At the end of the day, you’re endorsing a candidate because you think they’re the best person to hold political office. But making that assessment involves thinking through a lot of factors about who the candidate is, what they stand for, and what their chances are.
Key factors your Indivisible group will want to consider:
VALUES AND POLICIES Candidates should share your values and care about the same bold policies that your group does. What issues does your candidate focus on? What policies do they support? Do they share your values? In order to answer these questions, you may need to define for your own group what’s most important. No one knows your community or your group better than you do, and no one can better assess a candidate than you can. By clearly stating your values, you preferred policies, and what you’re looking for in an elected official, you can help elevate your issues, shape the race and push the candidates to reflect your values.
REPRESENTATION MATTERS Public policy is better when the people at the table reflect the diverse range of backgrounds and experiences of our nation. Americans all have life experiences that impact their understanding of politics and policy, and every elected official—including people of color, women, religious minorities, and disabled and LGBTQ+ Americans—brings their personal background to the table. When contemplating making an endorsement, we encourage you to recognize the importance of seeking out and supporting candidates from underrepresented groups. A candidate’s race or gender will not be the only factor in choosing whether or not to endorse, but we cannot ignore these factors if we want politicians who truly reflect our electorate and movement.
VIABILITY—BUT ONLY TO A CERTAIN EXTENT Viability is how we describe a candidate’s chances of winning. To be blunt, “viability” is a buzzword for political hacks, and it’s usually used to describe why some upstart candidate has no chance. The thing is, us hacks are often flat wrong. Remember when Trump was considered totally not viable? Yeah. This is why we include the “viability” factor with some strong caveats. In reality, the importance you place on viability depends on the local context and your Indivisible group’s goals. If you’re in a swing district with an open seat, there may be a dozen candidates in the primary, some much stronger than others. Understanding who’s got a strong foundation can help you decide where to focus attention. On the other hand, if you’ve got a front-runner who’s the overwhelming favorite but consistently votes against progressive values, you may want to endorse a longshot progressive candidate—even if they don’t have much of a chance of winning the primary.
(Excerpted from Indivisible Endorsements, A Practical Guide for Endorsing in Primaries and Beyond, https://indivisible435.org/endorsement/)