Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Edwards endorsement: much ado about nothing

I've been fascinated with the fascination the last few days about who John Edwards might endorse for President.

I think an Edwards endorsement would have zero impact. If there is one office for which voters are fully capable of making up their own minds without any external help it is President.

I think the value of endorsements is at its greatest in low interest races and decreases right up the line to about nil for President.

When I was running school board campaigns as a teenager in Ann Arbor, one of my jobs was to round up as many great names for my candidates' signature ads that ran in the paper the day before the election as possible. No one pays attention to school board contests so having the endorsement of a Democratic legislator in a nonpartisan race could really move some votes in the absence of other easily digestible information.

But President? No way. Unfortunately John Edwards did not have that many supporters to begin with, and the ones he had are by and large going to make up their own minds about who to support now that he's out. If one hundredth of one percent of the primary electorate was influenced by an Edwards endorsement I'd be surprised.

I agree with Edwards' campaign manager, David Bonior. Better to sit this one out and remain above the fray.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I disagree, to an extent. I think it is hard to say how many voters Edwards will move, especially considering that he isn't really close to either candidate in any way, both policy-wise and personality-wise. Former Edwards supporters might only have soft support for their new candidates (though this support hardens by the day -- his endorsement in this respect would have been much stronger last week).

For example, I am a former Edwards supporter who is now supporting Obama. However, I strongly believe in Edwards anti-poverty message. If Edwards supports Clinton because she convinces him that she will fully back his anti-poverty issues, then I would think twice before casting my vote for Obama in the NC Primary (though I can't say definitively that I would switch).

More importantly, however, Edwards endorsement means donation lists (though these likely pale in comparison to Obama's, and perhaps even Clinton's) and it means that Edwards, a strong campaigner, in my mind, will go out and help support the endorsee in those constituencies that Edwards probably has the most sway.

-NC Voter

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