All posts by dougdilg

Proposition: Hold the State Convention after the State Primary

I ran as a delegate to the DSCC with the sole intention of introducing a resolution at the next State Convention that the Party hold it’s 2008 Convention after the State Primary, not prior to it as is now the practice.  Before drafting the resolution and seeking support, I would like to use this site as a sounding board, to hear others’ opinions and experiences in regard to this matter.  To me the reasons for it are clear:

1.  Practical: if the ulltimate goal is to elect Democratic candidates, the DSCC can more effectively work toward that goal if it knows first who those candidates are.  Pretty obvious statement, but the obvious should not be overlooked nor underplayed.  The pre-Primary Endorsements focus much of our attention on our divisions within the Party.  We have plenty of opportunity and time to do that.  We have very little time during the Convention.  Our main focus during the Convention should be unification toward a common goal, the general election.

2. Image:  Although the good intention of the pre-Primary Endorsements is to inform and advise the voters, the practice is too often seen as saying to the general members of the Party that their opinions don’t count, and their votes in the Primaries don’t matter.  And what the voters are really looking for anyway, in terms of advice, is not what the Party thinks, but rather what does their particular special interest group feel about that candidate, where does that Candidate stand in the eyes of PDA, or their Union, or the Sierra Club, or any of the countless small groups and varied organizations that make up this wonderfully diverse organization of the Democratic Party.  To remove the Party from the endorsement game is to encourage groups, both within the Party and outside of it, to step up and play a greater role.  And it encourages Primary Candidates to broaden their base of support, seek endorsements from brand new sources, and by doing so broaden the Party and it’s structure, something the Party can then tap into in the general election.  Let’s make sure the public image of the State Party matches our private image of a party open to all groups, built on a strong foundation of grassroots politics.

3.  Ideological:  I’ve never been to a State Convention, but if the elections are any indication it is very clear the focus of the delegates is ideology first.  And why not?  The people who seek to be a part of the Convention, either through election or appointment, make up many of the most active, effective, and dedicated Democrats in this State.  Their activism springs from their Ideology which is a source of good for the Party and the State.  So let’s not discount it, let’s look what best serves it.  The Primaries already are full of ideological battles, to bring the Party Convention into the fray, insiders vs. grassroots/netroots, doesn’t do anyone any good.  Let us fight Jane Harman and others on an even battlefield without the Party endorsement.  And then if we lose, having the Party Convention after the Primary in many ways gives us another whack at them.  The Party platform suddenly becomes a stick with election support as the reward.  Right now ideological losers can often become disinterested in the general election.  The convention instead could become the opportunity for compromise, small ideological victories, and mending fences between the nominees and their opposing factions.  It may not be much in the grand scheme of things, but it would be a more organized and focussed opportunity than we have now.