Democratic Party tries to block non-Democrats


Once again, the San Francisco Democratic Party is considering ousting local Democratic clubs that endorse non-Democrats in nonpartisan races. It's crazy, and it goes back to the Matt Gonzalez era, and I don't understand why somebody keeps bringing it up. But there it is.

The local party operation, run by the Democratic County Central Committee, has to rewrite parts of its bylaws this year anyway, thanks to changes in state election law. (For one thing, terms on the DCCC will now run four years, not two, and elections will coincide only with presidential primaries.)

And among the proposed changes is an item to ban chartered Democratic clubs from endorsing, say, a candidate for San Francisco supervisor or school board who isn't a registered Democrat.

Now: It's always been pretty clear that if you're a part of the Democratic Party, and your club has official party sanction, you shouldn't be endorsing Republicans (or even Greens) over Democrats. So Dem clubs have to support Dems for president, Congress, etc. (Of course, with our top-two primaries it's possible, if highly unlikely, that a race for state Assembly could now feature a pair of candidates neither of whom is a Democrat, which would make things sticky. And under the proposed bylaws, a Democratic Club could still chose one of them.)

But never mind that -- the real issue is local government. Local races, by state law, are nonpartisan, and there ahve been plenty of progressive candidates who weren't registered Dems. In fact, this all goes back to the anger the establishment ginned up after Matt Gonzalez, a Green, very nearly toppled Gavin Newsom for mayor -- with the support of a lot of progressive Democrats. The Harvey Milk Club went with Gonzalez and some Newsomite tried to make an issue of the Club's charter.

Jane Kim was a Green when she was first elected to the School Board. Ross Mirkarimi was elected supervisor as a Green. And while the Green Party is in something of a state of disarray right now, it could make a comeback. And perhaps more important, the fastest-growing group of voters is decline-to-state -- and it's pretty likely that we'll see someone who isn't a member of any party run for office in the next few years.

There's a reason the state Constitution made local races nonpartisan -- and there's no reason Democrats can't endorse the candidates they think are the best in those races, without regard to party affiliation. The Milk Club, not surprisingly, is strongly against this, and so am I. It comes up Dec. 23; let's shoot it back down.



matlock is correct in that the shortcomings of the candidates need to be evaluated in the shortcomings of the rest of the progressive coalition. Steven T. Jones, for instance, blamed the D5 loss on flawed candidates, evading any responsibility for the Guardian's role.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 19, 2013 @ 5:58 pm

I have been given 24 hours to leave this town and I have just a few parting words for you, mes amis. Having witnessed many a failed revolution in my time, I can tell you that the problem is not with the elites (Democrats, Republicans or what have you). The bourgeoisie will go on doing what they have always done, since the French Revolution, when they guillotined the kings and set themselves up in their right. Every new ruling class is fiercer than a Bengal tiger when it comes to defending their turf. So you see, the elites are just doing their thing. You wouldn't expect a tiger to be anything other than a tiger, now would you?

So, you have been waiting for these elites to somehow change their spots, when it simply isn't in their nature. But the problem is with YOU and you alone. You fought against George Bush and you got Obama, the imperial president (indefinite detention anyone?). How long do you intend to keep this up? You have been effectively marginalized and feel powerless to change things, no? Well, the arch of history is long, and in the course of two centuries, we have overthrown kings, gained precious freedoms like the freedom to speak our minds. Take me, for example... I have been driven into exile for the role I played in inciting the masses. The proles were to await my signal, but alas, they took matters into their own hands. And the next thing you know, we had a strutting peacock of an emperor on our hands. Alas, history awaits no man. You are either making it or you are being swept along by it. Which is it for you, mes chers amis?

Posted by Monsieur Ramboz on Jan. 19, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

But how's that invasion of Mali working out?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 20, 2013 @ 6:32 am

It's "watch" the parking meters, Rambo.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 20, 2013 @ 11:16 am

Democrats attack and marginalize their liberal and progressive wings while Republicans call their tea party and libertarian wings to the front of the line.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 19, 2013 @ 6:23 pm

You know what's weird about you? You are so dead-on with intricacies, and so terribly off with the obvious. Consistently.

Marcos - the Democrats are winning right now because they have grabbed the center. You are, quite possibly, the only progressive I have ever seen who realizes it's about *winning*, not *bitching*. Sucks you're on you're with that one.

