Endorsements can be yummy, but they may make you sick

Political endorsements are like your Mom’s favorite chicken soup. It may not cure all your ills, but it doesn’t hurt . or does it?

With an electorate that often doesn’t know squat about a candidate’s qualifications, the office seeker often turns to someone the voter does know and uses that endorsement to win.

Ask Bill Schuette.

Ask John James.

Ask Brian Calley.

Ask Abdul El Sayed.

Ask Gretchen Whitmer.

Mr. Schuette has made no secret that President Donald Trump has blessed the Schuette bid for governor. And to drive home the point, he likes to remind everyone that his major opponent, Brian Calley, once un-endorsed Mr. Trump. But he doesn’t bother to add Mr. Calley later re-endorsed him.

Mr. Calley has hooked his election hopes to his endorsement from his boss, Gov.Rick Snyder, who urges everyone to cotinue the “Michigan comeback” by supporting his lieutenant governor.

By the numbers, Mr. Schuette appears to have the upper hand, in that 79 percent of the Republicans in Michigan support Donald Trump, while only 65 percent of the Republcians back Rick Snyder. That may account, in part, for the attorney general’s substantial lead going into the Aug. 7 vote.

U.S. Senate candidate John James, a virtual political unknown seeking statewide office for the first time, netted the president’s blessing, probably much to the chagrin of his opponent, Sandy Pensler, who also affirms he voted for Mr. Trump, too. But Mr.James has tried to take the edge off of that by questioning the sincerity of Mr. Pensler’s commitment to Mr. Trump, while Mr. Pensler accuses his opponent of twisting the truth on that point.

Since this contest is a dead heat, Mr. Trump stepping in could be significant.

Democratic governor candidate Dr. El Sayed picked up the endorsment of Bernie Sanders, whom you will recall pulled off an upset victory over Hillary Clinton in the Michigan presidential primary. Dr. El Sayed probably had most of the Bernie-crats on his side to begin with, but having the endorsement could cement that support and bring some stragglers into the fold.

Gretchen Whitmer wins the endorsement contest as she boasts lots of labor, Emily’s List, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and others. She is also working on landing former Gov. Bill Milliken’s blessing, for those of you who remember the moderate GOP governor whom she admires.

But there is a downside to endorsements, too.

The aforementioned Ms. Clinton also had every endorsement Ms. Whitmer has, but managed to lose in this state. Clearly, there were other factors — namely that lots of voters did not like her. There is no evidence that Ms. Whitmer is loathed by voters a la the Hill.

And then there is the impact of a Trump endorsement in a general election, in which the electorate is broader than the narrow GOP primary. There are those who figure if Bill Schuette wins the nomination, he can’t win in November with just his Trump supporters.

Popular wisdom suggests he’ll need to supplement that base with some independents, some dissonant Democrats and some moderates. But how does he do that if he continues to boast about his White House support?

Which, if correct, means he has two choices. Put some distance between himself and Mr. Trump or continue to cuddle up as close as he can get. If he choses the former, he’ll risk offending the Trump folks but others will accuse him of flip-flopping to save his own political neck if he tacts to the center to win.

Bottom line, here, is the “chicken soup” of endorsements may taste yummy for awhile but it could also sour make you sick as in losing an election.

— The Alpena News

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