‘Political Insiders’ Say Political Parties Should Not Endorse Candidates in Primaries

Voter StickersSB54 has allowed candidates to circumvent the caucus/convention process and go straight to the primary ballot by gathering signatures. In response, some county Republican parties in Utah have started to endorse candidates who would have won the nomination outright at the convention if not for the new signature route. 

But, should they?
Our “Political Insider” panel, along with our readers disagree with political parties trying to influence the outcome of primary elections through endorsements.
74% of the Republicans on our “Insider” panel, 83% of the Democrats and 88% of our readers say parties should not put their thumb on the scale in primary elections by endorsing candidates.

Selected anonymous comments:
“The problem here is that well-intentioned people from Count My Vote tried negotiating with crazy people from the Utah Republican Party who are more concerned with maintaining their own power from a narrow swath of right wing nuts than they are with ensuring a more vibrant democratic process.”
“It’s petty and exemplifies the power Utah County party leadership pretends to wield. As a 4-time delegate, I liked the compromise of SB 54. I would now happily sign a petition for open primaries.”
“Right now, the state GOP and several county GOPs are so dysfunctional and irrational that most people in the general public don’t care what they say or do. They are losing credibility by the minute. That said, they should not endorse candidates in the primaries.”
“Somehow, I thought that voters were supposed to decide on the candidates, not the party nomenklatura. But wait – this is Utah, where the GOP leadership is a law unto itself.”
“Parties should endorse candidates – why else do they exist? However, they should not consider their method of getting on the ballot as part of the choice to endorse or not – their voting record should be the most important metric.”
“As a highly involved member of the Utah GOP, the idea of the party endorsing primary candidates is offensive to me. The party brand has been tarnished by the last few years of inept leadership and botched positive media opportunities. The party needs to work hard to be relevant again in the lives of the people of Utah before it becomes completely impotent and ineffective. I hope that the party will change course before it passes the point of no return and veers off the cliff into obscurity.”
“The current caucus system has been manipulated for years by candidates (tea party and Libertas groups) which then manipulates the convention outcome. The delegates elected in my local caucus did not reflect my political views, and therefore, the outcome of the convention did not reflect my political views. I do not think the GOP should endorse primary candidates. The signature route to the ballot is the ONLY way we can get alternative candidates to choose from besides the candidates who came out of a rigged caucus/convention system. To have the GOP endorse those candidates before the general election just puts them at even more of a disadvantaged position in the election than they already are.”
“What a mess. Congratulations, you’ve finally put the nail in the caucus coffin.”
“No, it’s silly. Voters choose. Not delegates, who merely suggest. The Republican brand is so damaged right now (looking at you Utah County and Craig Frank) that I am not sure if not having their endorsement is a help or a hurt.”
“Let the people decide! No need for the party to endorse one member over the other.”
“Count My Vote suggested the idea of the parties endorsing candidates bypassing convention system. Now they don’t like their own idea?”
“No party should make any endorsement during a contest for the party’s nomination. All the GOP county parties are doing is proving (again and beyond doubt) that they will do anything they can to preserve their very limited power.”
“Should the county parties endorse candidates? Why not just let the party geniuses decide the outcomes for all offices and simply skip the inconvenient process of voting? No, they shouldn’t endorse candidates, and yes, they should stop trying to manipulate the system to control the outcome.”
“Absolutely not. What has happened to the “big tent” concept? It sounds as if a lot of politicians (particularly Republicans) want private tents. Always been suspicious of what happens in private tents!”
“Any political party should not endorse any candidate(s) that are involved in a primary. The state party central committee should let their party’s electorate choose the eventual candidate; otherwise, why have a primary anyway? Or, is the Utah State Republican Party changing the name of their Central Committee to Politburo? James Evans can then be the Commissar. Wow! I like the ring of that.”
“What’s the use of a candidate running in the convention if she wins in convention and doesn’t get the endorsement?”
“I am pretty independent thinking and hence not a fan of endorsements. They have no effect on whom I support.”
“As long as the rules say they shouldn’t, then they shouldn’t.”
“The best way to keep the caucus-convention process relevant is to make it meaningful. The party should absolutely endorse its convention winners, and help them win in primary’s forced by signature candidates.”
“Only people who follow the rules of the party should be able to represent the party.”
“No, they should stop with the holier-than-thou crap and let the people of each district decide who they want representing them. They’ve turned positively Orwellian in approach. The Founding Fathers they love to quote would be turning over in their graves at the efforts to keep people from being able to have their vote count.”
“The party is just making itself more sad, pathetic, and out-of-touch with Republican voters with every step it takes.”
“Elections are a constitutional right for all voters, not a few delegates that generally do not represent mainstream thinking anyway.”