11/24/2004

Daily Kos :: To Be a Fighting Democrat

kid oakland at Daily Kos

One of the things I take from this election is that...as each day passes since November 2nd...it gets clearer and clearer that we on the activist/netroots wing of the Democratic party need to:

reform this party.

It's also clear that when we look at the elected leadership of the Democratic party...the folks we rely on, for better and for worse, to represent us...the single quality that we hunger for is fight.

Basically, if you can't be a fighting Democrat in 2004, then you really shouldn't be a Democrat at all. Because without fight, at this point, we all know that we are lost.

What does this mean? I think it means two things:

* one short term and ideologically flexible
* one long term and visionary....



Diaries :: kid oakland's diary ::

In my view, as far as short term battles go...as far as what it takes to fight back against the GOP machine in 2005 we need every single fightin' Democrat we can get.

I've said before that we need a new hybrid tactics when it comes to how we fight our battles. That applies here. When we look out to the broad playing field of Democrats, in the short term, the single most important characteristic to judge someone on is whether they will fight for our party and help us retake legislative majorities in the legislatures of this nation by fighting for our constituencies.

I don't care if you're liberal or progressive, and vote for everything I support...if you can't get out there, stick your neck out and pitch in to our common fight, then, sad to say, we don't need you.

What does this mean in pragmatic terms? Well, for one, it means that in 2005 we are going to have to come up with a set of judgements about how our candidates are doing....and be prepared to run primary challenges in 2006 against those who are simply "phoning it in."

Phone-it-in Democrats no longer cut it, and need to be told so...and that is the dominant message the activist wing of the party needs to send. (not ideological purity...not litmus test issues...not "we can help you with the internet"...fight in spirit and in deeds is our demand.)

And, I think one thing is clear to me now, that wasn't two weeks ago. When you get right down to it...if you can't fight for election reform, you are not a fighting democrat.

As we get more locked into the vote counting and recounting process and the case for "election reform" gets sorted out from the case for claiming that the "election results" were rigged...it becomes crystal clear to me that you cannot be a fighting Democrat if you don't express outrage at how the last two Presidential elections were conducted:

* from the voter suppression efforts in Democratic districts by GOP challenges that should be made illegal...the GOP admitted in Florida that the challenges were a 'feint' to scare voters and make the Dems spend money on lawyers...true.
* to the inexcusable long lines largely in Democratic districts that are a disgrace to our nation
* to the paid RNC operatives who broke the law in Nevada and South Dakota and perhaps elsewhere
* to the use of flawed felon rolls to intimidate wide swaths of voters from voting
* to the use of "citizenship" challenges to intimidate immigrant voters from voting
* to the fact that HAVA did not create the perception of a fair and impartial election this year and the machines whose use it engendered are currently unworthy instruments upon which American citizens should be asked to vote
* and the fact that HAVA failed in it's main goal: creating a properly run election worthy of the citizens of the United States. We need to have same day registration, driver's license registration, and early voting in every state in the Union...and Federal funding and oversight to make sure that election day runs smoothly for every single American citizen.

And the broader case:

* that the Bush/Cheney campaign engaged in a widespread, divisive campaign of lies, distortions, and personal attacks on John Kerry and the Democrats unbecoming our nation's values. Calling Kerry a "Massachusetts liberal" should be held up for scorn....President Bush, you are President of Massachusetts too! Does that mean you don't represent the Blue states, Mr. President?
* that Bush/Cheney surrogates outright smeared our candidate's Viet Nam service and his wounds in combat and GOP sympathiser media networks sought to tilt the coverage of this election: from Sinclair's documentary...to Fox's biased coverage of the DNC.
* that the GOP has distorted fair legislative process with gerrymandered districts and off year redistricting whose only purpose is a bald grab for power in Congress.
* we Democrats MUST begin fighting the inequities in our system that rig the govenmental and tax system so that cities, including Washington D.C. are underrepresented, overtaxed and underfunded. We are American citizens too....our votes count too, our money counts too. And 56 million voters deserve more than what we're currently getting from D.C.

If we can't fight on these fronts, if we can't make these claims loudly, clearly and repeatedly then we don't deserve to call ourselves a "fighting party."...to be real, not even a party at all.

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