Democratic Convention Preview: Candidate Positions
The 2009 California Democratic Convention is coming up in less than a week, and it's looking to be a busy, exciting event — much more so than last year's perhaps because there was so much emphasis on the two-person Presidential Primary race (which, by then, I had lost interest in).
Each year is quite different. This year, most of the hubbub will be about the elected offices of the state party itself. I've been following the races closely, and though my analysis and position won't mean much to many readers, I feel it's important to express my thoughts to those few readers who may be delegates, and also to help people in the general public understand the issues.
The race that is most important to me is the race for controller of the Party. HIlary Crosby is running against incumbent Eric Bradley, and I have been working on her campaign by placing phone calls to fellow delegates across the state to spread the word. (When a delegate personally calls a delegate, it's usually welcomed, unlike political calls made to the general public.) Hilary is "one of us" - a grassroots activists whom I've known for several years. She's a CPA, so she really knows money, and she's been working with groups like Take Back Red California and California Democratic Council to train treasurers of local Democratic clubs across the state, a program which she can continue in all 58 counties if elected. Her opponent is more of an "insider" and while he is a good fundraiser, he's not a financial professional.
Interestingly, Hilary's opposition to him has "changed the conversation" in a big way. The things that Hilary says are important are now things that Bradley says are important too, as soon as he's re-elected. I'm sorry, but we are a lot smarter than that; you can't be an incumbent and run on a platform of changing the system — you are the system. Anyhow, Hilary has been racking up endorsements across the state from clubs, individuals, and elected officials. And she just got an endorsement from the national group Democracy for America, which is a big deal!
The vice-chair positions have gotten jumbled around a bit. Previously there was a Northern California and Southern California vice chair — a good idea since our halves of the state are so different — but for some bizarre reason they changed it to one Male and one Female vice chair. If we had some issue with gender participation, it might, but the CDP does not have an issue. We currently have two women in that position (Alexandra "Alex" Gallardo-Rooker from Southern California, and Alicia Wang from Northern California). Now they are running against each other! In any case, I've heard both of them speak several times, and I'm much more impressed by Alicia Wang so I'll be supporting her. Considering that Rooker has recently teamed up with Eric Bradley, sending out disingenuous messages about a need for change, my support for Ms. Wang has just gotten stronger.
As far as the Male Vice Chair goes, I've heard a lot of good things about Eric Bauman (a former candidate for the chair — more on that later) but I"m keeping an open mind; apparently he does have an opponent but I have not heard much about him.
As far as the Chair of the party goes? Well there initially was a healthy contest, with two or three candidates. But for reasons I don't quite understand, all of the candidates dropped out after State Senator John Burton got into the race. Apparently he's just unstoppable. And that's what worries me. He's a huge political machine — as one friend said, he's "Don Perata Squared." Shudder.
So as a throwaway "protest" vote, I am endorsing Chris Finnie, a late entrant to the race who is a grassroots activist, and, unfortunately, a total long shot. She is a true grassroots activist who actually has some really compelling plans. I know her chances of winning are nil, but I just can't stand for these Cuban style election farces, and that's what this race is. I wish it had been an opportunity to choose the most qualified candidate instead of a juggernaut.
In my next post I'll talk about the upcoming state propositions, which will be a big topic at the convention.