Saturday, November 13, 2004

Going Local, Making Choices, Waiting to See 

The local county Dems are divided. In one, the chair came out and said in public that the party was going to have to “make some changes” and “do some soul-searching” in light of the overwhelming desire on the part of voters for a “moral values” platform. In another county, the Dem chair is pointing to the Salazar-Salazar victory as a model, which a friend of mine shows me is hitting the SCLM radar:

In a year when Republicans strengthened their grip on Congress and Bush decisively won a second term, the Salazar brothers offer a blueprint for Democrats desperate to make inroads in the nation's midsection.

The two got elected in a Republican-leaning state by playing up traditional values, faith and rural heritage while hammering home a populist message that included bashing tax cuts for the rich. Getting a boost from fellow Hispanics didn't hurt, either.
via Colorado May Be Blueprint for Democrats

I just love the “decisively won” line. I thought it was a “man date”? Anyway, the counties that elected John Salazar to the house are now thinking that the approach to take for the midterms and ’08 (assuming that Bush makes it through this term—i.e., doesn’t go to prison) is to appeal to this “populist” theme, including a good dash of Liberal Christianity and a generous shot of waffling on the hot-button issues (abortion, gay marriage, war on drugs, etc.).

Various members of the RDF conspiracy have pointed out to their locals that this didn’t win Colorado for Kerry. They also point to the fact that it was the youth vote that can claim a lot of credit for getting Salazar and Salazar elected, and among the kids faith and values were not the issue. I pointed out to our own local that the whole “moral values” issue as the deciding factor in the election was a load of crap—I pointed out that the polling techniques used to show this great concern for “moral values” were for shit and that the real issues were, after all, iWaq and the economy, stupid. I also pointed out that nobody is doing anything to make sure that all the votes are counted, and that the election process is so FUBAR that New Mexico hasn’t even called the election, which is now so close that the provisional ballots could decide it. (Ditto the Washington State gov race.) And in one county I know of (I posted on this earlier) the county clerk tossed the provisionals she didn’t like before there was even a watcher at the canvassing board. Ohio and Florida? Don’t get me started.

The answer? “We don’t want to seem like whiners. Nobody really believes Bush stole the election. Let’s just put it behind us and look to the future.”

Ahh, the future… I hear that there are now kids—well, kids to me—coming to the party meetings and raising hell. These are the ones who voted Dean and Kucinich in the primaries but then busted their asses for Kerry anyway. And they want a genuinely Liberal party—one that doesn’t hesitate to get in the faces of the GOPers. They want every vote counted. They want real election reform. And they’ve already proven that they can bust their asses in GOTV efforts. They want to be heard. I think they’re mostly getting blown off by the Old Guard, but carefully, because they need them for GOTV. It’s like, “okay, you let us handle the platform and the focus of the campaigns, and you just GOTV for us.”

I have only gone to the one official county meeting, and the party here is not as flush with youth as other locals—we’re REALLY rural—but I trust what I hear from my new friends around the area.

Me, I’m torn. On the one hand, I want to do whatever is necessary to win. If that means joining the party, compromising on issues to appeal to the center, part of me says, “okay, win, get in power, and then fight.”

Part of me says, no, stick with the issues that made you join the Greens to begin with. No compromise, no quarter to the Dems who are “desperate to make inroads in the nation's midsection.” Instead, a firm punch in the nation’s midsection is called for.

But then, the Old Guard can point to Salazar and Salazar and say, see? We told you so.

A lot of my decision-making in the near future is going to depend on what the Dems we did send to DC actually do. If they show a strong custodial relationship with their nads, then maybe I can see working with the party to just win, whatever I have to swallow.

If they cave to the GOPers—on Gonzales, e.g.—then I will be more likely to play my old game, and push for the Dems who are closest to the Green Party platform, and GOTV for whoever ends up on the ticket.

I’m sure there are others who are similarly torn, and others who are seeing what’s happening in their locals better than I. N’est-ce pas? I only know what I hear from my friends and the evidence of my own eyes. Right now I'm still catching up on chores that went undone in the whirlwind before the election.

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