Yeah, I think so too. And Hillary's supporters (of which I am one) are not going to let go of the FL/MI issue without one hell of a fight.
What happens if one of the parties starts telling folks they can't vote in the general election because of some technicality? This is people's right to vote we're talking about, not their privilege - a fact the Obamites seem to conveniently forget when it suits them.
(And it burns me up how many of them are just fine with this disenfranchisement. If the high heel were on the other foot - with Hillary blocking a revote - they'd be threatening riots in the streets.)
Your comments are a real shot in the arm to people out here working our asses off in red states.
I don't think the average Massachusetts Democrat would last five minutes working in politics in the South. We're out here fighting like hell to stop the Republicans from illegalizing abortion in cases of rape, incest and life of the mother (while Pennsylvania Democrats get a total pass on Casey, I might add); from outlawing homosexuality, period; and from making Bible study in school mandatory.
Must be nice to be able to cruise to victory on progressive social issues, all the while enjoying beaucoup support from the national Democratic Party. Until Dean came along, the national Democratic Party didn't have the phone number of any state Democratic offices south of the Mason Dixon, save Florida.
All you northern Democrats who know best what issues ought to play down here are welcome to come down here and try. We could use the help, and it'd be a lot more productive than the constant condescension that's coming out of many so-called Democratic websites these days.
You guys don't have much idea what's really happening on the ground in the South. Democrats down here are running against the national Party in droves, it's true, and it's because the national Party has totally abandoned the South for years.
Case in point. Gore himself didn't campaign in the South, including his own state. He did one appearance a couple days before the election. Meanwhile: no signs, no TV ads, nothing. Kerry did scratch in any Southern states, even after naming Harold Ford as one of his national campaign cochairs. What's worse, the DNC aggressively fundraised via phonebanks those two cycles and took all the money out of state, so we couldn't even raise any ourselves to buy yard signs, radio ads or what have you. They've pretty well issued a gigantic 'screw you' to any Democrat who's asked them for help on anything, until the Dean administration anyway.
Meanwhile, the Republicans pour money in here like water. Bush is here constantly, so's Cheney, and they have been for the last few years. Frist and company, who have more money than God, have bought a few radio talk show hosts and so on in order the propagate the message. So, the Republicans have succeeded at demonizing Democrats and progressive issues, the national Dems offer no support - what would you do, as a candidate trying to win on the ground?
Meanwhile, the actual Swift Boat guys - remember them? Are on the ground in Tennessee and in great numbers. Rove himself has set up camp in Nashville. I suppose you think Harold Ford ought to run out and embrace John Kerry in the middle of downtown. I'm sure that wouldn't result in even more ads like the despicable 'Call Me' ad...lest you've forgotten, the 101st Airborne is based in Tennessee and there's plenty of hay to be made out of Iraq-related issues.
I sure hope your moral high ground brings you great comfort in 2008, while you're trying to figure out how to win the Presidency without any Southern states save Florida. Good luck.
Um, you may not know, since it's not mentioned in the above-referenced article, but Sen. Kurita's district includes Fort Campbell, based in Clarksville, TN - otherwise known as the home of the 101st Airborne, which so far has suffered a huge number of casualties due to the Iraq war. I live in Nashville, just down the road from Clarksville...we read these obituaries daily. Sen. Kurita has been in office for a decade representing the soldiers and I hope she makes that issue a central point of her campaign.
She is just awesome. Her website talks about pro-choice and environmental issues...most political so-called leaders in Tennessee don't have the guts to take on these issues and take a stand on them, preferring instead to run as false Republicans. We have only a handful of women elected to the state legislature here and we've never had a woman Senator or Governor.
I don't see how Ford can win given the awful publicity his campaign is receiving locally from the corruption scandal involving his uncle. It's too bad and it's not his fault, but he hasn't done the legwork to build a statewide coalition in Tennessee.
I'm going to work for Senator Kurita! Send her a couple of dollars if you can...there's still hope to build a Democratic base in Tennessee.
will get support from the DNC, but he'll have a hard time pulling it off in TN. Partly the race issue, which he could overcome if he were to swing hard to the right on issues, but also because he's widely perceived as, well, lazy. He didn't do squat for Kerry in TN, despite being one of the national cochairs of the campaign.
He delivered votes in Memphis, but not past the 2000 numbers and the Memphis organization was widely considered to be disorganized.
I'm in TN also, and I don't think there's any way in hell Harold Ford can win.
For one thing, Governor Bredesen is running the TN Democratic Party right now - and he's facing a re-election in '06. A lot of how this goes forward will be determined by what each of them figures the other can do for him in the next couple of cycles.
Ford won't lose TN because he's black. It's because he's perceived as a.) lazy and b.) a self-promoter. He's really shameless about not helping anyone who can't help him (see other comments above.) He didn't do squat for Kerry in the primary in TN, despite being on Kerry's national steering committee. He didn't deliver the high vote totals that were promised in Memphis for Kerry, either.
