Winfrey and Senator Obama at Williams–Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC (December 9, 2007) (from Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of Barack Obama – Wikipedia)

We just published our voter guides, VOTER GUIDES FOR CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES IN PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY | Prince William-Manassas Family Alliance (, and we want folks to notice that we have done something new. We have added a section that lists who has endorsed the candidates.

What can we as voters learn from these lists of endorsements? That is what this post is about.

There are basically two types of endorsements:

  • Endorsements by individuals.
  • Endorsements by organizations.

Individual endorsements can be difficult to interpret. As the picture above shows, Oprah Winfrey endorsed then Senator Barack Obama in 2007 during his first run for President of the United States. What was the significance of that endorsement? Winfrey is not a politician, but she is well-known and respected by a great many people, but what did her endorsement tell us about Obama? Apparently, she expected Obama to promote some of the views she holds dear. What views? To find out we would at least have to read or listen her endorsement speech, but there is no guarantee that an endorsement speech will tell us very much.

Endorsements by organizations tend to be a bit less complicated to interpret. That is because we generally form an organization to accomplish a special purpose. That is, organizations are special interest groups. Therefore, we can determine why an organization endorsed a candidate based upon how they define their agenda, which they almost always post right up front upon their website.

Consider a couple of examples.

Both MacAuliffe and Youngkin are making an issue out of the other guy’s endorsements. Why? Apparently they believe those endorsements will tell us more about their opponent than the words coming out of their opponent’s mouth. True? Well, it seems that each of these candidates are spending campaign funds in that belief..

Since the political goals of organizations tend to be less complicated to interpret, we favor posting them on our voter guides. Nevertheless, because some candidates tend to seek endorsements less energetically, we post also post individual endorsements, especially if that individual is well known to the voters.

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