic, and we expect attendees to be good listeners and be respectful of the forum and those on stage. This is not a high school pep rally.

If you’d like us to consider a question to be asked to the candidates, email me at We are only taking questions that are suitable for both candidates in each race.

We hope this forum, along with our ongoing coverage, is the answer to all the bluster and negativity that’s infiltrated your P.O. box, your email inbox and your airwaves.

And, if nothing else, we’ve only got a month to go before it’s all said and done. After that, we can suffer through Broncos games without suffering through all the negative political ads.

Nate Peterson is the editor of the Vail Daily. Email him at

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