Believe it or not, it was nearly 41 years ago that The Courier dropped the word “Republican” from its nameplate atop Page A1.

In a rare front-page editorial on Jan. 2, 1976, “The Publishers” explained:

“The Republican portion of the newspaper name has been incorrectly interpreted by some to indicate a partisan political stance by the newspaper. The publishers are accordingly shortening the name to more accurately identify the newspaper in a non-partisan way, in keeping with the politically independent editorial position the newspaper chooses to follow.”

But, of course, The Courier, at least on this Viewpoint page, rarely took a “politically independent editorial position.”

It could be counted upon year after year to reflect the views of its Republican readers, with generally conservative positions, and always Republican endorsements. We are proud to have done so and fully expected to keep that tradition in 2016, our 180th year.

Our computers are too feeble, and our microfilm is too fragile, to report with certainty the last time The Courier endorsed anyone but a Republican for president.

This year, however, The Courier cannot endorse the Republican Party’s candidate.

Americans always put their country first, way ahead of their party, and we withhold an endorsement not to spite the party for selecting Donald J. Trump, but because its nominee has clearly proven to be unfit to be president of the United States of America.

Trump regularly careens far afield from what we expect from our president. He lacks simple honesty, integrity, temperament, intelligence, empathy, brotherhood, consistency, equality, manners, and courtesy, not to mention reasonable conservative policies and values.

He and his administration would be dangerous as our country and our world move into the third decade of the 21st century.

Of course, our refusal to endorse Trump does not mean The Courier recommends the Democratic candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Our philosophical and specific differences with her and her proposed policies run wide and deep.

So, that neither Trump nor Clinton are well-suited for the times is a disappointing testament to the widening cracks in our political thinking and our political system.

Still, there is hope. We hope the 45th president’s first term will show the remarkable resiliency built into our democratic institutions. We must remember that Americans of all persuasions want solutions, not confrontation, and this is possible.

Nevertheless, Trump’s long, disappointing record and performance speak for themselves. The challenges are simply too great for a narcissistic television star-turned-snake-oil salesman. The stakes are too high to put so much in his hands. And we can’t ask our readers to do so.

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