Metro Detroit DSA Endorsement Policy

Amended at the July 2021 General Meeting

Part I. General Principles of Chapter Endorsement

Section 1. The Meaning of a Detroit DSA Endorsement

A Detroit DSA endorsement means that the Chapter is committed to supporting the endorsed candidate to spread democratic socialist values and win their primary/general election. At a minimum, once an endorsement is issued, the Chapter will (1) publicly announce the endorsement (at general membership meetings, via e-mail, on social media, etc.) and (2) engage in voter canvassing (i.e., door knocking and phone banking). In some cases, an endorsement may also entail other material assistance, including but not limited to fundraising through a PAC. The level of support ultimately provided will depend upon Detroit DSA’s available resources, the strategic importance of the race, and enthusiasm for the candidate among the Chapter’s general membership.

Section 2. Race and Candidates

Detroit DSA seeks to endorse one or two candidates per election cycle, assuming suitable candidates are available. Generally, Detroit DSA will seek out races in the Metro-Detroit Area where its involvement has the potential to be outcome determinative. This is often, though not always, in Democratic Party primaries, particularly in state house or senate races. We also seek to support the reelection of candidates we have previously endorsed for the same position, unless there is good reason for reconsidering the endorsement. Endorsement of a candidate for one position does not guarantee subsequent endorsement for a different position.

  1. a) Active Members Favored for Endorsement

Detroit DSA encourages and supports active Chapter members to run for office as open democratic socialists (“Active Member Candidates”). Running as an “open democratic socialist” entails, inter alia, publicly identifying oneself as a democratic socialist, announcing one’s affiliation with DSA, and promoting the Chapter’s values and policy goals, as set forth in Section 3 below.

Our ultimate goal is that most (if not all) endorsed candidates will one day be Active Member Candidates. Any active Chapter member interested in running for office should consult the Electoral Committee well prior to launching. However, there is no guarantee that the Chapter will officially endorse any or all Active Member Candidates. Endorsement decisions will be made on a case-by-base basis, in light of the Chapter’s resource constraints and other strategic considerations.


  1. b) Paper Membership Required

Progressive candidates who are not Detroit DSA members—but who share and promote our values—may also be considered for endorsement. However, all such candidates must first join Detroit DSA and become, at a minimum, paper members.

  1. c) Diversity

The Electoral Committee is committed to encouraging a diverse array of candidates, including women, people of color, members of the LGBTQIA community, poor people, immigrants, candidates under 35, and others from groups underrepresented in electoral politics. Diversity will be a major factor in considering which candidates to endorse.

  1. d) Viability

Since our goal is to elect DSA-endorsed candidates, the viability of the campaign will be an important consideration. This includes considering the office sought; the field of candidates; past voting trends in the district; the candidate’s life experience, abilities, and history of local activism; and the campaign’s internal organization, strategy, fundraising plan, etc.

Section 3. Policy Guidelines for Candidates

Detroit DSA will look for candidates who support key aspects of its political platform and vision, as defined by DSA National and the Chapter itself. DSA’s policy goals include—

  • A “Green New Deal,” e.g., rapid decarbonization of the economy, a federal jobs guarantee, a just transition;
  • Increased Income and Wealth Taxes on the Ultra Wealthy;
  • Healthcare as a Right ( i.e. , Medicare for All or state-level single payer proposal);
  • Reproductive Rights;
  • Enhancing Labor Rights ($15/Hour Minimum Wage, Card Check, Ending Right to Work, etc.);
  • Education as a Right ( e.g, , strengthening public schools, pulling the plug on charter school proliferation, free or public colleges);
  • Suitable Housing as a Right;
  • Clean Water as a Right ( e.g. , ending municipal water shut offs, ending privatization of fresh water);
  • Student Debt Relief/Forgiveness;
  • Comprehensive Immigration Reform, e.g. , a path to citizenship for all, abolishment of ICE;
  • Abolishment of the Death Penalty;
  • Abolishment of Private Prisons and an end to mass incarceration;
  • Rejection of Corporate Donations/Super PAC Money;
  • Ending Wars, U.S. Military Intervention, and Nation-Building;
  • Paid Vacation Time, Sick Time, Family Leave, and Childcare;
  • No Selling Arms to Human-Rights Violators;
  • Extensive Police Reforms ( e.g. , special prosecutors to hold police accountable);
  • End the War on Drugs ( e.g. , amnesty for prisoners held on possession charges);
  • Justice and national freedom for Palestinians.

This list shall be provided to all candidates seeking Detroit DSA’s endorsement as part of the questionnaire discussed below.