The TN Democratic Party is in decent shape, as state parties go, but there are still a lot of attitudes in TN in need of adjustment. The Republicans are doing a lot to promote high-profile women - all the Dems have to offer here is a bunch of Democratic womens' groups that host tea parties and fashion shows. I'm told there's a new PAC starting up to promote pro choice women Dems and I hope it does well.
Anyway. Ford will get support from the national party but he won't get it from within the state. The only way he'll win this is for Bredesen to burn up a lot of political capital for him, but Bredesen has totally alienated a lot of the Dem base - he rammed through a workmans' comp bill that infuriated the unions and now he's trying to dismantle TennCare, which is a statewide health care program set up by Bill Clinton and Ned McWherter, and to do it he's going to throw 400,000 people on the street in TN without health care.
He's got more money than brains, so he probably thinks he can buy himself some volunteers for his re-election...and he'd better, since not many Dems I know plan to do much work for him.
Second, regional pride. Despite the changing demographics, I believe the south still contains a strong measure of regional identity and that this feeling is reflected in voting behavior.
I think this is true, but I also think y'all are ignoring a massive issue: the urban vs. rural vote in the South.
Look at TN. About a third of the voters in the state - a million or so - are in Nashville and Memphis, both of which went for Kerry by ten points. The exurbs, however, and the rest of the state went red by such a margin that Bush won by 13 points.
So. What you're dealing with is a situation where you already have a certain natural Democratic base that's strongly still there, but you've got to find a way to reach those rural folks, and that's where the 'regional identity' is strongest.
You're right that you're going to have to have a conservative candidate to do it, and that it doesn't matter one whit whether that person is a Southerner.
There are two or three major issues that hamstring us on the rural vote every time.
1.) Guns. The NRA pours money in here and runs ads in small papers and puts up billboards with pictures of John Kerry dressed up as a French poodle, and manipulates Congressional votes to take away MAC-10s on city streets to say that Democrats want to take guns away from rural hunters. It's not like the DNC would have to work very hard to combat this - since in this election they did 100% of nothing to even counter it. They think the way to win elections is to hire high-priced consultants, so it would never occur to them to listen to anybody about what's happening at the micro level.
2.) Pro-choice. Remember many rural Southerners are very, very church-based. I don't know how religious many of them are, since lots of people mouth the doctrine, don't really believe it, and yet go to church every Sunday because that's where their small town life is centered. They vote Republican because all their friends do. It's about that simple. There are some people who really think abortion is baby-killing, but there are plenty more who think it's something they'd really rather not legislate.
3.) Culture war. There's a lot of big-city resentment amongst small town folks. They think big city people think they're stupid and incompetent, so they may be inclined to vote against anyone even vaguely associated with California or the East Coast. This might be used against Republicans in the future, since we all know they talk folksy and then walk fat-cat.
You know, honestly it's amusing to me that Matt and Jerome are SO angry over being thrown out of one meeting, because believe me, it gets worse.
You might want to look into people out in the states being actual constituency leaders for the Kerry campaign (LGBT, Pacific Americans, Women for Kerry, etc.), and being treated like so many people off the street at the Boston convention. Basically, if you weren't from Ohio, Michigan or Florida during this campaign, you weren't much. Which is not exactly the attitude you want to inspire amongst your grassroots.
The folks who are talking about how much of this game is showing up are exactly right. I mean this respectfully, really I do, but...you just don't get it. In most of the states, the issue isn't taking power away from the people who have it, it's motivating 25 or 100 or 200 volunteers to show up and help you stuff envelopes and go door to door. Most party-building and campaign work isn't glamorous and exciting - it's hideously difficult drudgery, which is what makes a lot of this so hard. See the post above where I mentioned that a great (and I mean GREAT) many people in the Democratic Party show up when it's time to take credit and to look nice on TV, but are they there day after day when it's time to do the drudge work? What do you think?
Another thing that'll break your heart is how many public officials run as Democrats, and then turn around and run away from Presidential or statewide candidates they think will cost them political capital. Our Democratic Governor in one Southern state gave interviews to the newspaper in the state Capital talking about how Kerry wouldn't win. Not nice, given that hundreds of unpaid volunteers were working their asses off at the time trying to help Kerry...some of the same volunteers who had worked their hearts out trying to elect said Governor. Talk about a slap in the face.
>Why didn't they kick out the people who don't have blogs? I mean really, what the fuck is somebody doing running a state Democratic party without a blog? Those are the people who should get the fuck out of the room. Those are the people who are holding back the Party. Those are the people who aren't taking advantage of every opportunity. Those are the people who are too scared of change to cash in online. Throw them out of the room, the Democratic Party will be far better off.
