The Winning Strategy for Willie Reynolds: Racking Up Bethlehem Counter-Establishment Endorsements

The Bob Donchez strategy in the Democratic primary for Bethlehem Mayor is going to be to create an air of inevitability around his candidacy. The best course of action for him is to line up as many capital-E Establishment players behind him as he can from the politics, business and philanthropy set. And since a big part of the endorsement game for the endorsers is about placing bets on who they think will win, not just who they want to win, Mr. Donchez is going to have an advantage attracting establishment support since the conventional wisdom is that he’s the frontrunner.

The task for Willie Reynolds then, is to turn the Establishment support into a liability for Mr. Donchez by locking down a bunch of endorsements from the counter-establishment. Andy Po’s endorsement is a good example. Andy represents a business that is respected by young people, and he has built up a lot of good will with the parents of skateboarders who patronize his store, and participate in the good clean fun events and activities he organizes. It matters that he is publicly supporting Willie for idealistic reasons.

Willie needs more endorsements from young business owners and go-getters. If he can earn the public support of people like Jaime Karpovich and the VegFest organizers, the young women business owners who run Eskandalo!, Loose Threads, Vegan Treats, Apotheca, Shuze, and other downtown shops, Chris Morales of Easy Weenies cart fame (maybe a cross-endorsement deal could be arranged for Chris’s City Council race?), and organizers with the Bethlehem Food Co-op, then he will be able to create a nice contrast. It will clarify that this is a race between an old-money coalition of establishment blue bloods, and an emerging coalition of young strivers, entrepreneurs, and idealists.

The Bethlehem electorate has proven responsive to this kind of pitch before, from Don Cunningham and John Callahan. People like young idealistic Mayors who affirm voters’ own optimism about their city and its future. But they need cues besides party labels in primaries, and endorsements fill that informational void. If Willie can show he has the support of New Bethlehem, he has a chance to overcome the inevitability strategy Bob Donchez will try to employ.


  1. You honestly think Cunningham and Callahan were “counter-establishment” candidates?

    I’d love to smoke what you’re smoking.

  2. Check your reading comprehension. I don’t say that they were counterestablishment candidates, I say they were idealistic young politicians.

  3. The title of this post was about counter-establishment. Then you said, “The Bethlehem electorate has proven responsive to this kind of pitch before, from Don Cunningham and John Callahan.”

    Cunningham and Callahan did exactly what Donchez is doing. They weren’t counter-establishment at all.

    So you really want Reynolds to do the opposite of what Cunningham and Callahan did, not the same.

    My comprehension is fine, you just hate that I read what you write and point out the errors, inconsistencies and bald-faced lies.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      The pitch from Callahan and Cunningham was that they would bring a young and fresh perspective to city governance. That is the same pitch that Willie would be making if he followed my advice and hitched his wagon to symbols of Bethlehem’s emerging young leaders.

      • Well, you were 15 (or younger) when they ran, so I guess you not remembering too well is understandable.

        Cunningham and Callahan did not run as counter-establishment candidates. Not at all.

        And that’s ok Jon. You’re outlining a path Reynolds can take here that has merit and could work. But please stop making shit up to try to solidify your case, that makes you look weak and ineffective.

        • Jon Geeting says:

          The narrow point I’m making is that people have been receptive to young idealistic Mayoral candidates in the past. I’m not arguing that Callahan and Cunningham ran as counter-establishment candidates. Only that the way to communicate to voters that you are the idealist candidate in 2013 is to surround yourself with symbols of the growing counter-establishment.

          • Nice try.

            This is a good potential approach you’re outlining. Doesn’t change the fact that neither Cunningham nor Callahan followed this because at the time they ran there wasn’t near enough voters in the block you’re targeting. Now there may be.

            If they had run as ‘young idealistic’ candidates that would have gotten stomped.


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