To Endorse or Not To Endorse
The question has often been asked whether the Delaware County Democratic Party will endorse before a primary. It is an issue we take very seriously as we know members of the party and community at large often look to us for guidance in their election choices. The answer is that our policy is not to endorse, and there are very sound reasons why.
The purpose of an endorsement is not only to recognize the best candidate, but to also influence the outcome of the election. In the past and recent elections some county parties have made endorsements for state and federal races. Their goal is to make sure that their candidate wins. Going forward, they will organize, spend money, and get out the vote for their chosen candidate. These activities will include GOTV drives in Democratic dense neighborhoods, handing out slate cards at the early vote center, and following up on mail ballots. Once again, the goal is to push for a winner in a large county. This would be hard to replicate in a smaller county.
Despite the great gains we have made in Delaware County in the past decade, we are still a small party trying to grow larger. Endorsing could have a negative effect on our party’s development. First of all, whenever there is an endorsement, there are losers in the process. If we lose the interest of even a dozen of our strong volunteers by not backing their favorite, it could cripple our party. While this has some effect in large counties, they have a bigger pool of replacement volunteers to step up. We may not.
The second reason endorsements would not suit us well is that, once made, we would have to back the choice with real action. Large counties have the support of office holders, unions, candidate committees, and interest groups to give financial and volunteer support. While we have many generous donors, we are nowhere near where we would need to be to mount this type of campaign. Imagine how many volunteers it would take to hand out slate cards at the Board of Elections for an entire month before the election.
As stated before, the DCDP is growing and getting stronger every day. At some point, sooner than we imagine, we may want to step into that arena and make an endorsement. On the other hand, we may simply want to inform the voting public about all of the candidates and trust them to make their own decisions about who could govern us best.
-E Helvey, Feb. 2018