Endorsement Process Overview
The graphic below presents an overview of the endorsement process. Please read through the entire Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section for a full description of each step required.
2022 Endorsement Timeline
The DSA-LA Electoral Committed voted unanimously to adopt a three-stage endorsement timeline for the 2022 election cycle, which will begin after the ratification of the Democratic Socialist Program for Los Angeles, in keeping with the 2020 Chapter Resolution “Build a Bench for a 2022 DSA-LA Slate”. You can read that timeline here.
You can find the Questionnaire for the 2022 endorsement cycle here (pdf)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a DSA-LA endorsement for a candidate or ballot measure?
You’ve probably seen and heard lots of candidates say they’ve been endorsed by someone or by a group or organization. Endorsements in most cases means the endorsing person or organization is vouching for a candidate or ballot measure and wants you to vote for them/it. When DSA-LA endorses someone or something that means not only are we vouching for them/it, we are also going to put in work for the campaign by forming a working group that will volunteer hundreds of hours organizing canvasses, phone banks, doing research, making content for social media, and more. It is a massive commitment to make and depends on large amounts of chapter enthusiasm and labor to mobilize and succeed in our electoral work.
What is a DSA-LA recommendation for a candidate or ballot measure?
In addition to endorsements, DSA-LA also offers recommendations through its DSA-LA Voter Guides. Recommendations are decided by DSA-LA’s Electoral Politics Committee rather than the whole chapter. Because of this, a recommendation does not entitle candidates to any chapter resources, including our logo or name. An easy analogy for the distinction between a recommendation and an endorsement is this: a recommendation is letting your buddy know about a great apartment in your building, an endorsement is helping them move in and co-signing your buddy’s lease.
If you would like to see DSA-LA recommend a candidate or ballot measure, you can contact the Electoral Politics Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your proposed recommendation(s) for the voter guide and your analysis of why the Committee should make the recommendation(s). No further commitment is necessary. The Electoral Politics Committee researches races and ballot measures and internally makes the final determination whether or not to recommend something in the DSA-LA Voter Guide.
What am I committing to as a member if I seek a DSA-LA endorsement for a candidate or ballot measure?
If you, as a DSA-LA member and as the person bringing forth the petition, are not willing to donate at least 5 hours a week for several months to get a candidate elected or a ballot measure passed, you should not bring forth an endorsement petition for the chapter. If the chapter endorses candidates but fails to do the necessary work to get them elected it devalues our endorsement and weakens our political power.
What am I committing to as a candidate if I seek a DSA-LA endorsement?
Likewise, we have expectations of endorsed candidates. You must:
- Pledge not to take corporate, real-estate, fossil fuel, or police union donations.
- Use their office to draw attention to issues affecting the multi-racial working class in Los Angeles County and California.
- Commit to advancing and fighting for universal programs that benefit everyone, paid for by taxing the rich and recapturing the wealth generated by workers.
- If elected, continue to work with DSA-LA to organize a working class majority and demand socialism in our county.
What am I committing to as a ballot measure sponsor if I seek a DSA-LA endorsement?
That depends on the phase at which you are seeking endorsement for a ballot measure. An official chapter endorsement and commitment of resources can only be made through a chapterwide vote once a measure has qualified for the ballot, but there are other ways to seek support for mutual benefit:
- If seeking DSA-LA resources in the Initiative Draft phase, the work of writing the text of the proposed law must happen in coalition through a chapter committee and with the approval of the Steering Committee. You must give the participating chapter committee, Steering Committee, or Electoral Committee a voting seat on the coalition and work to advance DSA-LA’s socialist politics, as articulated in the forthcoming Democratic Socialist Program for Los Angeles. The analysis must be tied to class struggle and the proposed law must seek to redistribute wealth from the capitalist class to the working class or to change the rules of an arena to be more favorable for socialist organization.
- If seeking endorsement in the Signature Gathering phase, you must form a working group with a chapter committee or branch organizing committee and inform both the Electoral Committee and the Steering Committee of the efforts. The working group must prepare a work plan that identifies, at a minimum: Terms of engagement for how DSA-LA and the ballot measure sponsors interact, maintain political independence, collects and shares contact lists; Understanding of a class struggle analysis of the proposed law; and Disclosure of financial supporters of the ballot measure and signature gathering efforts.
If seeking endorsement after a ballot measure has been qualified for the ballot, this must be done through the official endorsement process detailed below.
Who can initiate the DSA-LA Endorsement Process?
Still want to start an endorsement? Great! Only DSA-LA Members in good standing can initiate the endorsement process. Some rules apply:
- You can’t be the candidate or work for the candidate. If you’ve been hired in any capacity to work for a candidate or ballot measure you cannot start an endorsement process for that candidate or ballot measure, period.
- You can’t be related to, married to, or cohabiting or romantically partnered with the candidate either. So if you’re Jane Sanders, you can’t start a petition to endorse Bernie Sanders on the technicality that you aren’t hired by the campaign. If you’re part of a campaign in any capacity, you cannot initiate the endorsement.*
- If you start or sign an endorsement petition and it passes, you are obligated to work on the campaign for 1 hour a week minimum for the duration of the campaign. Starting a campaign and not working on a campaign does not build power.
* Initiating the endorsement process specifically means authoring and/or signing the endorsement consideration petition. If you are currently regularly performing volunteer labor for a campaign, that would be considered ‘being part of a campaign’ for the purposes of this policy. If you have concerns or questions, you can contact email@example.com for clarifications.
What are the detailed steps of the endorsement process?
OK so you’re really going to do this! Great! Here’s how:
- Contact the Electoral Politics Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask for an endorsement form. An endorsement form has two parts:
- Candidate questionnaire: this is for the candidate to fill out and it will be attached to the petition so members can understand the candidate’s background and policy positions in advance of signing the proposal to endorse them (remember: by signing members are agreeing to work on the campaign for at least 1 hour a week for the duration of the campaign.)
- Member proposal: this is a written proposal outlining why the member(s) proposing we endorse a candidate believe the candidate should be endorsed. There are no requirements for this proposal, but we suggest making it as detailed as possible, outlining as much about the candidate, the district, and the proposed level of chapter commitment as possible. For an example of a past proposal, click here.
Final disclaimer: the DSA-LA chapter bylaws task the Electoral Politics Committee with “Facilitating Local Endorsements, including coordinating votes to ensure that the Local is not overburdened”. In layperson’s terms, this means it’s our responsibility to ensure the chapter is not forced to consider dozens of candidate proposals at one time. As discovered by our friends over in NYC-DSA, having numerous candidates up for consideration actually made the endorsement process less accessible as members were being asked to attend too many Q&A’s and debates, and read too many candidate questionnaires and proposals just to maintain a minimum level of awareness on every endorsement up for a vote. Similarly, our chapter has a finite amount of volunteer hours and resources, so while it’d be nice to run 50 candidate campaigns at one time, doing so would spread ourselves too thin and ultimately result in us not being able to support any candidate in a meaningful way. This is all to say that the Electoral Politics Committee will consider closing the submission period for proposals to start endorsement processes if the chapter is being asked to consider too many at any one time.