So why is this so unsettling to you?

Posted by Scram on Jan. 20, 2013 @ 1:07 am

"the Democrats are winning right now because they have grabbed the center."

LOL. Yeah right. They have grabbed the center of the Right and the expansion of the Bush regime's agenda. I guess you haven't been paying attention whatsoever since The Chairman of Change took office. The Democrats/Obama have grabbed the center of endless drones, illegal spying, torture, rendition, indefinite detention of U.S. citizens, and that doesn't even begin to cover it. There's nothing "center" about any of that right-wing shit. Exactly how much farther to the right do they have to move because you start calling it what it is?

Obama's policies are to the RIGHT of Bush overall. So how exactly is that the "center?" Next up some nut will say: Cheney and Bush were on the far Left.

These phony labels that are glued on these two corporatist pro-war parasitic parties and the corporate whores (no disrespect intended to sex workers) who work for them have obviously become absolutely useless.

There is nothing "center" about the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. They are both part of the conservative, right-wing Corporatocracy.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 20, 2013 @ 4:04 am

Add to that this headline:

BEIJING, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- The United States pledged Friday stronger security ties with Tokyo's new right-leaning administration and lent veiled support to Japan in the Diaoyu Islands dispute.

After a closed-door meeting with visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed the U.S. alliance with Japan as "the cornerstone of U.S. engagement with the region."

Democrats = center? LOL.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 20, 2013 @ 5:13 am

The Democrats lost the house and will not gain it back for some time. Even with total control the Democrats were markedly to the right of all recent presidents on the big ticket items such as the right wing libertarian think tank Heritage Foundation's individual mandate.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 20, 2013 @ 11:32 am

"It's always been pretty clear that if you're a part of the Democratic Party...."

You've made a mistake here. It's not the "Democratic Party", it's the Democrat Party.

Posted by Jimmylynn on Jan. 20, 2013 @ 12:02 am

Well really, they should just abandon the name altogether because it no longer applies. It's a big lie. Nearly all of them should just re-register as what they are: Republicans and join the other wing of the one-party system.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 20, 2013 @ 4:08 am

jane and ross abandoned the dying Green Party long ago, to support Obama for President ad haven't come back. There is no Green Party in SF anymore - it's just a silly distraction only Publisher Tim Redmond looks at. Most San Franciscans are too busy working to give a shit.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 21, 2013 @ 12:59 pm

jane and ross abandoned the dying Green Party long ago, to support Obama for President ad haven't come back. There is no Green Party in SF anymore - it's just a silly distraction only Publisher Tim Redmond looks at. Most San Franciscans are too busy working to give a shit.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 21, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

I came, I spoke against it in public comment, but I couldn't stay till the end to find out how it all shook out. I'd love to know.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 24, 2013 @ 6:37 pm

The DCCC voted to allow chartered clubs to keep their charter even if they endorse non-Democrats in non-partisan elections, which now includes ALL elections except president and county central committees. The vote was 14 to 10, with three abstains and three voting members absent.

(Feinstein's proxy definitely overplayed his hand and lost this fight badly.)

Avalos, Campos, Chiu, DeJesus, Dorsey, Dwyer, Katz, Kelly, Mandelman, Mar, Pimentel, Rosenthal, Hale Smith, and Ammiano voted to allow the clubs to keep their charters. (Everyone who voted yes was endorsed by the Milk Club for DCCC last year, except Leslie Katz.)

Anderson, Cohen, Dufty, Dunning, Hsieh, Jung, Levitan, McNeil, Feinstein, and Kamala Harris voted no. (Trevor McNeil was the only Milk-endorsed candidate to vote no.)

Leno, Yee, and Ting abstained.

---Tom Hsieh did offer a compromise proposal to force chartered clubs to identify non-Democrats they happen to endorse on their slate mailers, which will be debated in a couple of months.

Posted by Common Sense SF on Jan. 26, 2013 @ 5:42 pm

I heard about it through the grapevine today, but it's good to know names. Funny how no one ever calls out Fineswine for endorsing REPUBLICAN James Fang... oh but if you dare endorse a Green, well then you're excommunicated! Such transparent hypocrisy!

Posted by Greg on Jan. 26, 2013 @ 10:56 pm