So Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg walk into a bar the Monday after Easter. The crowd is mostly millennial; polka music is playing, beer flowing, and Polish sausages being eaten en masse. As revelers raise the roof, political hopefuls and incumbents alike swing into full campaign mode: glad-handing, speech-making, combing crowds for potential supporters. Political capital is flowing faster than beer.This is not a joke--this is the real thing! In Mayor Pete's town of South Bend, Indiana, the annual celebration of "Dyngus Day" is a time-honored tradition - especially in election years. Area businesses often give employees time off so they can celebrate the entire day at various Democratic clubs, civic and fraternal organizations, and storied watering holes. Dyngus Day is the Polish bookend of Mardi Gras in terms of revelry, and in Polish tradition, it's a day of courtship--which may explain why it's become a day when political candidates ardently court voters.
This year, progressive Elizabeth Warren (not Senator Elizabeth Warren but the Polish-Armenian South Bend native who left her hometown to marry Californian Todd Warren and ended up a national Democratic activist) is bringing the holiday to North San Diego County where she's running for State Assembly in the 76th District.
California's Elizabeth Warren has the backing of South Bend's Democratic Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is touted as a potential Presidential candidate. Says Mayor Pete, "I am a Democrat because I believe in defending freedom, fairness, families, and the future for ordinary people throughout our country. Elizabeth fights for these same values, and I am counting on her to serve you well in the Assembly. From one Hoosier to another, I wish her great success and look forward to the day she represents North San Diego County in the California State Assembly." Warren in turn is supporting the campaign of her old friend Cindy Kilgore, a retired decorated police officer currently running for County Council in Granger, Indiana.
Now it's California's turn for Dyngus Day fun: Encinitas landscape architect Mark Wisniewski is hosting an April 2 "Dyngus Day Meet the Candidate" party for Warren at Belching Beaver Brewery's "Pub 980" in Vista, from 4 to 7 p.m. Warren will be "live tweeting" and photo sharing with South Bend's parties via social media in a display of cross-country Democratic solidarity.
Warren says she and supporter Wisniewski discovered their shared Polish heritage and cooked up the idea to acquaint Californians with the holiday; they plan to make it an annual event. "Everybody is Polish on Dyngus Day," Warren says. "It's a nod to my Polish heritage, a shout out to Mayor Pete and all my friends in Indiana, and a great way to introduce fun and frolic to our political system!"
For the record, California's Elizabeth Warren was on the advisory board of my Media Action Center when we successfully forced Entercom to surrender its broadcast license of 107.9 FM in Sacramento. She's a working journalist who has been a strong supporter of media reform issues, and now I'm supporting her. ~Sue