Due to their limited impact, Seattle DSA tends to avoid paper endorsements, which are nothing more than a permission for a campaign to use our name and logo on their web site and an encouragement to our members to volunteer with the endorsed campaign.
Instead, we focus on a smaller number of quality endorsements where we will actually commit significant chapter resources towards electing candidates or approving/defeating ballot initiatives.
This strategy is rooted in the belief that every socialist electoral campaign should do more than help elect a socialist to office – it should build the infrastructure and know-how for many socialist electoral campaigns moving forward.
A large part of this infrastructure will consist of the skills, confidence, and motivation that we build in our volunteers from one campaign to the next. Other elements also include our name recognition, technical skills, small donor list, and voter contact database, among others.
At Seattle DSA, we consider electoral work, especially our canvassing and phonebanking operations, as opportunities to build popular support for a larger socialist movement.
Steps in the Endorsement Process
All endorsement decisions are made by the Seattle DSA general membership, at one of our monthly membership meetings.
The general process starts with an email inquiry (see details below), followed by an informal conversation with electoral committee members, then filling out a questionnaire, and finally a presentation to the general membership, who will vote on the endorsement at a monthly membership meeting.
While the electoral committee may make recommendations to endorse or not endorse to the general membership, only the membership can vote on an endorsement.
Our chapter bylaws require that members be given 14 days’ advanced notice before an endorsement vote, in order to give our members time to study and reflect on the campaign that is seeking our endorsement. As such, the process may take several weeks to a couple of months.
Where to Begin
Candidates and campaigns seeking Seattle DSA’s endorsement should begin the application process by emailing [email protected], including the following information in the body of the email:
- Full name, including pronouns
- Position they are running for
- Campaign web page, or a brief candidate/campaign statement if a web page is not available yet
- Contact information
The Seattle DSA electoral committee will then contact the campaign to arrange for an informal discussion, to see if there is mutual interest in pursuing an endorsement. Any member of Seattle DSA or affiliated groups seeking to run for office themselves should seek to communicate with the Local Council or Electoral Committee Co-chairs before announcing their candidacy and any affiliation to Seattle DSA.
The Seattle DSA endorsement questionnaire is detailed and comprehensive, and campaigns seeking our endorsement will need to spend a substantial amount of time completing it. We want to respect the limited resources that progressive campaigns have at their disposal. The main objective of the initial conversation is to give the campaign a sense of Seattle DSA’s priorities, before the campaign invests the time required to officially request an endorsement.
The Seattle DSA chapter also passed a Socialist Priorities Resolution at our January 2021 general membership meeting. We advise candidates or their staff read it over to confirm that there is a fit between the campaign and Seattle DSA.
Candidates seeking endorsements for 2021 elections should contact us as soon as possible.
We also look forward to hearing from candidates considering 2022 campaigns.