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Editorial: Early endorsements: circumventing the Democratic Process!

Created: 17 July, 2009
Updated: 26 July, 2022
4 min read

The key value of democratic process is based on the belief in the integrity and rights of all people and promotes ideals of equal participation and access for individuals and groups, civil and political rights, citizenship, and democratic decision making in all aspects of life, including public and private life.

 Last week we made mention of the Chicano Democratic Association coming out with their early endorsements a year in advance of the June Primary, and eight months before the filing of nomination papers in February 2009. This week we received a notice of the LGBT San Diego Democratic Club endorsements from last month and their second endorsement meeting at the end of this month! Other organizations have had or are planning early endorsements as well. Our question is how can you have a political endorsement when voters do not even know who all the candidates will be?

 This is a conversation we have had with some of the potential candidates who have filed early papers, filing a Candidate Intention Form 501 allows them the opportunity to start raising funds for the campaign, as to the legitimacy of such endorsement and the circumventing of the Democratic Process in particular the ideal of equal participation and access for all individuals.

 The decision to run for public office for most is a long, laborious effort that most candidates do not go into lightly, especially for the first time candidate. Campaigning for public office is a difficult undertaking that consumes all of one’s time and takes a huge sum of money to run a credible campaign. Most of the candidates in a particular race don’t make the final decision to run until a month or two before the filing date, which is February, for the 2010 Primary.

 Candidates who have already filed their papers to run for office are incumbents running for re-election or termed-out representatives who have planned out their next race. The other category of early candidates are primarily individuals who are in politics by virtue of their work employment as a staffer of an elected official, or those candidates who now know the ropes of running for office from a previous campaign effort.

 Early endorsements only serve the special interest of a particular group and do very little to promote democracy. Without including and interviewing all potential candidates in the election campaign, how does a group decide who will best represent their interest and that of the community? What about the candidate who has the potential to be a very good representative for the community, yet because they are not a part of the early endorsement process are left on the outside looking in? More importantly for the community in general that looks to these groups for political leadership, are these groups serving the best interest of the voting community?

 We appreciate the task that these groups go through with their membership volunteering their time to serve and participate with other groups in endorsing and working with various campaigns, it is not an easy task and we applaud their efforts. Yet at the same time early endorsements do not promote democracy and in our opinion circumvents the political process and only serves to deny all other candidates the opportunity to fully participate in the democratic process.

 For the Hispanic community and most other minorities this is a particularly poignant point in that years past as we have sought to participate in the election process and politicians and others have used this tactics to deny the community the opportunity to fully participate and elect representatives of our communities.

 These groups for all intents and purposes have made their choice even before endorsement meetings, as some candidates like to think, the choice represents the interest of the group and an attempt to develop an early relationship with the candidate. This serves the candidate and it serves the special interest of the group, but for the community members that look to these organizations endorsements for guidance, these early endorsements fail to take full measure of all the candidates running for office, and does a great disservice to democracy and the community.

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 In our opinion, early endorsements are a part of the political reality, but voters will take these early endorsements made by political organizations with a grain of salt.

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