On endorsing candidates
Although I don’t feel that I made an incorrect choice in my endorsement of Jane Norton for US Senate, I’m thinking that from the point of view of not coloring how people read my writing, I should in the future avoid endorsing anyone in a Republican primary except when there’s a massive difference between candidates.
As I have not endorsed either Maes or McInnis (because I think they’re both poor candidates), I probably should not have endorsed anyone in the Norton/Buck race because they’re both good candidates. Again, this isn’t to say that I don’t support Norton. But I think public support distracts me from writing what I want and causes readers to question much of my writing on the topic as potentially biased…which is not an unfair question of someone who has endorsed a candidate.
It also gets tiresome to have so many readers repeatedly assign motivations to me such as being an “establishment windbag” when I’ve made my reasoning clear over and over and when such charges against me are laughable. Well, I may be a windbag, but I’m not establishment. It’s a bad use of my time to refute these charges but I sorta feel like I need to.
I can also imagine that endorsing a candidate might make any writer a little less critical of something that candidate does or says which one normally wouldn’t like, or more critical of the opposing candidate. I think I’ve done a pretty good job on this score, having pointed out several things I haven’t liked in Jane’s campaign (both policy and tactics), and having pointed out several things I did like about Ken Buck. But still, it’s an unnecessary inclination to burden myself with.
All in all, having made myself somewhat of a lightning rod in this campaign has been an interesting, though not thoroughly enjoyable, experience. I’ve certainly learned a lot about the nature of political activists, most of it making me think that Republicans aren’t nearly as much better than Democrats as I had hoped (in terms of behavior, not in terms of policy positions.) In that sense, what I’ve learned about many of my readers has been quite a disappointment. (For the record, I don’t assume that nobody out there is disappointed with me. I’ve gotten plenty of hate mail. But that comes with the territory and I have a tough skin about such things since I’m reasonably sure that I’m doing what I’m doing the right way and for the right reasons. I assume the people whom I’m disappointed with feel the same way about themselves. And maybe they’re right, but I just don’t see it that way. In any case, at least we don’t kill each other over such disagreements in this country.)
All these things together lead me to believe that most of my blogging brethren who chose not to endorse a candidate were wiser than I am.
So, while I’m quite comfortable with my endorsement of Jane Norton in this race, in the future I’m only going to endorse a candidate in a Republican primary if there is a candidate who is substantially better than the other(s). (Or I might negatively endorse, i.e. suggest voters stay away from, a candidate who is substantially worse than the others in a multi-candidate race.) There’s little gain and much downside for me in endorsing a candidate in a race with two about-equal candidates, whether they’re equally good (like our senate race) or equally bad (like our governor’s race).
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