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Wed Aug 8, 2018, 09:36 AM

Democracy is messy [View all]

It's always been that way. People competing for power have egos as well as ideals. It's not just about ideology. Democrats, like Republicans, often oppose each other in primaries over who better deserves to get the job, more so than over differences in policy. Then they look for nuances of difference regarding policy to differentiate themselves from each other. And when the major distinctions between them isn't about differing core convictions, but rather about different characters and skills, that becomes a recipe for negative campaigning.

It is naive to expect all milk and honey in Democratic primaries. That almost never is the case. True, some contests are more negative than others, but virtually every campaign does opposition research on opponents in their own party, with the intention of using it if it will aid their electoral efforts. Some go over the line while doing so, but that line is poorly defined and people disagree on where it lies.

A case can be made for trying to discourage primaries between Democrats. Regardless of whether it is a good or bad idea to do so, it flies in the face of reality. People in politics have career ambitions just like everyone else. Many a successful political career would have stalled out completely if the prevailing view was never to challenge a sitting office holder from your own party. And politicians tend to believe in themselves, thinking that they offer something uniquely special that justifies their own run. It kind of goes with the territory.

I believe in primaries because, among other things, I believe that power has a tendency to corrupt when that tendency is not checked. That is not the same thing as saying those who hold power always become corrupt, they don't. But one of the reasons why they don't is the knowledge that even in a "safe district" they can always be challenged and thrown out of office via a primary challenge. But mostly I believe in primaries because I believe in democracy. And I say that now more than ever precisely because the only politically viable alternative to the Democratic Party, today's Republican Party, has become so lethal to the very concept of real democracy.

There is no sane alternative to the Democratic Party today, which means that we virtually have to vote for whoever is running with the Democratic nomination in the Fall. I accept that truth. But that also means that the only arena left for people to advance differing positive views and priorities through candidates devoted to them, is through Democratic primaries. With Republicans totally disqualified, it is also the only realm open where average voters can still weigh in on which individual (not just their platform) will best represent their interests.

I can be pretty forgiving of "transgressions" they may have made during a primary contest if the candidates who emerges victorious from Democratic Party Primaries will work to advance my basic agenda once in office. And the Democratic Party does. My position is to sort out our differences with primaries as called for, then unite behind the winner. Precisely because I oppose third party candidates in the current political context, I support robust competition within the Democratic Party between those who are pledged to support the resulting Democratic candidate in November.

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Reply Democracy is messy [View all]
Tom Rinaldo Aug 8 OP
Wounded Bear Aug 8 #1
SharonClark Aug 8 #2
bigtree Aug 8 #3
Tom Rinaldo Aug 8 #5
theaocp Aug 8 #4
Tom Rinaldo Aug 9 #6