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Do endorsements matter?

Yes and no. A politicians answer, but this is a blog about politics so…

We see it every election cycle: a flurry of press releases from a campaign saying that someone else says their candidate is the greatest thing since sliced bread and how could that person be wrong? Are you questioning their divine knowledge? Papers, comrade?

Heck yeah!

In some cases, I believe they’re necessary. When a hard fought game ends, you shake the opposing team’s hands. When a hard fought primary ends, barring any real nastiness by the winner, there should be an endorsement of said winner. Yeah, I’m a part of the Party Unity camp. If there’s nastiness and personal attacks, I think you deserve to lose those votes. Flies and honey and whatnot.

Senator Ted Kennedy in East Los Angeles.

Other pluses:

  • An endorsement can give an outsider candidate some of that establishment credibility that opponents and pundits say they lack.
  • Elected officials with a much bigger database than your sorry ass campaign and can ask their supporters to hop on your wagon and bring you some of that establishment e-moolah.
  • Who doesn’t like seeing their name in the paper? Especially when it’s not in the police blotter section!


Sometimes the last thing you need is an unpopular pol or loony rag latching onto your hull and dragging you down like a piece of kelp.

  • It’s much easier for the other side to claim media bias and snatch that “underdog” or “outsider” label out of your hand
  • All that press may not go so well if Mayor Squeaky Clean is caught wide-stancing in a public restroom the week after he stood on stage and shook your hand.
  • The endorsement could be a tepid “you might as well vote for this jerk” piece that leaves you feeling like you just got kicked in the rear instead of having a fire lit underneath it.

Necessary evil

In the case of Democratic Party primaries for President, endorsements were necessary. It’s being reformed now, but my party’s nominating process, which baffled even some of the top strategists in this field, included these funny little things called “Superdelegates” which combined with regular or “pledged” delegates that come from winning caucuses and primaries add to your total and good gravy who thought this up?

Anyway… it’s being looked into. Chuck Todd can relax his calculator.

So what say you, reader? Does the opinion of a newspaper’s editorial board or an elected official have any sway on your vote?