November 22, 2008
Your precinct correspondent recently climbed the party hierarchy for a peek inside the SDEC at a TDP reception after the first day of committee meeting. While munching on oatmeal raisin cookies and swigging coke (designated driver status) he overheard the hot topic of the day, the “Texas Two-Step” primary process. Arguments listing the hardships on the elderly, the handicapped and night shift workers had been pushed since the March primary. But the critical role of party building through the conventions was not going away quietly. With early voting accounting for over half the vote and with “drive-by” primaries the Cardinals of the party wonder if the campaigns have turned the party into nothing but a letterhead with the real body written by the candidates. Would early voters and Election Day voters return as foot soldiers in the fall? Without the convention sign-in sheets containing vital phone numbers and email addresses how can the party marshal forces to blockwalk, phonebank, turnout for rallies and voice a message of unity? The migration to cell phones from landlines has made phone directories an information pot of only senior citizens. Sure, Obama has the community organizing skills on steroids, but what about the guy or gal running for Justice of the Peace, Constable, County Commissioner? Are they left to fend for themselves, hopefully have a large family, circle of Facebook friends, with ready cash? If people who vote have no more allegiance to a party and its platform than drop by an Early voting station on a rainy spring Sunday afternoon, will the best candidate really be chosen? Are we doomed to nothing but candidate personality, mass media buys funded by special interests and big donors? We have already seen campaigns where candidates would not endorse or be seen with other candidates for other offices in the same party because that connection might lose them a vote in their own race. What is the logical endpoint? No parties, just totally independent candidates? How will George Washington’s vision work in the 21st Century?
Now reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.