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Friday, August 04, 2006

Talk amongst yourselves

Is there something wrong with the party endorsement system? Is there a better alternative? Discuss.


At 6:24 PM, August 04, 2006, Blogger Rahelio said...

Yes, there is something wrong with the endorsement process: People don't abide by it and they still want to be part of the party. Then, there are the folks who can't be found when the time comes to participate in the process, then they complain later.

The party faithful show up, they make decisions, they're not always right, but they put in the hours to keep the lights on.

That deserves a little respect - or, why not disband the party?

At 7:30 PM, August 04, 2006, Anonymous Chris said...

The complaints about the endorsement system remind me of Churchill's famous comment about democracy.

There are two alternatives in other states. One: No endorsement system. Which results in primary races where the person with the most money wins, and engages people primarily through TV ads.
Two: Party endorsement systems that resemble the old "smoke-filled rooms" of yore. In Massachusetts, delegations from local townships show up controlled by a local mayor or legislator, and vote for their allies in brokered arrangements.

There's no perfect process. That's just a liberal delusion.

I'll just add, I think that when people talk about how badly they think the process is flawed, and how it needs "reform," what they really mean is that the candidate they liked didn't get endorsed. I saw a lot of that in 2002, after Moe got the nod over Dutcher. I associate myself with rahelio's comments. If you didn't like that result, you should have been trying to get to the convention and persuading others at the convention to vote for Dutcher. But too many people would rather just whine and mewl and call people idiots and feel superior instead.

The most legitimate criticism of the system I've heard is that the people who show up at the caucuses are the same people over and over again, who make their decisions on the basis of scars from past battles, or develop big egos they expect the candidates to constantly stroke. The solution to that is showing up yourself, and encouraging other fresh blood to do it. Perhaps the DFL could spend some more money on outreach on that than they do. But I don't think some wholesale reform is necessary.

At 10:25 AM, August 05, 2006, Blogger Norwegianity said...

You know, it's funny how in the other 49 states party regulars also do all the work, but decline to play these endorsement games (OK, I don't have the numbers on that, but I also have yet to see any DFL apologists point to any other states with a similar system).

This is a control thing, and it really isn't how other states operate. Having the support of party insiders is HUGE. Running without it is difficult. Incorporating an endorsement into the process is just another way of making goddamned sure no outsiders ever pee on your party.

Sounds fine, but it's also a recipe for smugness, insularity, and getting out of touch with your base.

I've said many times that I've lived here since '88 without once attending a caucus here. You can level criticism at me for that, but what about the fact that I've lived here since '88 and have never been contacted by the party to ask me if I'd like to participate, even though I never miss a primary or general election vote?

When the delegates have the power, no one works to increase turnout except on behalf of their candidate, and then they try to steamroll the other attendees. Yeah, that builds the party, but not from the outside. No new blood to speak of unless it was recruited and brought in by party regulars.

An over simplification, but still this is a real problem. Because candidates now run for the endorsement and not the nomination, they spend their time sucking up to the last people who should need their attention: the party regulars.

Winning elections is about reaching out to the people who don't go to the conventions, and who just happen to outnumber the delegates 5,000 to one.

The DFL has a broken system that breaks itself again every two years. The simplest solution would be to endorse anyone who got 25% of the vote, or even less. If a significant number of DFL delegates find a candidate acceptable, why do you people insist on busting them up, pissing on their candidate and acting like jackasses? These "failed" candidates are some of your best Democrats and you treat them like shit because you have a Darwinian system that Karl Rove would love.

If DFL activists only do the work because they can endorse, maybe you need a whole new set of DFL activists, because from my cheap seats I just see a system that's broken and that denies Democrats reasonable primary choices.

At 1:57 PM, August 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the 25% solution. Anything but Melendez striking out at people like Jen Mattson, Ember R-Y, Mike Erlandson and others who put their time in for the DFL and then get scolded. Not a way to build a party.

At 2:07 PM, August 05, 2006, Anonymous bill said...

And what do you do when you discover a flawed candidacy and the convention has already endorsed? Kudos to all those who have stood for election without the endorsement: Chris Coleman, Mark Dayton, Mike Hatch, Rudy Perpich, George Latimer, Mike Freeman, Skip HHH, Ted Mondale, Jim Oberstar, R.T. Rybak, Bob Mattson, Doug Johnson, Mike Ciresi, Mike Erlandson, and on and on and on and on. And if we banned everyone who ever supported an unendorsed candidate we wouldn't have anyone left in the party. Not a realistic position for a progressive party.


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