On Populist Democracy Versus Labels/Clique Groups and Infighting


 

On Populist Democracy Versus Labels/Clique Groups and Infighting
 


25 July 2007 at 10:09:15 AM
salon

I vote as a Democrat, have never voted Republican and don't plan to, but many times I think I would vote for another party if our political system hadn't stacked the deck to, from a practical matter, allow for only two parties. Therefore, I have to consider, when I vote, which party more reflects my values and interests, and that has always been the Democrat party. That said, I don't believe that either party represents populist democracy, except in small pockets. 

I read an article in the Weatherford (Parker Co, TX) newspaper that publicly exposed some infighting between Democrats in that county and one adjoining, Wise County.  The Parker County Democratic Party chairman, Richard Yoder, quit.

According to minutes recorded at the meeting, Yoder called his service as county chair a full-time job, especially during election years, and said he wanted to let someone else try and bring the Democratic Party “back to what it was.”

“When I became a Democrat ... I believed the Democrats were a party of the people, by the people and for the people — not like the Republicans; the Republicans are business people,” he said. “Lately the [Democratic] party has shifted its direction. Now, it’s a party — or at least there is a faction of the party — that just wants to be in power.”

I have always thought that Republicans were the Pharisees of politics, but, with many Democrats embracing the globalist economy, and siding with Big Pharm and Insurance against the populace, in some ways both Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same coin. But what did Yoder mean about the faction of the party that would only want to be in power?

It appears from the article that there were tensions between the official Democratic party structure and a Democratic party club. The club didn't like the way the official party was being run, but instead of following the rules of the party, they staged a coup. I was kind of astonished reading this, because I believe that Democrats, rather than Republicans, are the party of law and order, and rules.

Tensions between two factions within the party boiled over at a March meeting of the Democratic Party’s County Executive Committee (CEC). Instead of waiting for Yoder to call the next CEC meeting, which is customary, Don Young and other members of a political action committee known as the Parker County Active Democrats (PCAD) organized the meeting of precinct chairs on their own and refused to let Yoder govern.

Yoder and members of the Organization of Parker County Democrats (OPCD) reportedly declared the meeting illegal and walked out of the 20th Century Club.

With most attendees standing outside in the parking lot, PCAD conducted a series of 13 precinct chair elections, which were subsequently nullified by State Party Chair Boyd Ritchie.

Illegal. So, this group decided not to follow the Democratic party rules.. but why?

“The rules say [Yoder] is supposed to run the meeting, but we were just obstinate about it because we were mad because [Yoder] wouldn’t call any meetings and we wanted to make a point,” Young said Thursday.

Young claims Yoder didn’t call meetings often enough, leaving committee assignments and other Party business undone.

“There is a ton of business to get done, and there always has been, but we’ve never been able to get Dick Yoder to do it, so we decided to do it ourselves,” Young said. “We just decided we were going to take matters into our own hands and whatever happens, happens.”

Frankly, that's the same kind of attitude I hate in Bush, who has flouted the law and taken matters into his hands. I'm not saying that they might not have had a legitimate beef, but then, why didn't they go run for precinct chair? Or get someone on the local executive committee to nominate them? (Because you can't become a precinct chair unless A. you're nominated and pass a vote on the CEC or B. you run for office and are elected.. per Democratic party rules).  That last statement shows also that it wasn't a matter of ignorance about how the party ought to operate, by the rules.

I don't even know why all this dirty laundry is aired in the paper, but I disagree with some of the comments therein.

Some are claiming, including a generous number of bloggers, that the PCAD group is representative of a leftward shift within the Party. During his resignation speech to the CEC, Yoder expressed his frustration.

I'm guessing that the internet diarist writers are probably gleeful Republicans who are happy to see all the tension between parties and are happy, anyway, to paint Democrats as too left.

“I don’t care to be a part of a party that says, ‘the ends justify the means,’ as they lie, cheat and steal, and use character assassination; I don’t want to be a part of that party,” he said. “I think we need to go back and say, ‘what are our standards and ideals,’ and try to protect and maintain those ideals.”

The thing is, the State Democratic party rectified the illegal situation. 

Wise County Democratic Party Chair Brenda Rankin, was among the group that walked out of the March 5 meeting. She said PCAD and the Wise County Active Democrats are more progressive and further left than the party norm.

“It’s basically a push in the Texas Democratic Party to install populist progressives from the left into the counties,” she said. “It’s been very difficult because basically you have two different groups and at times it seems like the groups are almost like a dual party in a county.”

I think that, as long as any Democrat believes and follows the party platform, it shouldn't matter whether one is centrist or left; Democrats are the big tent party. For myself, I'm a populist but I don't follow Marcos of Daily KOS; and it hasn't been clear to me that the term *progressive* isn't tied to the KOS idealogy, so I avoid it. What I would not like to see is where anyone that isn't a centrist in the party is painted with the same brush that the Kossacks are painted with by those who dislike their tactics.

Bottom line is that, regardless of one's idealogy, if one is unhappy with the local party, the answer is to follow the rules and run for the position. And I'd like to see enough of the comments about bloggers and leftists. I don't like labels or idealogical boxes, but surely Democrats are a big enough party to allow for a diversity of viewpoints.



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