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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Response to Tom Borthwick's Comment, "Political Party Endorsements"

One of the smartest guys under 40 I know commented on THIS posting by saying:

Tom Borthwick said...
I tend to agree with you. It's one of the reasons I accepted a position in the Democratic Party of Scranton. We held our endorsements, I researched candidates, and voted for who I thought would do the best job. Not everybody in the process is awful!
March 30, 2015 at 10:12 AM

As I started to reply, it occurred to me that "hey, I can turn this into an entirely new posting!", so that's what I am going to do.

* * * * *

Thanks for commenting Tom, as always.

I'll gladly point out the fact that I don't believe that anyone in the process is awful.  Rather, it's the premise and the concept behind the process that I find distasteful.

"Premise" being that this group of people will tell others how to vote.  I need only offer the following three words to bolster my point:  Party Line Vote.  If I were "King of PA" my first action would be to prohibit party line voting.  Yes, sadly, I would require people to actually vote for PEOPLE!  How radical!  I would require the voters to make the choice, not allow some group of party bosses to make the choice for them.  Oh, and just cut the argument off at the pass, a party endorsement does matter in NEPA.  What percentage of party endorsed candidates make it to the general election?  I'm thinking north of 75%.

"Process" being the fact that there is no set of standards, no formal methodology, no sunshine, no litmus test if you will for determining just who receives a party endorsement.  As I noted in the original posting, for all we know the endorsed candidate(s) could be horrid human beings who simply pass the test of being able to raise money or being the most rabid party ideologues.

So in a nutshell Tom, would I trust you to do the hard work of researching candidates and making reasonable decisions (all be it not always in sync with my beliefs and values, but that's okay), because I know you to be a decent human being who wants to do the right thing.  Can the same be said for every party leader in NEPA?  In a word, "no".  Again, it's the the premise and the process behind party endorsements that is rife with the potential for abuse, and there is no system of checks and balances to prevent that abuse.

1 comment:

Tom Borthwick. said...

I agree that the party-line vote needs to go on ballots. I have never checked it, and never will check it.

I understand your point about endorsements, but it's not that we're telling anybody to do anything. It's a recommendation based on a set of values. If people trust the organization, that's up to them. Most people don't research every candidate. Even after research, I'm usually unsure about statewide judicial races, for example. So I call my uncle, who is in law enforcement, for advice. The principle is similar.

You are right about there being no real "litmus" test. It's the preference of whoever sits on party endorsement committees (these people, themselves, are elected by their respective communities, for what that's worth). My standards for endorsement are obviously different than the people to my left and right.

I'll keep fighting my one-man good fight!