During the Primary season last year I got a call from one of Clinton’s Texas organizers asking for a personal endorsement. It was fairly easy to refuse, but It had nothing to do with who I voted for. (My lips are sealed!). But this year I got a call from one of Beto’s people asking for pretty much the same thing, and the county party’s help in setting up an event for him. Not so easy an answer this time. Even though Beto does have opponents in the Primary, to most people he’s clearly the only credible candidate. As hard as it was, I ended up saying “no” again. Here are the two main reasons why.
Even though it isn’t required by party rules I have a personal policy against making candidate endorsements. The first reason should be a no-brainer when you consider how things work in Texas. The County Chair is ultimately responsible for running the Primary Election in his or her county. It is paramount that voters have confidence in the integrity of the election. One needs to avoid even the appearance of favoring one candidate over another. Proof? Please consider the charges that the DNC tipped the scales for Hillary last year, and how many problems that caused.
The second reason isn’t quite so obvious, but should make sense on reflection. I have to work with whoever wins a contested Primary. I also need to try to keep the loser(s) engaged and contributing to the party’s success. It’s much easier to maintain trust and confidence if I don’t take sides.
So what does this mean in practice?
You’ve heard that appearances are reality, and in this case it’s very true. I try very hard not to give even the appearance of supporting one Primary candidate over another. For example, I do my best to get to a candidate’s kickoff event but after that I won’t go to fund raisers, block walks, or other events. It doesn’t matter whether or not I go to events for other candidates for the same nomination. People at an event will see me there and assume it’s because I support the candidate.
I don’t donate to candidates in contested Primaries. I do my best to support all candidates equally with information and advice, and see that the Party does the same.
I also don’t get involved in races for County Chair in other counties or races for Precinct Chair. Democratic voters should be able to select their party officers without outside interference.
And conversely, I don’t ask people to do things that I’m unwilling to do for them. I don’t seek endorsements or solicit donations from current Democratic candidates. I respect the awkward position this puts them in and think it inappropriate to ask. But of course, I’ll gladly accept them if offered!
So, if you’re a candidate asking for an endorsement or a voter looking for a personal recommendation, I hope this helps you understand why I won’t do either. I’m confident that the best candidate can win our nomination without my help. And our Democrats are pretty smart – they don’t need me to tell them who to vote for.