GINY Endorsement Process – Meeting February 18, 2018

Ten members attended our Sept 18 meeting

Candidate Endorsement

Our conversation focused on endorsement for the CD 21 election.

National Indivisible is encouraging local groups to endorse.  We have established ourselves as a legitimate source of political power. Campaigns seek our group’s support because it will help them get money, media, or people.  It can also help them get the support of other progressive groups and Democratic Committees.

National Indivisible features three aspects of a powerful endorsement:

1. A distillation of our group’s values. Endorsements aren’t just about the candidate, they’re also about what our Indivisible group stands for. A powerful endorsement requires that we clarify our own values and evaluate how those values line up with different candidates and campaigns. Our recently completed Platform provides this.

2. A public, definitive, stated preference. Despite any disagreements we may have, we are stating our preference for one candidate over the others. We do not need to agree 100 percent with the endorsed candidate, but we must stand behind our candidate during the election. Barring extenuating circumstances, we won’t want to withdraw an endorsement during a campaign or tell people a reason not to vote for our endorsed candidate.  If we endorse a candidate, and then break with the candidate later, we’ll find our endorsements are less meaningful in the future unless of course we break the endorsement because the candidate did something particularly stupid or out of line with our stated values.

3. A commitment of tangible support. Powerful endorsements come with a commitment from our group and members to actually do something meaningful in support of the candidate. An endorsement has to be more than just a statement of preference to have real impact. If our endorsement is just words on a page, we’ll quickly find that nobody cares about it.  Indivisible has shown that our power is in our people. When it comes to Indivisible groups, support doesn’t mean money—in fact, the campaigns are going to care far more about our people power, and groups’ ability to generate media exposure.

Getting to Agreement

There are nine Democratic candidates in the race, one other is ready to jump in and there are also potential Working Families, Green Party and Independent candidates.

Our members are all over the map on who they support, and some are actively working on the campaigns of candidates.  The Granville and Greenwich Democratic Committees have already endorsed.  Getting to consensus could be a challenge.

We defined consensus as a truly democratic process in which agreement is reached through a process in which all can state that they feel their views were heard by all and all agree to support the fairly reached decision of the group.

The process we agreed to for reaching consensus includes:

  1. Informing ourselves about the candidates. Candidates will be invited to review our Platform and indicate in writing what they have done in the past and what specifically they plan to do in Congress to further our values and principles.
  2. Meeting/getting to know the candidates. We will conduct activities, either ourselves or in collaboration with other progressive groups, to hear from the candidates.  Individual members are encouraged to continue to attend forums and candidate events.
  3. Rating the candidates. We will develop a process/format by which members can evaluate the qualifications and experience of candidates, including rating the subjective electability of the candidates (ability to connect and communicate, etc.). We discussed the possibility that this rating might be a first cut in winnowing the pool of candidates from which we choose.
  4. Conducting a vote in which all members will have an opportunity to cast a ballot. We will use a Ranked-Choice Voting process.  Each voter ranks all the candidates producing a result that is more fair and democratic than typical plurality voting. It requires the winner to achieve a majority (50%+1) to win and avoids the need for a run-off.  We had a presentation of a light-hearted fable explaining how the process works and arrives at the election of the candidate who has not only the strongest support but the widest/deepest support of the voters.  (To see the presentation click here –

When will we endorse?

We agreed to invite the candidates to respond on our Platform as soon as we have the “questionnaire” ready so we can get the process started.

We will wait until the petition process is completed to see if any of the candidates may drop out before we begin the rating and voting aspects of this.  We will conduct our rating and voting at that time and hope to help narrow the field well before the primary.

Next Steps

Alan Stern, Katie DeGroot, Jo Ann Devine and Herb Perkins will work on the “questionnaire” and rating material.