For the longest time, I thought the most annoying part of any election season was the combination of the TV ad spots and the scattering of signs on yards and at busy intersections. Now, I seem to be more bothered by the seemingly insignificant endorsements.
What is an endorsement? In my words, it’s a public declaration of support for a candidate running for elected office. This is not to be confused by celebrity endorsement for the latest sports drink. The flimsy signs that we see on front lawns theoretically mean that the people that live there will vote for that particular candidate. Makes sense. The signs on the side of the road at intersections are arguably a decent name recognition tool for the candidates.
Everyday, there are new endorsements announced on Facebook, on Twitter, and in the newspapers. I’m missing the point. I guess that if a high profiled public official endorses a candidate, logic would say that those that support the official will also vote for the candidate. Do people really make their decisions like this…by following what some other elected official thinks or says?
Some endorsements baffle me. If a local newspaper gives their public support for a candidate and I happen to read that newspaper, am I expected by endorsement logic to then vote for that candidate? What if I read two separate papers and they each endorse someone different? Rudy Giuliani recently announced his support for a particular Senate candidate. Because Rudy and I are both Yankee fans, am I expected to vote appropriately or immediately support the team in Bean Town?
Of course, my examples are over-simplistic but I think political endorsements have unfortunate meanings. First, I think a public endorsement means additional funds going into campaign coffers. Elections shouldn’t be decided by who has the most money. Second, I don’t think that we as voters really pay attention to a candidate’s thoughts or platform. It’s too much work to keep track of everyone; to prioritize our own beliefs/values and then balance them with where a candidate stands on a particular issue. Yep, that’s just too difficult. It’s much easier to sit back and complain that our elected officials are doing a bad job.
Know what I endorse? I endorse people participating in their community and supporting their candidate of choice based on informed decisions.