Updated November 2020
How to write an endorsement letter
In politics, letters of endorsement, whether published in the newspaper or shared online, are important tools for political action -- but a lot of us feel uncomfortable writing them. Here's a strategy I use to make the process easier for you and more useful to your readers: The Position-Rationale-Proof Strategy(c).
Planning your endorsement
Pre-writing helps us get our thoughts down quickly.
- Start with your POSITION: the most important thing your reader should know. Make it a complete sentence.
- Work across to the RATIONALE and PROOF sections. These can be bullet point-type notes or placeholders.
Writing an endorsement letter for a political candidate
Once you've sketched out the ideas and details, it's time to start drafting.
Begin with your POSITION. Kicking your piece off with your opinion or recommendation makes it clear and ensures people get the message even if they don't end up reading your whole piece.
Work across each RATIONALE and PROOF. HOWs. For short pieces, like letters to the editor, each row may be a only sentence or two. For longer endorsements -- say an opinion essay or a Facebook, Linkedin or Instagram post, each RATIONALE or PROOF could to be its own paragraph.
Pro Tip: Get everything down in the order you have it on the organizer, then go back through and re-order it if necessary so your recommendation starts strong and leads to a logical conclusion and call to action.
Here's an example:
It’s vital that we vote our values, so I’ll be voting for Barbara Middleton Foushee for alderman this Fall. Barbara is an effective advocate for social justice, voting rights, acceptance, economic opportunity and gender and racial equity. She also devotes a significant amount of time and effort working in the community through the First Baptist Church’s Community Awareness and Political Action Ministry, and as a mentor for K-12 and college students. Her experience on several town and county committees, including the OWASA and Carrboro Human Services boards, means she understands how local government works – and doesn’t . She can hit the ground running on day one of her term. I especially appreciate Barbara’s thoughtful leadership. She seeks out new ideas and different perspectives, weighs the alternatives, considers possible outcomes and develops reasonable positions. She’s approachable and engaged, and genuinely committed to governing well. Please join me in voting for Barbara Foushee for Alderman.
Remember, your personal reasons for supporting a candidate for office will resonate with other people in your sphere of influence and beyond. But only if you share your views.
Bonus: The Position-Rationale-Proof is also a great tool for writing an introduction for a candidate or crafting a candidate statement to use on the web or at forums and other events.