Opinion letter to the editor

Endorsements are dumb

Vote for candidates you support, not those that others endorse

Last week, MIT Democrats published an article announcing their endorsement of Elizabeth Warren. Here’s what I think: endorsements are dumb, especially on a publication like The Tech, and especially from a group such as the MIT Democrats.

Endorsements, if one thinks about it, are a strange concept. In a representative democracy such as the one we have in the United States, each individual theoretically has the same amount of say as any other person in the United States; yes, this is not entirely true in many circumstances because of the electoral college, gerrymandered districts, or the power of money in politics, but my point still stands in theory. So, in this democracy we have in America, what is the point of endorsing one candidate over another? I can think of some reasons why some might think it is a sensible thing to do: maybe a large labor union endorses a candidate because that candidate is known to be supportive of that particular occupation, or a large cultural group endorses a candidate because of known social activism from that candidate’s past. In these situations, an endorsement at least makes a bit of sense. But MIT Democrats is neither.

So why is the MIT Democrats writing an article on their endorsement? Why should we, the readers of The Tech, care about what these people have to say? The answer is that we shouldn’t. The MIT Democrats are not representative of who MIT students/faculty are, nor what we represent. They are just a group of students, no different from me and you, reading the silly memes on the Fun pages, who just happened to announce their opinion on The Tech. Their word on Elizabeth Warren is not the final word, and they have an ulterior motive in endorsing her: more so than just letting the readers know that she is running for president. (Spoiler alert: they want you to vote for her.)

Why is this endorsement any different from any regular person who goes on to publish an opinion article titled “Why I am voting for Trump,” or “Why Bernie Sanders is the best candidate we have”? The answer is, it’s not. You might think being self-proclaimed Democrats and being part of a student organization revolving around a political party means they are more involved and educated in the political process, and therefore more knowledgeable about the candidates. That may be true, but that does not mean the rest of us are in any less of a position to say the same thing about ourselves. As a naturalized citizen of the United States who was not long ago a citizen of another country, I know the American political system is what other democratic systems strived to be for the last two centuries. Thanks to the freedom of the press, and the wealth of knowledge and traceable pasts of these candidates, we Americans have the ability to choose the best candidate for the U.S., to hold politicians accountable, and not to follow blindly after a peer group or a celebrity for “political advice.” This is the true power of a system where the governed have a voice.

So, I encourage you all to find that voice: do not blindly follow other people into the polls, but make your own decisions based on your own research of the candidates; for example, if you did your research, you would know that despite the MIT Democrats claiming Warren fought to end big money in politics, she herself took big money donations during her 2018 Senate race. MIT students, of all people, should know the importance of knowledge and education. There are pit traps everywhere, in the forms of echo chambers and fake news, so I encourage you all to have a discussion with not only your friends, but also people you would not normally talk to, as well as widening your sources for news. This nation is facing tumultuous times, and we are the ones who can help our great nation wade through these treacherous waters.

I’m going to end this rant by endorsing ████████ — just kidding, it doesn’t matter who I endorse. Just do what you do best: do your research, go out, and vote.

Jaeho Kim, Senior in Computer Science, Economics, and Data Science, a member of nothing