Your National Convention Delegation actually matters

A good point. - promoted by david

While it’s not on most people’s radar, we have regional caucuses to elect delegates to the national convention coming up (they’re all on the 21st, find out where your caucus is here).

Most years, the competition is pretty fierce, as only a few people out of an entire congressional district get to go. Even years like this one, in which we’ve known the Democratic Presidential nominee since Day 1, can be tough.

Now, in a year like this, a lot of people would say these choices don’t matter, since the nominee is a forgone conclusion. Yet, there’s actually something very important going on: the party platform.

Specifically, there’s a big effort to get marriage equality onto it, which has culminated with the last four DNC chairs getting behind it, the chair of the convention, LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, as well as our own soon-to-be Senate nominee, Elizabeth Warren.

With all these supporters, it would look like a forgone conclusion, but that’s not always the way things work. The President is still very touchy on glbt issues, including the recent disappointment in his choice to not sign an executive order that would have banned anti-gay discrimination among federal contractors.

Let’s not forget that it’s currently completely legal to fire someone for being gay in a majority of states across this country. Signing the executive order was a low-hanging fruit way of at least making the federal government wasn’t involved in any of those shenanigans — and let’s not pretend it isn’t a problem.

The President wants to be seen as accepting… but not too accepting. That’s why he’s “evolving” on the issue, and we’ve had to drag him kicking and screaming along every step of the way toward the very real progress we have achieved during his administration thus far.

Why does what the President thinks matter? Because a lot of people going to these conventions will just do whatever the President wants to do. But that’s not the way things are supposed to work. The President doesn’t elect the delegates; the people do. Specifically, anyone registered as a Democrat can go and vote for their delegates.

I raise all this because I was at a town democratic meeting the other day and a few people who are running to be delegates came and spoke. My question to them was their position on the effort to add marriage equality to the platform — and I cringed when someone who I figured I’d vote for came out and said that while he personally supports marriage equality, he was going to do whatever the President said. Needless to say, he’s not getting my vote.

My advice: Ask these people if they’ll support adding marriage equality to the platform. If they won’t, or if they’re just going to do whatever they’re told, vote for someone else… and tell your friends to do that, too.

We all know marriage equality isn’t the wedge issue it once was before. The polls constantly bear that out. We’re at a point in which a full majority are behind marriage equality — and things are moving rapidly in our direction. Plus, the bigots aren’t going to vote for us, anyway.

The good news is we have the final say on this issue, so let’s make sure we choose people to represent us who will vote for marriage equality, and petition to make sure there is a vote, even if it’s going to make some of the more prickly among them uncomfortable.



Discuss

21 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. While what you say is both technically accurate and a noble effort...

    …it would be virtually unprecedented as far as I know for the platform not to reflect the wishes of the presidential nominee.

    • BS

      There you go again, Christopher, with your silly pronouncements that clearly demonstrate you didn’t even bother spending a few minutes googling it, before saying it.

      Do you seriously want to make it your position that the party platform has always represented precisely what the nominee wanted, and nothing further or different?

      I fear if you do, you should be prepared to be embarrassed. Because I can find examples of where Obama has gone against the platform, never mind previous democratic nominees. Numerous examples. Open government, Bush tax cuts, Fair Trade vs. “free trade,” and that’s just off the top of my head, with a brief glance at the ’08 document.

      No doubt, the nominees have a large voice in what happens… but it’s not the be-all, end-all… and more to the point, it shouldn’t be.

      Shame on anyone who would toss the civil rights of MILLIONS of Americans down the toilet because it makes the President uncomfortable.

      If the President is uncomfortable over gay rights and gay people…. quite frankly, I don’t give a damn. I’m not waiting for him anymore than his parents waited for the full country to come around on interracial marriage. We don’t wait for others to be comfortable with civil rights, we demand them.

      RyansTake   @   Sat 14 Apr 8:11 PM
      • If I'm a bit touchy on this issue,

        forgive me. I’m always touchy when it comes to civil rights, particularly those that impact my own. The world is miserable enough without having to suffer bigotry or the indifference of those not willing to demand more.

        RyansTake   @   Sat 14 Apr 10:18 PM
  2. I discuss on this forum; I don't research.

    Plus, given the trajectory of the President’s evolution (He won’t defend DOMA after all.), not to mention that I believe as a state senator of a progressive district he supported marriage equality I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if a second term brings a complete evolution. In my defense, coverage of platforms usually is, “the nominee wants x therefore we are likely to get x,” but I’ll concede unprecedented (though I did say virtually to hedge my bets) might have been a bit too absolute. But, please, correct me without patronizing me.

