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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/10/19

Why a DNC Vice Chair Bawled Me Out -- and Why Joe Biden Must Be Stopped

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The man quickly identified himself as a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. He didn't need to tell me that he was hopping mad.

Ken Martin was angry that my colleagues and I were handing out a flier providing some inconvenient facts about Joe Biden to delegates and activists as they entered the New Hampshire Democratic Party convention on Saturday. The headline, next to Biden's picture, quoted a statement he made last year: "I don't think 500 billionaires are the reason why we're in trouble."

While not flattering to the current frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, the carefully documented RootsAction flier offered information that news coverage has rarely mentioned and that party activists, as well as voters overall, should know.

But Martin had a very different perspective. He heatedly told me that distributing such a flier was divisive and would harm the cause of defeating Donald Trump.

I tried to assure Martin that I'm as eager to defeat Trump as anyone. At the same time, we need primaries for good reasons, including fact-based scrutiny of candidates' records before they're nominated. However, I found it difficult to get words in edgewise, as Martin continued to denounce the leafleting.

After a few minutes, I asked: "Do you want to have a conversation, or do you want to lecture me?" Martin's reply came in a split-second: "I want to lecture you." Give him credit for honesty.

A few hours later, Martin addressed thousands from the convention podium and in more restrained tones focused on blaming non-responsive voters for the failures of Democratic candidates to inspire them. "In 2016 we had 10 percent of Democrats who voted for Donald Trump," he said. "We had 53 percent of white women who voted for Donald Trump. We had a tripling of the third-party vote throughout our country. And probably most discouraging to me: as consistent Democratic base voters, people who always show up in elections, many of them didn't show up to vote at all."

A logical question would be: Why did many of them not show up to vote at all? But Martin wasn't going there. Instead, he went on: "You see, Democrats, we've got great candidates on full display today and I can guarantee you one of them is going to be the next president of the United States. But we have to come together, we have to come together. Let's not confuse unanimity with unity, we're Democrats, we don't agree on everything. But I will tell you, if we're not unified we will not win this election. We have to come out and support whoever the Democratic candidate is."

Martin is in major positions of power within the Democratic Party, not only at the DNC but also as chair of the party in Minnesota (the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party) and as president of the Association of State Democratic Committees. For the bulk of the party leadership, in sync with front-runner Biden, self-critical assessments are essentially off-limits. The boilerplate calls for "unity" serve to distract from tough-minded examination of the reasons for widespread distrust and low vote rates.

Refusals to examine the patterns of the past render many party leaders unable to recognize or acknowledge what a disaster a Biden campaign against Trump would so likely be. It's of little use to plead for a strong turnout from "Democratic base voters" after nominating a weak and uninspiring candidate.

"A core challenge for the Democratic Party will be to raise the voter participation rate while drawing presently apathetic and uninvolved non-voters and occasional voters into the process largely younger people and African Americans," the report, "Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis," said two years ago. The report (which I co-authored as part of a task force) pointed out that "a party doesn't grow by simply tallying up members and scolding them into showing up."

The specter of Joe Biden as the party's nominee runs directly counter to what the Autopsy called for: "To flourish, the Democratic Party needs an emphatic mission and a clear moral message that excites and provides a purpose that is distinct from the otherwise cynical spectacle of politics. Inspiring programs for truly universal health care, racial justice, free public college tuition, economic security, new infrastructure, green jobs, and tackling the climate crisis can do this. This is about more than just increasing voter turnout. It is about energizing as well as expanding the base of the party."

As presidential candidates crisscross the country, only two are showing how to energize activism on a large scale while inspiring voters. That was apparent again inside the arena in New Hampshire, where Bernie Sanders (who I continue to actively support) and Elizabeth Warren delivered high-voltage progressive speeches that left others in the dust.

Biden's mediocre speech at the New Hampshire convention on September 7 is already an historic record of a dismal candidate for president whose nomination promises to be a disaster. To pretend otherwise is hardly a service to the crucial task of defeating Donald Trump.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

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Norman Solomon Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Norman Solomon is cofounder and national coordinator of RootsAction.org. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 Democratic National Convention and is currently a coordinator of the relaunched Bernie Delegates Network. (more...)
 

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7 people are discussing this page, with 7 comments  Post Comment


j dial

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How much more evidence do you need to come to the conclusion that the sclerotic, debauched democrat party is not going to respond to what people want--unless those people are the oligarchs who rule it.



Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 2:07:01 AM

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John Jonik

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Don't support giving ANYONE Free Medical Care. It must be PUBLIC-FUNDED and Paid For (via progressive income taxation) Health Care for all....even "illegal" immigrants, dark skin or white or in between.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 4:20:20 AM

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Dennis Kaiser

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The DNC needs to learn to let the people decide who the candidate should be, not the one given them by the DNC.

They're doing it again this year. Their #1 prima donna was Kamala Harris who was exposed for the fraud she is, so they have moved on to Elizabeth Warren who once again is proving to be a fraud by saying the things a "progressive" would be saying, yet acting in ways that will promote her career rather than what she apparently is telling the people as she is in consort with Hillary. Siding with Hillary means "people be damned" as Hillary does nothing without getting something bigger in return.

Beware of Elizabeth Warren!!

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 1:59:39 PM

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Thomas Brown

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These party leaders are really unbelievable. They refuse to learn the lessons of 2016 and tepid leadership of Pelosi and Schumer They may need yet another dose of Trump, as devestatio g as that would be, to move them in the direction voters need and want. If Biden gets the nod I'll be very worried he'll lose anyway. He sucks as a candidate just like Hillary did.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 4:35:08 PM

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Daniel Geery

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Norman, Do you think it is possible to focus on the candidate you do support, and actually support her?


Or do you want to keep burying yourself in utter insanity and spouting it to the rest of us?


I apologize for glancing at your article.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 9:52:52 PM

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Anton Grambihler

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Joe thinks that three bars is the same as an E. What else does he have wrong?


Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 11:40:50 PM

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Maybe America should just collapse.


Submitted on Wednesday, Sep 11, 2019 at 3:48:56 AM

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