Friday, November 21, 2008

Can we please stand for something?

In a conversation last night about the upcoming Elections Director election on February 3rd, I made the mistake of bringing up the platform of the King County Democrats as being important for getting the support of the County machine. I was told "the platform doesn't matter, we just have to win this one."

I'm tired of the Democratic Party being considered by people on the inside and the outside as being an electoral machine. Just throw them a bone now and then, and let them do the work of the campaign season.

Here's that bone back. BONK!

Winning elections is a positive result of effective organizing. Organizing people for a political campaign requires that the people working on that campaign know what the candidate stands for, and supports their vision strong enough to distract them from their lives enough to help with an election. The alternative, which seems to have been the standard for the last 20 years, is to get lots of money and hire people who know enough about election machines to win the election. Oh, and who can come up with some bones every now and again.

I'm tired of those kinds of candidates winning elections and pushing legislation and executive decisions that make me want to scream.

When filing is over on December 12th, I hope that the King County Dems will organize a candidate forum, inviting every single candidate. The first part of the event should be a presentation of what the party platform says about elections, as it applies to this new King County Elections Director. Then we hear from the candidates, and find out what they stand for. Then we open it up to questions from people who want to join a campaign that stands for what they want. Then we build the campaigns of the candidate that we support, and at the reorganization meetings we hold endorsements votes. Then we build the campaign some more.

Then we win.


Daniel Kirkdorffer said...

I agree with you. If the candidate matches the platform, then we should rally behind that candidate.

Christal Wood, J.D. said...

You're scaring me a bit, Chad, if, in fact, this was a meeting of a Democratic Party group trying to win the Elections Director position. As I'm sure you are aware, at the same time the position was made an elected position, it was also made non-partisan by another ballot measure. Although, it's a fine line between endorsement and running as a party candidate, the Director of Elections, of all positions, should not be a major party vehicle to achieve any agenda whatsoever (beyond clean and fair elections), in my view.

Chad Lupkes said...

this was a conversation in a bar, Christal. The position of the Democratic Party on this election is the same as any other election. We have our principles and our platform, and that is what we will advocate for. And that platform says that clean and fair elections are a priority. So does the Republican platform in it's own way, but it wants to actively limit the right to vote.

Do you seriously believe that anyone who runs for this position is going to ignore the political parties? Do you seriously believe that anyone who claims to do so has a chance of getting enough votes in this plurality election to win?

Campaigns require both message and infrastructure to win. Nothing in this country has ever been, nor ever will be, non-partisan, except in relation to the ballot and whether the people hold candidates and elected officials accountable to the idea that they serve the needs of all the people, not just a single party.

What would a candidate from the Progressive Party stand for? Are the Progs going to endorse in this race? Should they? I think so. They have as much right to put their voices and platform planks in the game as anyone else.

R.Austin Sr. said...

As a lifelong Democrat, I have seen the Party move way to the right. Hell, most lawmakers run from the word “liberal”.

Liberals, as you might remember, are the ones that enacted New Deal legislation and several decades later Great Society programs.

Where would we be were it not for those “liberal” policies?

The trouble with New Age Democrats is that they compromise before demanding economic and social justice. Each compromise lowers the bar, and the next compromise begins at a point lower than the last compromise. It’s a race to the bottom.

It is na├»ve to think that there really is such a thing as a non-partisan office holder. Oh sure, the office may have been designated non-partisan, but those who are elected bring their partisan predilections with them. I want progressive “non-partisan” office holders. The Party Platform, therefore, is very relevant.

Here’s a bit of history: Who do you think invented the notion that platforms are meaningless? If you guessed lawmakers, give yourself an “A”. Sadly, that urban/rural myth has caught on, and is being repeated by the ideologically-challenged.

The reason platforms are ignored is because vox populi lets politicians get away with it! Hey folks, during the past three decades the living standards of the working class have stagnated at best, while the wealthy fraction in our society has amassed greater wealth. In the 90s, 1% of the population owned 18% of the wealth. Now that same 1% owns 40% of the wealth! What a price we pay for acquiescing !!!!

When elected officials give us the old single digit salute, why make excuses for them? “Platforms are meaningless” is code for “let’s not hold anyone accountable”.

America suffers from battered person syndrome. We keep re-electing our tormentors and then turn around and blame ourselves for the abuse we receive. We have forgotten that we own the seats in Congress that we allow certain people to occupy.

Hopefully, one of these days we’ll wise up and agree on a platform with just five or ten demands, instead of the hundreds that are routinely ignored by the people we elect.

Spaghetti farming in Republic, or possum shearing in Yakima, or two-way sidewalks in Alger, or including salmon in the smoking ban in Seattle might be important to some folks, but do they belong in a platform? We cannot be all things to all people all at once.

We need to pare down our platforms to peace and pork chop issues, and then demand action from office holders.

Oh, and we need to find out if a candidate for any office is a progressive.
(Sometimes I cringe at the word “progressive”. It has been co-opted and watered down so much and has lost its original meaning for most people. Here’s a hint at what a true progressive is: A person who DEMANDS peace, and social and economic justice for ALL!)