    • The trajectory is great,

      but I’m not willing to wait for things I don’t have to wait for. Our party needs to do this now because it *can* do it now, and I believe if it will hurt us going forward if we don’t… because with the President’s decision to not ban discrimination based on sexual orientation with federal contractors, just by the swipe of a pen, the glbt community is enraged.

      That matters, a lot, because the GLBT community is the most consistent Democratic-voting demographic and are key when it comes volunteer hours and political donations. If the GLBT population stays home this election, the President will be in trouble, as will everyone down ballot, where the margin of turnout among glbt people will absolutely make the difference between winning and losing for several congressional races.

      Finally, while I was certainly frustrated, I don’t think I was patronizing. Discussing something without spending even a few minutes to see if what you’re saying holds up is the work of Bill O’Reilly, not the reality-based community. We’ve all had our moments, Christopher, but you consistently do it and I’m not going to lie… it drives me nuts…. and I’ve never been one to eschew telling people when they’re wrong, even when they don’t want to hear it.

      RyansTake   @   Sat 14 Apr 11:25 PM
    • You don't have to research others' work

      but you made a pretty broad claim and now don’t seem interested in defending it with facts. It’s true Rye was a bit over the top in his response, but his push back is fair… one should be prepared to back up one’s assertions with a little legwork.

  3. I'm running for delegate in the 6th CD Caucus represented by John Tierney

    In the spirit of advancing my candidacy for male delegate(4 male, 4 female, 1 male alternate(odd districts female, even male) the Caucus will be held at Peabody HS, 485 Lowell St., April 21st at 10am(doors close 15 minutes after that time). The only requirement to vote is being a registered Democrat as of February 15th. I am running as a grunt who has worked on many campaigns on all levels, starting with Howard Dean who by encouraging a 50 state strategy asked his supporters to join their local Democratic Committees. I have been there ever since 2004 and as an elected member and the last 4 years as a delegate to the state convention. Being a family doctor, health care reform has been my strongest focus. I recently testified at the State House to advocate for broader universal coverage in this state. Dr. Dean as you know was a strong advocate for gay rights(actually I favor marriage over civil unions) and I have enthusiastically embraced this state’s legalizing gay marriage. I grew up in Newark, NJ, attended public schools, and with public scholarships, loans and a supportive family made my way to a MD degree and eventually boarded in Pediatrics, Family Medicine, and Geriatrics. I also hold a MPH in maternal and child health from the U. of California. From the vantage point of my childhood and profession I have seen first hand the scars and triumphs of this country we live in. My parents were first generation immigrant stock. My Dad finished high school and struggled to earn enough to make ends meet. My Mom graduated 4th in her class at Barringer High School in Newark but it was 1929 and although admitted to the U. of Penn she had to forego that opportunity(her brother was sent to Law School) and go to work for $7 a week in a 2-day-old bread bakery shop. We lived in subpar housing and I was a first hand witness to the awful treatment of black people who were my schoolyard playmates. As a budding professional in medical school I had a firsthand view of what illegal abortion meant. The first placenta I ever saw was in the underwear of a bleeding teen ager in the Jacoby Hospital ER from a botched non medical abortionist. At that time there were only 3 women in my medical school in the Bronx in 1965 and at my 40th reunion they now were the majority. As a father of 3 grown women who are succeeding in life, I revel in the changes in women’s opportunities and choices. It is not only females who are fighting to make sure this progresses even further. My name is Dr. Donald Green. I am a proud Democrat and I want to be a first time delegate to the National Convention in Charlotte. I feel I represent the worker bees of any campaign who are nameless but knock on doors, do cold telephone calling, hold signs, and do whatever it takes to get their candidate elected. I want our President to know we have his back to move further down the Progressive road and we don’t want to look back. So I’m asking for your vote but you have to show up(as Woody Allen advised) and if you do I will shake your hand and answer any questions about me and what I support. I have blogged here as OEKTB(old enough to know better) and had my own lonely blog at theethicalcapitalist.blogspot.com. I comment frequently in the Globe and NY Times as OEKTB. Hope to see you on the 21st(use Wikipedia to see what towns make up the 6th district–Billerica has been added to that list with district changes. It is hard to distill your life down to a few sentences but if you have read this I appreciate it. Dr. Donald Green, Reading, Ma.

  4. I'll be attending in MA-04

    and will only vote for delegates in favor of marriage equality in our platform

  5. 3rd CD only barely contested.

    There is a well constituted slate running with only a couple of additional candidates. Those of us on the DSC will vote for at-large delegates on May 5th.

