The inside scoop from the SD Democratic Convention and the implications


I posted my piece from the SD Democratic Party blog on Daily Kos today, but I gotta' say, the convention was more than just rhetoric.  I'm posting my opinion on what I saw at the convention for those interested in the condition of State Parties (in this case, South Dakota). 18545/7068

So, most of this is true. I did really enjoy myself at the convention (I'm actually a temporary staffer so I worked the convention too).  However, there was trouble in the party.  The most excitement happened during the 2nd day.   Most of the platform was rubberstamped (we had some new things moving towards the right in economics but that's to be expected) by the convention delegates.  

The real trouble came during the adoption of the "Unity Resolution" authored by Jack Billion, Eric Abrahamson, Rep. Stephanie Herseth, and Senator Tim Johnson.  Essentially, it said that we were willing to tolerate different views and recognized that the local Democratic Party was willing to work on issues that united us.

However, many pro-life and pro-choice democratic delegates finally felt the need to speak out.  Angrily, advocate after advocate, they demanded a resolution to take a position on the abortion issue. In fact, they suspended the rules and offered a replacement resolution of the "Unity Resolution" that took a pro-choice position.   Now, while many of my progressive compatriots might not think this too bad, remember where I live, South Dakota.  

Surprisingly, despite the negative press, South Dakotans are already forgiving Governor Rounds about H.B. 1215 (outlaws abortions).  In the end, the convention ended with the chair and peers making deals with delegates to force a withdrawl of the new resolution and adopt the "Unity Resolution" for the sake of the candidates themselves.  

Eventually it worked and we adopted the unity resolution with the hardcore believers (of both sides) refusing to vote.  It passed with no resistance.  Was this a good experience? Did the delegates need a place to vent? Or is this just the tip of the iceburg?

I know it seems paranoid, but I can attest that there are MANY passionate members on either side of the issue.   Sadly, the republican's wedge issue (H.B. 1215) is even working on the democrats (even at our own state convention)!  

What can be done?  I can't help but think that the SD Dem party is more trouble than initially thought.  Hell, Democrats are usually united by being against something but even this.... there was no hope of really addressing this issue.  Perhaps there never will be.

Tags: abortion, Democrats, H.B. 1215, rounds, South Dakota, unity (all tags)



Re: SD Democratic schism

Work to replace the pro-lifers, one at a time. Both in elected office and in party offices.

I can't help at all with the in-Party struggle. But anyone who wants to help pro-choice candidates for the South Dakota state legislature can start by supporting the three fine candidates on the ActBlue page below, where there's also a contribution box for Focus South Dakota, the local group that is starting to organize pro-choice forces within the state. think-global

by Christopher Walker 2006-06-27 05:02PM | 0 recs
Re: SD Democratic schism

Yeah, we tried.  Hell, I even remember when that abortion bill got passes, Howard Dean personally called Judy Duhamel (the SD Party Chair) and asked if she wanted help replacing the democrat who voted (and was a sponsor) of the abortion ban (Julie Bartling).  They ran two candidates and they both failed.  It just goes to show that this state (even the democrats here) are pro-lifers.  

It's also funny that you mention Focus South Dakota.  I work for them as well back in Rapid City (Jody Severson, the owner).   We're trying to make good blue democrats, it's just that the rest of the electorate is not coming on board.  Who does one push a blue-democrat through a red, red state?

by ira13ping 2006-06-27 08:00PM | 0 recs
Re: SD Democratic schism

Well, of course it will take time. You have to watch your chances and pick off the vulnerable when opportunity offers. The other side got a real jump on you. They're incredibly well-organized.

Oddly enough, their very own efforts may help you in certain cases. In that primary you just had, extreme anti-choice Republicans challenged GOP incumbents who voted the "wrong" way on HB1285. Several of them lost their primary.

Well, what are their voters going to do in November? Some of them will support the far-right candidate who replaced the legislator they used to vote for on the ballot. But some of those voters will be uncomfortable. They're up for grabs if the Democrat on the November ballot is a credible alternative.

As far as November goes, the opportunity is there to send a signal. One of the candidates on my page is running against Bill Napoli himself. He's probably feeling safe and sassy because he survived his primary. Blindside him with the Democrat. I'm sure he isn't even afraid of her. He's white, he's male, he got his way on the abortion bill. Get the word out to women across he country that the author of that bill is up for re-election in November. See what happens.

And good luck.

by Christopher Walker 2006-06-28 03:10AM | 0 recs
Re: SD Democratic schism

Hey, thanks for encouraging words, Chris!  By the way, what site are you talking about?  THIS SITE?? (Sorry, I'm only now starting to get involved in the blogs after I decided to not renew my membership to the DLC).

by ira13ping 2006-06-28 08:54AM | 0 recs
Re: SD Democratic schism

Hi! Sorry I didn't see your reply right away.

The page I mentioned is think-global

That's a page I maintain where folks can find out about (and contribute to, if they're able) a few progressive Democrats who are running for state offices - mostly state legislatures. At the moment 3 of the candidates profiled there are from South Dakota - one incumbent, and two challengers.  

by Christopher Walker 2006-07-07 12:30PM | 0 recs


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