The Curious Case of Endorsements

In the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary, I endorsed two candidates, both women, both sitting United States Senators, one Black, and one White. First, I endorsed Senator Kamala Harris because I believed in her toughness and ability to blast past the President’s distractions and make a strong case for a change in leadership. After she was unable to continue in the race, I found a new home with Senator Elizabeth Warren. Her candidacy was strong and she had the absolute best policies out of everyone in the field. Her campaign staff, especially in Florida, were some of the most hard working staffers that I knew. So I bought in. Unfortunately, Senator Warren’s primary results in all of the early contests, up to Super Tuesday, doomed her campaign. When I learned that she was suspending her campaign, myself and many others were left to chew on our own thoughts. Here are mine.

Since 2016, I have only endorsed women to be the next President of the United States. I never really thought deeply about it. I looked at the candidate’s qualities, resume, and policy proposals. I would then compare that to what I believed was in the best interest of all Americans. To hear, even from other women, that a woman cannot get elected as President is mind numbing. Maybe it’s because of my background. I was raised by a single mother and sat front row as I watched her wield magical abilities to create a life that was full of opportunity and positivity. My mother taught me that I could do anything that I put my mind to. Maybe it’s because I raised my younger sister and watched her grow from a child into an adult and witnessed how cruel this world can be to little girls. My life experiences have taught me to see women as equal to, if not, stronger than men. Maybe that’s why I believe in female leadership.

My belief in both of these candidates led me to the great fortune of speaking on their behalf at events throughout South Florida. I will never forget the personal phone call I received from Senator Harris. Nor will I forget the hour conversation I had with a friend who sold Warren to me and her belief in Warren found it’s way into my own heart. My personal experience connected with my endorsements, strengthening my support for either woman. Stepping out on faith is always hard when you do not know what path lies ahead. I stepped out for them because I felt that they stepped out for the Americans who truly needed their leadership.

Often, I have stood by and listened as my friends and colleagues would question or even deride my endorsements, but I never got upset. I would always reply with my reasons for my endorsement and I always stood by my decision. There have been moments where I have felt lonely because of my belief in a candidate. However, I felt that it was more important to be moved by principle and not by what’s trendy. I will never forget that we are all human and humans have the great capacity to err. I must urge more people to endorse based on true analysis and who they think best carries their ideology. I watched as people endorsed Presidential candidates who they did not believe in. I watched as they endorsed someone because they didn’t think their second choice could win. I wholeheartedly understand the need to win, to be attached to a winner, to ingratiate yourself in hopes of furthering your own political career. I also know that not a single campaign or candidate is perfect and I firmly believe that every candidate is completely responsible for the success or failure of their campaign. I understand it all.

Now, I hope you understand me. Challenge yourself to see past the pressures of the world. Challenge yourself to think through media frenzies and political narratives that seek to force you to ignore your own feelings and thoughts. Only you know what drives you and motivates you, no one else. I am happy with the two women I endorsed for President and I am proud of the issues they brought to the forefront of political consciousness. If there is another opportunity where we have a plethora of candidates to endorse, look past labels. Look at their heart, character, and mind. I hope you will heed these words and resist outside influence as you decide who is the best candidate that will help America regain its status as that shiny beacon on the hill. I believe in you and I believe in us.

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Joshua A. Simmons

Joshua A. Simmons

Joshua is a current Vice Mayor with the City of Coral Springs, FL. He is the first African-American to be elected since the city’s incorporation in 1963.