Part II. The Endorsement Process

Section 1. The Electoral Committee

The Electoral Committee (“EC”) shall be the body of Detroit DSA tasked with the process of fact-finding and recommending eligible candidates to the Steering Committee for endorsement by the Chapter.

  1. a) Standing Committee

The Electoral Committee shall be a standing committee. This means it will meet throughout the year, though meeting frequency may vary. Meetings will generally be held in public locations that are accessible to as many Chapter members as possible.

  1. b) Committee Membership
  2. i) General Right to Participate

Any Detroit DSA member may attend Electoral Committee meetings, participate in discussions or debates, suggest races or candidates to consider endorsing, and participate in canvassing or other campaign support efforts.

  1. ii) Voting Rights

In order to obtain voting rights on the Electoral Committee (i.e., to vote for or against endorsement of particular candidates), a member must meet certain requirements. Specifically, in order to have voting rights, a member must (1) be up-to-date on DSA dues; (2) sign up for the Electoral Committee by providing their email address and phone number to one of the EC co-chairs; and (3) have attended at least two in-person meetings of the Electoral Committee in the previous 12 months. Those who complete these steps shall be deemed “Voting Members” of the Electoral Committee.

Any Chapter member who seeks to become an EC Voting Member but is unable to attend meetings of the Electoral Committee in person due to transportation, childcare, or other significant issues may request a waiver from these requirements from one of the co-chairs. Where feasible, those who receive a waiver may be required to meet their “in person” attendance requirements by participating in Electoral Committee meetings via video conference.

iii) Voting in Particular Races

In order to vote in any particular race, Voting Members must also (1) score all candidate questionnaires and (2) timely submit (either in person or online) final scores for each candidate to the Electoral Committee.

  1. c) Leadership of the Electoral Committee
  2. i) Generally

There shall be two (2) co-chairs of the Electoral Committee (the “Leadership”) serving staggered two-year terms. At least one EC co-chair must be a woman or woman-identified; at least one EC co-chair must have already participated on the Electoral Committee in a prior election year.

  1. ii) Selecting Co-Chairs

Co-chairs shall be selected via an in-person election held at the first meeting of the EC of the calendar year, the results of which shall be announced to the general membership. To vote for leadership, members need not yet be Voting Members of the EC, but must be up-to-date on their dues.

iii) Responsibilities of the Co-Chairs

Co-chairs shall be responsible for chairing EC meetings and taking/disseminating minutes on an alternating basis. They shall also be responsible for keeping track of who has voting rights on the committee, setting deadlines, scheduling votes, communicating with campaigns, maintaining contact lists, communicating with the Steering Committee, and generally ensuring that the Electoral Committee functions according to the principles and procedures set forth herein. Co-chairs shall be transparent regarding contacts and communications with campaigns.

Section 2. Voting Procedures

Unless otherwise specified herein, all votes of the Electoral Committee [on candidates] shall be held via e-mail or online survey. All Voting Members can participate, pursuant to the above guidelines, and shall be granted between 24 and 48 hours to submit votes. Late entries shall not be considered.

Section 3. Conflicts of Interest

Any member of the Electoral Committee that has a conflict of interest with respect to any candidate or campaign shall recuse themselves from any and all deliberations and voting with respect to such candidate or campaign. Conflicts of interest include, but are not limited to—

(1) familial, romantic, or other close personal ties to a candidate/campaign; and

(2) financial ties to a candidate/campaign, whether direct or indirect.

Any member who has recused themself from decision-making regarding a particular candidate/campaign shall leave the room when the Electoral Committee is discussing said candidate/campaign. A recused member shall also be removed from any email correspondence discussing said candidate/campaign, and shall not be informed of how any other individual member of the Electoral Committee voted with respect to said candidate/campaign.

Section 4. Issuing Endorsements

This section details the process by which Detroit DSA endorses candidates.

4.1) Strategy Document

Ahead of the endorsement period, EC shall produce a strategy document informing the membership of its strategy for the upcoming election cycle. The document should serve as an opportunity to assess the results of the previous election cycle(s) and present a plan for success in the upcoming election cycle. 

Some example topics for a report are listed below: 

  • Reflect on previous election(s) 
    • Has our past strategy elected politicians that DSA likes? 
    • Did our past strategy work? 
    • Is our past strategy still relevant? 
  • New strategy 
    • How many candidates can we support? 
    • Races of particular interest 
    • Results of any research efforts 
    • How will the chapter engage with the national DSA? 
  • Candidate Short List
    • Are there any candidates that we want to encourage to run?

The strategy document is not binding. It serves to inform the chapter of how EC intends to approach endorsement recommendations for the next cycle. 

