Escondido, CA

~ Editorial

Non-partisan offices should be just that: non-partisan

Recently I heard a story about how someone from out of town who was having a conversation with someone from around here predicted that a particular person would be elected to office, unseating an incumbent on one of our local boards.

Yes, I’m being somewhat vague here. Please bear with me because I do have a point to make.

“But I’ve never heard of this person,” said my informant. “He just came out of the blue.”

“Doesn’t matter, he’s going to get the endorsement of the Republican Party. He’ll be elected,” said the other assuredly.

I’m sure that similar conversations take place in areas where the Democrats are dominant.

Although I’m a registered Republican and usually vote that way, I rarely check to see who the Republicans endorse for non-partisan offices.

Non-partisan offices are that for a reason: local government isn’t related to national politics and the sting of battle in the national arena. Whether someone is for or against abortion, for or against Obamacare, for or against a border fence, for or against free trade, has very little to do with how that person would perform on the Board of Supervisors, the school board, the fire board, parks board, or the water board. In fact, it’s ludicrously immaterial to the question. You might as well say, “I only vote for people who wear red scarves.”

The way that candidates get the endorsement of the Republican or Democratic central committee in San Diego is sufficiently murky, at least to me, that I would be widely skeptical of an endorsement for one candidate over the other, ESPECIALLY if it was for one Republican over another Republican.

My question would be, in that case, how was the endorsement obtained? Was one Republican simply head and shoulders above the other in quality, or perhaps in height? Did one candidate simply neglect to go hat in hand to the committee to obtain the endorsement?

More to the point, perhaps, how did someone know who the Republican central committee was going to endorse, since that endorsement doesn’t normally happen until — I believe — October, right before the election.

We know, for example, that the Republican Central Committee endorsed the Lilac Hills Ranch project, without apparently knowing much about it except that it was pro-business. The Democrats probably oppose it for the same reason.

It would be interesting to find out exactly what it means to get the endorsement of the Republican or Democratic central committees. I’m willing to bet that it has very little to do with the job that candidate would ultimately do in office.

I’m very willing for someone to prove me wrong by educating me on how one goes about getting such an endorsement. I think a lot of voters would find that fascinating.

Is it pay-for-play? We’d expect that from the party of Hillary, but is the party of Trump above asking for a donation in return for an endorsement? Probably not. I’m not saying that’s how endorsements happen. I AM saying that’s how cynical journalists and jaded voters assume that such things happen.

If instead the process involves being washed in the Blood of the Lamb until one is as white as snow and taking oaths of poverty, I am sure we would all be fascinated to find that out too. Please educate us.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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