@ryanMeili Monday – The Most Important Endorsement? #skndpldr

Trent Wotherspoon got the endorsement of a trio Manitoba MLA’s today, Cam Broten posted one from a retired Director of Education and Ryan Meili got what could be described as quasi-endorsements from high-profile NDP MP’s Libby Davies (Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Health Critic) and Niki Ashton (Critic for Women’s Issues) in an e-mail blast to his supporters.(“Quasi”-endorsements in that Davies and Ashton don’t come right out and say they’re endorsing Ryan.  But if they’re telling people how much they believe in Ryan’s vision and asking the people receiving the e-mail to donate to Ryan and help him out, isn’t that pretty much the same thing?)

Anyhow, this has encouraged me to share some of my thoughts on endorsements.

I think I’m with The Accidental Jurist in that I don’t know much weight endorsements carry.  Once a candidate has enough endorsements to demonstrate their viability as a leader who can get others to follow them, endorsements seem to have diminishing returns.

The only exception is when the endorsement(s) significantly play against expectations (for example, Erin Weir is likely to see endorsements from economists – and he has.  Trent and Cam are likely to see endorsements from their MLA colleagues – and they have.  Ryan Meili is likely to receive endorsements from the social justice movement – and he has.  None vary much against what you’d expect and are therefore unlikely to change your mind.)

In terms of those endorsements that *do* significantly play against expectation, I’d cite MLA David Forbes’ incredibly brave decision to break with the majority of his caucus colleagues in 2009 (who had all either endorsed former MLA Dwain Lingenfelter or curent MLA Deb Higgins) to support Ryan as being an endorsement on that level.

(I also have no idea if Forbes intends to endorse Ryan this time around.  But whether or not he does, I can’t help but think he must feel some measure of vindication about his choice to endorse Ryan in 2009 given how Meili’s momentum is building again in so many ways this campaign whereas the Leadership candidate that the majority of his MLA colleagues supported in 2009 has pretty much become “he who shall not be named” in terms of the Sask NDP!)

If Forbes’ endorsement went against expectations in 2009, I’d suggest Ryan’s support from Saskatchewan’s largest private sector union is at the same level in terms of playing against expectations and coming as a shock to many in the current leadership campaign.

So are there any remaining “big” endorsements to come this time around that could have a major impact?

Barring a former Leader breaking with tradition to come out in favour of one of the candidates, who else remains?  Although I don’t think they’re quite as influential as they appear on first glance, any of the remaining MLA’s who haven’t endorsed could be a “big” score, especially if they endorsed Ryan Meili or Erin Weir.

Speaking of, where’s the MLA count at right now?  I think Cam’s been endorsed by Danielle Chartier, Doyle Vermette, and Cathy Sproule while Trent’s been endorsed by Warren McCall (leaving John Nilson – who’s unlikely to endorse, both as acting leader and as someone who didn’t endorse in 2009, David Forbes, and Buckley Belanger as the three two remaining MLA’s who might come out for one of the leadership candidates.)

I think the two former Leadership candidates from 2009 who are still around and active in the party, Deb Higgins and Yens Pedersen, could potentially be big scores.

I can’t remember if big labour names like Larry Hubich or Tom Graham endorsed in 2009 but they (or the unions they represent could be big news if they endorsed someone – especially if they didn’t do so in the 2009 race.)  [Correction: Tom Graham has endorsed Trent Wotherspoon – although this was an an individual rather than on behalf of CUPE Saskatchewan.  This is evidenced as per Trent’s initial launch video.  Apologies for the oversight!]

Endorsements, quasi- or otherwise, from federal MP’s, especially those who ran for the leadership like Niki Ashton, could be big.

I’m probably missing a lot of other names that would still be significant but that’s partly because, ultimately, as I said earlier, I don’t think endorsements carry as much weight as some people think they do.  That’s because we’re a party of intelligent, free-thinking individuals who tend to make up our own minds rather than taking our cues from others – whether they’re a “big” name or a party stalwart or whatever.

The irony is that there’s one endorsement that has been proven to truly carry weight with people – the one you get from a friend!  That’s why Ryan’s grassroots appeal and broad-based coalition approach might just carry the day in the end.

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  1. From Head Tale - This Blog Post Has Momentum! #skndpldr on 30 Jan 2013 at 8:49 am

    […] claim to having “force or speed of movement” via a wide number of metrics beyond just endorsements. The Meili campaign has the best fundraising, best single fundraising month, most Facebook Likes, […]

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