4.1.1) Presentation of Strategy

Ahead of the endorsement period, the EC shall nominate a member to present the strategy at the General Membership meeting. The strategy is presented for informational purposes and is not a voting item at the General Membership meeting.

4.2) Endorsement Period

4.2.1) Overview

The endorsement period consists of a competitive period and a non-competitive period. During the competitive period all candidates are considered at once before endorsement recommendations are made. In effect, the initial applicants for endorsement are competing with each other for a chapter endorsement. All applications received ahead of the competitive endorsement application deadline are given equal consideration. 

By contrast, the non-competitive period takes place after the initial competitive applications have been considered and are considered on a rolling basis. 

In addition to the competitive and non-competitive periods, the election cycle is divided by three election milestones: 

  1. Petitions due 
  2. Primary Election 
  3. General Election 

Ahead of the petition deadline there is a competitive period followed by a non-competitive period. Following the petition deadline, there is another non-competitive period heading into the primary. Finally, there is a non-competitive period ahead of the general election. The full details of this process are described in the sections below.

4.2.2) Announcement of process

The EC shall announce the opening of the endorsement process at least 180 days ahead of the petition due date. The announcement shall list the application requirements and indicate the deadlines for competitive and non-competitive consideration. 

The deadline for competitive consideration is 150 days ahead of the petition due date. 

The deadline for General Membership approval of non-competitive applications is 90 days ahead of the petition due date. This deadline is effectively the last General Membership meeting ahead of the 90 day deadline. Candidates therefore must submit applications far enough ahead of the last General Membership meeting in order to proceed through the EC interview process and Steering Committee approvals in time for presentation to the General Membership.

4.2.3) Competitive Applications Screening

After the deadline for competitive interviews is reached, all applicants shall be considered. After an initial screening of applications to disqualify ineligible applicants (e.g. not a DSA member), the EC shall release the questionnaires to the General Membership via email. At a meeting following the release of the questionnaires, the EC shall select the candidates to move forward to the interview phase. The selection shall be made by a simple majority vote of the present eligible voting members. 

Candidates not selected for interviews shall be notified as soon as possible after the meeting. Interviews

Candidates who move to the interview phase shall receive an interview, unless a majority of EC Voting Members vote to dispense with interviews. 

Candidates eligible for interviews shall be contacted and interviews shall be scheduled as soon as practicable. Any candidate who refuses to participate in an interview shall not be eligible for a Detroit DSA endorsement. 

Interviews may be conducted during the regularly scheduled meeting time for the EC and during additional meetings as needed to accommodate the number of applicants. 

Any member of the chapter may attend the interviews and any member may ask questions of the candidates. 

For each interview, one member of the EC shall be appointed secretary and they shall be responsible for writing a summary of the candidate's responses. These summaries shall be made publicly available to the General Membership. 

Additionally, the chapter newspaper is encouraged to send attendees to provide their own reports on the interviews. Endorsements

  1. Electoral Committee Voting Phase 

Upon the completion of the final interview, the EC shall select the candidates to recommend for endorsement by simple majority vote of eligible voting members. 

Candidates not recommended for endorsement shall be notified as soon as possible after the meeting. 

  1. Steering Committee Phase 

All candidates recommended by the EC shall be presented to the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will consider the nominations and will vote upon which candidates, if any, to endorse, taking into account the principles set forth herein and the Chapter’s available resources. The Steering Committee may also decide to offer messages of support short of endorsement to good progressive candidates whose races are not selected. A two-thirds majority of the Steering Committee in favor of a candidate is required in order to send the decision to the general membership for approval. 

  1. Ratification by the General Membership Phase 
  2. Candidates approved by the Steering Committee shall be presented to the General Membership for approval. Candidates shall receive the endorsement of MDDSA if they receive a majority vote of the members present and voting at the General Membership meeting. Candidates shall be notified of the General Membership voting results as soon as possible after the General Membership meeting. 

4.2.4) Non-Competitive Applications Application Period

The non-competitive period begins upon the completion of the competitive phase and ends 90 days before the next election milestone. The 90 day deadline can be waived for the primary and general election milestones with a majority vote of present, eligible EC members. 

The non-competitive process follows the same process as the competitive process except voting to recommend a candidate can occur immediately after the candidate interview. 

4.3) Timeline

In the timeline below A refers to the date that initial endorsement decisions are made.  The exact date can vary so long as it is between the competitive application deadline and the endorsement deadline.

Days Before Milestone



Announce endorsement process


Deadline for competitive consideration


Competitive Interviews


Initial endorsement decisions


non-competitive interviews


General Membership Endorsement deadline


Petitions due




General Membership Endorsement deadline


Primary Election




General Membership Endorsement deadline


General Election