  6. Ryan, I do find it patronizing when you make a personal.

    A simple, “Actually, examples of deviation include x, y, and z.” minus the “There you go again…” part would have sufficed. I DID after all say “as far as I know” thus broadcasting that it was coming entirely from memory as opposed to research. If I wanted to research I would go back to school. If you and I were having this conversation in person and you said, “I think we need to elect delegates who will put marriage equality in the platform,” and I responded, “That’s an interesting idea, but I don’t think the platform bucks the nominee’s preferences very often,” would you really expect me to whip out my handheld internet device (something I happen not to own) and look something up before responding to your comment? I hope not, and that’s not how I treat BMG. So again, there are ways to TACTFULLY point out an inaccuracy. If I were claiming an absolute fact I do try to remember to cite it, but I wasn’t doing that here.

    • This is my civil rights, Christopher

      Asking people who attend the caucuses to make sure they’ll only vote for people who will petition and vote for marriage equality isn’t asking much.

      If anyone claims to support marriage equality, they need to do that much. Supporting something means favoring it even when it’s a little inconvenient.

      I’m not asking anyone to march in the gay pride parade, here. Just to do what they can in their ordinary actions in life, like properly vetting people they vote for.

      As for not having a mobile device… I don’t get the point. Presumably, you have some sort of contraption you use to write here. I don’t get why it’s any more difficult to do a brief google search before making broad claims than it is to write those claims to begin with.

      I can’t count the number of blogs or posts I’ve written — and then deleted — because I realized I made some sort of claim that needed backing up… and I couldn’t do it.

      Words are cheap. They’re a lot more valuable when people spend a little time to actually make sure they mean anything. It’s worth the effort.

      PS. Complaining about any lack of tact when I’m defending my own civil rights feels a lot like calling me uppity. Just saying.

      RyansTake   @   Sun 15 Apr 7:57 PM
  7. Great point, Ryan - I intend to vote for delegates who support the marriage equality plank

    I’m hearing it referred to as the Grossman amendment, since State Treasurer Steve Grossman (and three other former chairs of the DNC) are supporting it.

    For those in the new 5th CD, at this weekend’s DSC meeting, I spoke with Bob Peters (4th Middlesex State Committeeman) who is a candidate for delegate. He said he supports the Grossman “freedom to marry” plank. Bob is one of the hardest working Dems around, as are his slate-mates. Recommend him highly to those in Markey’s district.

    • Thanks Bean

      It’s been incredibly great to have Grossman being a leader on this effort. Hopefully, it will make it that much easier for more delegate candidates to get on board.

      RyansTake   @   Sun 15 Apr 10:58 PM
  8. Ryan, I actually never discounted your request.

    In fact, I called it a noble effort. I just pointed out that historically platforms tend to match closely the nominee’s wishes. You’re taking my “claims” more seriously than I intend when I’m not even claiming absolute fact to begin with, and yes, I believe in keeping the discussion respectful.

    • Ok

      Point taken. Let’s make sure history stays in the past this time and get it done. Part of being the a smart grassroots movement is we learn how the rules work and then use them to our advantage.

      It’s how our President won his primary four years ago to begin with — by learning convention and delegate rules and taking advantage of them.

      That’s all I want to do now, electing as many delegates who will do what’s necessary to get marriage equality onto the platform as possible. The rules exist and we’re free to use them.

      RyansTake   @   Sun 15 Apr 10:56 PM
  9. who are the candidates?

    How do I find out who the candidates are in my district (CD-3) and contact information for them? I’m not yet up to speed on the party process here or the players.

    • Here's where to look it up

      Go to massdems.org. It can be easily found: “Final District and Alternate Delegate Candidates.”

  10. Laurel, as I mentioned...

    …3rd CD is barely contested (assuming you mean the Tsongas district – remember we use the new districts for this process). The list of candidates can be found here. We get four each of men and women plus one woman alternate. Of those I know that Tom McGrath and Jamie Eldridge have supported marriage equality, but I don’t want to speak for them in terms of whether they will put it in the platform over the President’s objections. As for contact information, some of them are also on the state committee for which see here, though with any luck that will be updated by the weekend with the add-on results. Public officials (Wong, Naughton, Eldridge) could probably be reached through their offices. As I recall last time there was not a formal Q&A at the caucus. The 3rd CD caucus is this Saturday, 1PM at the Elks on Old Ferry Road in Lowell. I’m helping with check-in so maybe we’ll finally meet.

    • Thank you for the info!

      Much appreciated.

      I take your point that most are not contested but it’s still worth speaking to everyone anyways. They need to know what’s of interest to the Dems in their district.

  11. It impacts more than just the President

    The platform supposedly applies to Democrats in every state election, and remember only a few states have voted for marriage equality. So maybe the people running in the other states don’t want to be saddled with a platform that calls for same-sex marriage in their state.

  12. Not quite, DGC...

    …the national platform is for federal candidates, though candidates for either chamber of Congress are welcome to think for themselves and say so. Each state party adopts its own platform, so that would be what candidates in state elections adhere to, at least theoretically.

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