Joseph R. Biden Jr. is a happy man today.
He received a ringing endorsement from a powerful South Carolina politician who said Biden is the best among the Democratic contenders running for president of the United States.
Rep. James Clyburn, a fellow Democrat, is all in with the former vice president. But I have to ask: Will it really matter?
Clyburn is the senior African American member of Congress. He is a fine fellow, from what I have been able to hear. He packs plenty of clout. It remains unclear to me whether his endorsement of Joe Biden is going to persuade South Carolina Democrats, who appear to be drifting toward Sen. Bernie Sanders in the late stages of the state’s primary campaign, to change their minds.
Which brings me to a significant point. Do endorsements of any nature really bring along votes?
There once was a time when voters waited to read what their local newspaper editorial boards thought about a campaign. They waited to see who the newspaper would endorse. They were motivated for two reasons. They either followed the newspaper’s advice, or — and this is for real — they cast their vote against the candidate the newspaper favored.
These days, with a plethora of information flooding us constantly, 24/7, nonstop, unrelentingly, many voters no longer look to those learned editors’ world views. They make up their minds, seemingly based on the views thrown at them by TV and radio blowhards.
It is becoming an exercise in futility for many politicians and others who get paid to offer their opinions on issues of the day and the candidates who are their champions.
The Dallas Morning News this year has announced it won’t endorse anyone for president. The paper’s editorial board didn’t say it, but my sense is that there is a possible back story borne of frustration that the newspaper would have little impact on its readers’ political leanings. So, why bother? The DMN instead is going to concentrate on the issues it deems critical to the voters and to the candidates who are seeking voters’ support.
I trust that Joe Biden will take James Clyburn’s endorsement seriously. He will ascribe high motivation behind it. Perhaps it’s merited. I will wait along with many other Americans to see if it translates into actual votes in a key primary state that propel the former VP back to front runner status.