Monday, March 17, 2014

Why we need to focus on MORE and BETTER Democrats at a state and local level

First, I apologize to the Tennessee Democratic County Chairs Association for not properly advertising the terrific event they had in Clarksville over the weekend.  I heard that they had a good turnout and people shared ideas on how to pull this state out of the death-grip of the Koch Brothers-owned Republican Party.  Right now, the TNDCCA is at the forefront of the movement, and I urge you to check them out.

I realize that people are disappointed that no one is challenging Governor Haslam other than his own party, but now is not the time to waste a run unless someone just wants to throw $10 million into a race.  Haslam is part of the problem, to be sure, but not the biggest part of the problem.

Until we regain a majority of the seats of one of the houses of the legislature, we can do nothing.  I am fully aware that it's very difficult right now the way the district lines have been drawn, anything we do is going to be an uphill fight.  That fight HAS to be fought, though.  This, year, next year, and every two years until we get control of the Assembly back in our hands.

It's going to require a lot of organizing and ground work, something that a lot of us seemingly have either forgotten how to do or gotten tired of doing it.  Unless you sell your soul to ALEC or Education "reformers" (see Deberry, John), you're not going to get much money with which to run for the legislative offices.  Given that we are in a post-Citizens United era, that makes life hard on those of us who do not believe in neo-feudalism and economic servitude.

What that means is that we have to change our message, change it to a message that will startle people at first, one the challenges people that vote against their own economic interests.  It means we need good candidates who aren't necessarily slick and who don't rely on messages that won't offend the wealthy, which means there are people in Nashville who won't be making money off the TNDP pushing neo-liberal or Blue Dog messages any more.

It means looking at some less-than-middle-class person who quit voting Democrat because we had the temerity to nominate and elect a person of color and saying this to him:


Sure, he will be pissed at first.  Then strike up a conversation where you talk to him about the GOP's economic vision is killing everyone but the 1% and ask him how rich the Republicans made HIM.  Until the culture is challenged, it won't change.  And if the culture won't change, then it will take all of us down with it.

We need people to run for the legislature that KNOW these things and can COMMUNICATE them.  Sure, at first, it will be tough.  But we have to stay on message and keep repeating it, just like the right-wing does.   Once you start, you can't stop.

One other thing.   The right-wing got control by running for smaller offices and working their way up, and that's what the left needs to do.  That's how you build a bench and that's how you train people to run.  Few things in life make me shake my head than to see someone who has no experience in politics run for a big office and then fall flat on their face, then bitch about politics.

It is a LEARNED SKILL, people.  You gotta work at it and pay your freaking dues.  Just because you look good or have money or you have people who follow you around and flatter you does not mean you should run for a high office off the bat.  Start with School Board, City Council, State Representative races.  Learn how to do it, and maybe you will catch a break and get elected.  Then, you learn the most important skill, one that most of the GOP in Nashville lack, the skill of GOVERNANCE.

Then, you can actually do what people sent you there to do: HELP THEM.

That's all for now, more in the next day or so.

1 comment:

Gregory Hanners said...

1st rule of winning over converts is not to insult the audience or make them feel foolish. Facts don't matter, if you have insulted your targets.