Victory Fund Intervention in Palm Springs Elections

     The national Victory Fund organization exists to place LGBT individuals into elective office. In most instances those efforts are directed towards communities lacking an LGBT presence in governmental affairs. Palm Springs is a fully mature LGBT political community and one that does not need Victory Fund support. Victory Fund’s choice to select and endorse LGBT candidates for local elective office represents interference and the use of their “prestige” to achieve the political coronation equivalent for their chosen candidates.

Victory Fund Intervention in Palm Springs Elections

          The LGBT political community in Palm Springs is one that’s fully mature. It plays a significant role in the economic, social and political activities of the city. There are no LGBT underdog candidates seeking to break some barrier and achieve political office. In fact the opposite happens to be the case. That’s part of the reason why political endorsements from outside political groups, such as the Victory Fund, are seen by some as more a case of interference than welcome participation.

          The Palm Springs area has evolved into a very progressive community. It boasts a large and politically dominant LGBT populace who exercise significant control over the city’s social and governmental activities. Since 2003 the city’s mayor has been an LGBT individual. That’s also been the case with the LGBT city council majority. It’s arguably believed the LGBT community also dominates the 39 organized neighborhood communities. LGBT representatives populate most, if not all, city boards and commissions. The equality sought by LGBT residents appears to have been fully achieved in Palm Springs for it’s clearly a community in which they’ve become the principle political players.

          A majority of the city’s registered voters are members of the Democratic party but there is no regular Democratic political club. That role is played by the Desert Stonewall Democrats, an organization that seeks and primarily endorses LGBT candidates for political office. These factors contribute towards Palm Springs LGBT populace lack of need to seek greater rights for their community. The political dominance they exercise ensures little remains except to fight among themselves over the political spoils. That’s an activity they do well and the current race for mayor and city council members in Palm Springs will be no exception. The candidates seeking a replacement for the outgoing incumbents include many qualified LGBT candidates. All are experienced individuals who are expected to work hard at making the choice for voters one that is informed and in the best interests of the community.

          The Victory Fund is an IRS 501(c)(3) approved charitable organization that has managed to successfully navigate those rules while endorsing and providing campaign support for LGBT political candidates “of their choice”. In other areas they usually provide support for what some would consider the LGBT underdog candidate seeking election in an area without LGBT representation. Palm Springs is not a community well-suited to their mission for it’s a community in which LGBT election successes have been phenomenal. The value of a Victory Fund endorsement in Palm Springs is not in the leadership training, campaign advice and support for those seeking elective office. The “prestige” of the Victory Fund name is the one prized by local LGBT politicians. And that “prestigious” endorsement has already been conferred on local candidates of their choice. It was done before the local candidate filing date had closed and the Victory Fund did not consider nor interview other candidates. Their endorsement, in the eyes of some, seems to be a deliberate failure to foster equality and, if anything, represents both interference and an attempted political coronation.

          The Victory Fund‘s entry into the Palm Springs electoral race appears little different than if performed by the Democratic or Republican parties – or a well-heeled outside financial supporter. The endorsements of these groups matter greatly to their supporters and also to trusting and otherwise uninformed voters. The Victory Fund either ignores or does not understand that the Palm Springs community is probably least in need of their services. In the future it might serve them better if they first assessed the political realities that exist in the communities they view in need of their support. Their decision to support may not be in the best interests of the LGBT movement. That’s certainly the case with respect to the Palm Springs elections. They simply aren’t needed here and their endorsement presence amounts to little more than unwanted interference in what otherwise is a local election for mayor and city council members.

Bond Shands
August 20, 2015
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Twitter – @BondShands

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