Yesterday, Tim Johnson announced his retirement.
Now a group of Democrats, including several county party chairs, has launched a website to attempt to “draft” Brendan Johnson to run for office.
I put draft in quotation marks because Brendan Johnson is clearly already considering running. (The uncertainty is over how aggressively he is considering running and preparing a run.) This draft movement may be authentic grassroots and it may be an orchestrated “astroturf” maneuver, but either way, the results of this drive will have little to do with Brendan Johnson’s actual decision to run or not run.
Remember last year there was a “draft” movement for Matt Varilek, months after rumors surfaced that he was considering running.
There’s nothing wrong with doing this, but it is a little disingenuous. A draft movement lets a candidate pretend to be responding to the calls of the people rather than pursuing his or her own ambition. Orchestrating draft movements is a time-honored, bipartisan political tradition in the United States.
There are also such things as genuine candidate draft movements.
My rule of thumb: you can judge the authenticity of a draft movement by its success.
If the candidate being drafted ends up running, he or she was probably already planning on running. If the candidate doesn’t end up running, it’s probably a sign he or she was never on board with the idea.