And who's going to take their place? How many people 50 or older do you think know how to run an Internet blog? How many people would post on it, even if you wrote them step by step directions on how to do it? Not many of them, and I know because I tried. Hard.
> I don't give 2 shits about my "credibility" with the party establishment. They've "established" themselves most firmly as losers, and unless you want one party control of the USA for the forseeable future, the party needs a housecleaning.
> Yes, the party IS too far removed from the people it's supposed to represent. The party leaders don't know how to organize, they don't know how to raise their visibility, they don't know how to reach out to potential activists - and they don't know how to win.
> by Toadvine on Sun Dec 12th, 2004 at 01:15:21 PM EST
You guys don't seem to understand how hard the Party establishment will fight you if they think you stand a real chance at taking power away from them.
Everything that happens within the Party is governed by a set of bylaws, either at the local, state or National level. This is done for a number of reasons: to prevent power grabs, sure, but also to prevent power grabs by people who talk big and then fail to deliver (this is a lot more prevalent than you might expect.)
Mostly our problem is apathy on the part of the public. Privately? I think this loss may be the best thing that ever happened to the Democratic Party, because it's going to get some people who should have been working all along off of their asses. Too bad a bunch more kids are going to get killed in Iraq before some of this gets turned around.
This would of course be a direct violation of Article 9, Sect. 12 of the DNC Charter (pdf) which mandates that:
All meetings of the Democratic National Committee, the Executive Committee, and all other official Party committees, commissions and bodies shall be open to the public, and votes shall not be taken by secret ballot.
Of course, Article 10, Sect. 3 of the Charter requires this to apply to all Democratic Party bodies.
Please post your ideas for extracting accountability in the comments. Please post contact information including email addresses and direct extensions in the comments. Please recommend and please stand up for Armstrong, Stoller and Trippi.
I would bet some amount of money that ol' Warm has never been to a DNC meeting, or s/he would know there's a massive difference between a DNC meeting and a meeting of the Association of State Chairs. Competely different bylaws and intent of the meetings.
I understand you guys really want to help, but it doesn't help your credibility with established members of the Democratic Party when you say things like:
The frustrating thing for me is, I have no idea who my DNC representative is. Do I have one? Is s/he accountable to anybody? How did s/he get such a position? How can I get ahold of her?
Just like the federal government, the national parties are too far removed from the people they're supposed to represent, and they're far too susceptible to corruption.
You know what? If you think you can do a better job, get in there and try. I'm completely serious. But I don't think you exhibit that you know much about this topic at all when you can't do a simple Google search for DNC members - and that's only if your own state's Party is too weak to have those folks listed on its website.
I think the discussion on this blog is above and beyond what's happening lots of other places, which is why I'm bothering to post this (usually conversations on blogs can devolve into pointless flamewars fairly quickly). But I think you need to know what you're up against if you're going to help build state party grassroots.
1.) You're absolutely right when you say states need to raise money to be competitive. Most state parties are so cash-strapped they can't hire many people, and the folks they can afford to hire are young people without much experience.
So, you wind up spending all your time raising money, which gets you nothing but criticism from folks out in your communities, who don't see the big picture and think you're a bunch of sellouts.
2.) The people you're relying on to do most of your work are unpaid volunteers. That's right. People who have jobs and lives and other things to think about, and who do this work out of the goodness of their hearts. Now, these people are treated like crap by the Party insiders who take all the goodies for themselves (anything like acclamation or credit will go to the people who like to take credit, but not do the work, and there are tons of these people at every level of the Party in every state of the Union.)
You're going to have to do things like organize local Republican business boycotts and letter drives to newspapers. Since that work isn't very glamorous, a lot of people don't want to do it - but it badly needs doing, and would provide an opportunity for someone who did want to do it to create lasting change.
Honestly, I have no idea what the national Party can do to help, given that they don't show much interest at all in what the rank and file is up to, and they only really interact with the top handful of people in each state (people who, in many cases, work harder at self-promotion than they do at Party promotion). They really need to spend more time out in the states, and maybe they'd learn what to do to appeal to people out here.
people didn't give money because they'd already given to the DNC. The states got no share of the money nor any accounting as to how it was spent. The DNC raised $192 MILLION out of California. Know how much they got back to help with local races? $0.
I've been told that the DNC used to give the states money and stopped several years ago. Power has ended up in Washington and in the hands of a cadre of consultants
This is the best thing I've read on a blog lately. I'm in a Southern state that could have won if the campaign had spent any money here at all, and if it weren't so busy emptying the pockets of our local folks so we couldn't raise money here - on top of the fact that they wouldn't send us so much as a yard sign.
It drives me crazy how everyone is going bananas blaming the South for Kerry's failure, when - my God - they did NOTHING in the vast majority of the region.