Some Thoughts For Democrats This New Year

We’re now in a new year, and once again it’s a presidential election year.   After what promises to be a long, exhausting primary election season, we’ll be electing a  new President.   One thing that seems to be rather conspicuously missing from most of the coverage I’ve been seeing on the news and political blogs is that there are other offices on the slate.  We’re going to be selecting members of the House of Representatives, and a number of Senators.  Along with those national races, there will be governor and state legislature races, ballot propositions, and even local races.  While the presidential race will be fodder for the media, it’s those other races which will be much more influential.

Last year, I pointed out that liberals often push the wrong way,  and it turns out that it’s not helped by the media and various political commentators.  The idea always seems to be that the person at the top is where all the attention and any efforts to accomplish something should be directed.    It’s great that Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are saying things that resonate with liberals, and I’m sure various liberals are getting soft warm fuzzy feelings about it.  The problem is that if you’re only paying attention to them, and thinking that they, and they alone, will get all or any of that done if they’re nominated and elected, you’re going to be badly disappointed.

If there’s no groundswell, or no progressive Congress, then it doesn’t matter how liberal a President is when they were running or are when they take office.  Their ability to get any of that done is very limited.  Get the states and Congress on board, and it will be amazing at just how “liberal” a middle-of-the-road Democratic President can be!

All those other races matter.  In fact, if you don’t win enough of them, you’ll be once again sitting around watching battles to keep existing progressive programs from being rolled back, and forget any new ones.   That’s  important on the national level, but we often forget how state and local elections impact us.

All the things which you tend to take for granted:  Street lights on; road plowed; water and sewer systems work; police and fire departments are there; and what the schools are like will all be determined by who gets elected.

That’s in addition to things like Affordable Care Act implementation (or lack thereof),  workers rights, voting rights, wage laws, and a host of other things that have been griped about by liberal blogs because they’re being rolled back or removed in states controlled by Republicans. If you want to get or keep any of those things you need to be looking at your local and state governments.

We’re now heading into a primary season, although it does seem like we’ve already been in one forever.  It’s to be expected that people will be advocating strongly for their candidate, whether it’s Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, or Martin O’Malley.   It’s going to get rough at times, and there will be hurt feelings.  At the end of it, we’ll have a nominee, and the supporters of the losing ones will feel upset, hurt, and angry.  It’s happened before, and I don’t expect it to be any different in this election.  However, once the real countdown to election day begins, we need to put those feelings aside and get busy.  Get out and work, get the message out, and get ourselves and others into the voting booths.   You see, elections have consequences, and the past few years should have been a real reminder of that truism.   But if you’d rather stay home to sit and nurse your hurt feelings?  Well, then, it turns out that your issues weren’t all that important. Even to you.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Some Thoughts For Democrats This New Year

  1. Well put as always. The down ticket, state, and local races have much more of an impact on our actual lives, yet, as you noted, get so little media attention. Here iin California electing a democratic governor and legislature, some progressive, some centrist, has ed to a sea change in this state in both the culture of state government as well as in the direct impact it has on our lives. Government will only be a tool for positive change but only if we elect people who think government can and should have such a function. Democrats, independents, and progressives have to work actively against politicians who run for office on the platform that government itself is the heart of the problem.They often believe this as a matter of principle rather than consequence, so there are o facts or outcomes that will dissuade them. If we want government to work, have to elect people who want to make it work, particularly at the state and local level. Hopefully that begins in 2016.

    (P.S. I’m going to try to beat this drum on my end as well. Inspiring stuff.)

    • I think what has always irritated me about the various media and pundits is that they give the impression that there’s only one person on the ballot, and that all the others just get appointed or appear magically.

  2. Hola Norbrook! I am over joyed to see you back here blogging again. I hope all is well with you. This is a great essay & I will share it with others. You and I have both been on this same page about giving real attention to local races for a long time. I have really been ignoring the presidential races pretty much as I will vote for the Dem, no matter who that is.

    I am gearing up for my GOTV efforts here for our Dem candidates. I take this very seriously. Gracias for writing this & I hope to see more of you here in future.

    • One of the examples we had a reminder of about local elections came when one of the regional newspapers wrote an expose on our school district superintendent. It turns out that he’d been skipping property and utility taxes on property he owned in his previous position elsewhere, to the point where he was several years in arrears. That’s in addition to being somewhat of a slumlord there, and there were some … questionable …things in his previous job. Needless to say, this did not go over well with people here, and the school board – and in particular its president – suddenly found themselves under a real spotlight. Most of them got booted this year, and said superintendent is out the door at the end of the school year. Up until that, most people never paid much attention to who was running for school board, or how they were selecting school administrators. 😉

      • aquagranny911

        In 2014, Cousin & I were doing GOTV in a rural area. We met a young man who was running against a well entrenched asshole who had not been challenged for local JP in years. Our guy was a total novice, so well helped him get some financial backing & encouraged him to go door to door to talk to the voters. He did it & we did some for him also. He won by about 20+ votes. That was a most satisfying experience for me. IMHO, no Repug should ever run unchallenged for any office even in red states & counties. All politics is local!

        • Yes indeed! One of the things that ended up with our county chair … deciding… to “retire” was that a large number of us were ticked about the lack of “get someone to run” during her time.