Whether we endorse or not, our approach should be boots on the ground

  • Statement about: Jovanka Beckles and Gayle McLaughlin
  • For these candidates: I support a strong endorsement with a commitment to "boots on the ground" support from DSA.
  • Summary: Whether or not we choose to endorse these two candidates, East Bay DSA should be committed to fully supporting whichever candidate we endorse.

Written by East Bay DSA member Nestor Castillo

Unfortunately I was not able to attend the forum where the two candidates, Jovanka Beckles and Gayle McLaughlin, were seeking an endorsement from East Bay DSA. This position has more to do with what we do after we endorse rather than the two candidates themselves. I don't think a "soft" endorsement does EBDSA any good. It replicates the current model of electoral politics and not a particularly good one in which organizations with "clout" endorse which usually consists of writing a check and maybe some door knocking here and there. If and when we decide to endorse a candidate, our full weight should go into that endorsement (without dropping or putting aside any of our other priorities, of course). This means getting out the vote, educating voters, register voters, and organizing potential new members. As an org we should develop guidelines. The following are some I would suggest in no particular order:

  1. Identify strong and committed Socialist candidates who we can hold accountable
  2. Identify strategic seats or positions where we can advance a socialist agenda
  3. Have a hell of a good chance of winning

The third is by far the most important. I don't think we should go into an election with the idea of "putting up a good fight". We should go in with the intention of winning. We need to be aware of how demoralizing a loss can be especially if we intend to invest significant time, resources, and people power into the campaign. I don't know if either Beckles or McLaughlin meets these guidelines, but if our membership decides they do, then we should as organization commit to seeing that they win.

The statement above is the opinion of its author and does not necessarily represent the opinions of East Bay DSA, its local council, or its members.