March 14, 2018

2018 Endorsement Policy of Indivisible TC

Indivisible TC Policy and Procedure for Endorsing Candidates

Committee: Lynne Van Ness, Paul Singer, Maggie Singer, Sylvia McCullough, Allen McCullough, Linda Pepper, Bill Gittlen


Beginning in December 2017, Indivisible TC members were encouraged to review the Indivisible publication, A Practical Guide for Endorsing in Primaries and Beyond.  At the end of December, Bill presented a review of this guide to the steering committee, and the officers discussed the advantages and disadvantages of endorsing.  The consensus was that someone would make a similar presentation to the membership. Bill did this on March 4 and the membership recommended that a committee be formed to develop a procedure.  This document is a result of the discussion this committee had following the  March 4 membership meeting.

Underlying Principles:

The committee agreed that the process should be fair to all members and supporters, be transparent, be in keeping with our energy limits and our unavoidable time constraints, and whenever possible, include other Indivisible groups.  The plan will be to only endorse a limited number of candidates. We will consider their values, who the candidates represent, and their viability.  The goal will be to nominate our endorsed candidates (for Governor and Congress) to national Indivisible HQ with the hope of earning national endorsement.

The committee decided to make guidelines that will apply to the 2018 election cycle only.  We would start by considering endorsing a candidate for four federal and state positions only: Governor, Congressional Representative for the First District, and State House of Representatives for the101st (Leelanau) and 104th (Grand Traverse) Districts. In addition, we will consider endorsing any Indivisible member who is a candidate for a local office, if they so request. We may consider an entire slate of candidates in the final weeks preceding the general election if we feel that will help create broader progressive change.

The committee agreed that in order to give strong endorsements and to void splintering our group, a consensus will be needed to earn an endorsement. That means the vast majority will be in favor, and those who are not in favor must be willing to agree to accept the group’s endorsement. An announcement about an upcoming vote to endorse will be posted on our website blog and on Facebook at least 10 days prior to any vote.

The Policy:

The committee agreed that because of our limited meeting time, we will encourage our members to individually learn about the federal and state candidates on their own time, rather than having candidates come to speak to us. We will advertise the many forums and other opportunities when candidates are appearing in our area.  We believe our endorsed candidate should support our main issues: common sense gun reform, decommissioning Line 5, repealing and replacing Jack Bergman, supporting voting rights, and exposing the bias and distortion of local news by Sinclair Broadcasting. We also expect our endorsed candidates to be in favor single payer health care, a living minimal wage, a path to citizenship, environmental protection, and renewable energy development.

The committee agreed that the timeline for endorsement will vary according to the nature of each individual race. At this time, our membership needs more opportunities to see and learn about the candidates for Governor.  Hopefully, by June 1, the membership may have gathered sufficient information to explore whether there is one candidate the membership wants to endorse before the primary. If not, this decision can be revisited monthly.


The committee agreed that we also need more exposure to the State House of Representatives candidates. We will wait sufficient time until an Indivisible Traverse City member lobbies for an endorsement.

Lynne is already working on the campaign for Matt Morgan and feels that since he is unopposed in the primary, now would be a good time to endorse him.  At this time, there are no other candidates in the race except Jack Bergman. Matt spoke to our group last year, and completed our 38-question form, essentially agreeing with all of our crucial issues. In April, Lynne will present his views, who he represents, his viability and reasons why we should endorse now.  Maggie and Berta will explore whether other Indivisible groups want to join us by also formerly endorsing Matt. After a discussion, our membership can decide whether they want to hold a vote at the next meeting. If so, an announcement of the upcoming vote will be posted on our website blog and on Facebook.  If the group does reach 100% consensus to endorse, it will mean we will actively support his candidacy.  We will need to create a press release, do media outreach, hold some events (with our partners), do GOTV drives prior to the election, and nominate him for national Indivisible endorsement.  If we eventually decide to endorse other candidates, in each case we will need to have a supporter of the endorsement present the candidate to our membership and then we will follow the same process.

We will present this procedure and policy to the group for its approval at the March 18 meeting.  This policy can be amended by a vote of a majority of the members at any time.