Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Primary Election night : Initial thoughts

"We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.
They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. 
Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred."  Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936
I am surprised by the strength of the Democratic vote tonight. I feared much worse at such low turnout levels. It is my general observation that when the electoral contest in Whatcom County garners more than 60,000 votes, the Democrats win.  The Democrats should find such victory in November. Whatcom county  has been proven Democrat by default in the last two general elections. In many ways, the 2014 general election is now the Democrats to lose. The primary results appear very much reflective of party ticket voting, but also of a genuine "purpality" in 42nd LD precincts.
Joy Monjure's totals are astounding in some ways. She and other Democrats are leading in some Ferndale in two of the Blaine precincts (301,302)  and even the Republican strongholds in the North County are showing her some of their purple and blue coats.  The Republicans will fight hard in the next three months.  Money from corporate (particularly petrochemical and mining) sources will flow to these candidates like water from an overfull dam. Whatcom County as an energy resource/transport colony is a critical piece of their agenda.  My suggestion to the Democrats is as follows:  Remember what it means to be a Democrat.  We should not be afraid to ask corporations and industry to pay their share for social development and innovation costs. We should not be afraid to talk about equal opportunity, social justice and income redistribution through equitable taxation. We should not be afraid to talk about an economy for all the people.

Before we became a surbanized party of environmentalists, the party of FDR, JFK, and LBJ cared about race, class, and labor.  For example, there is a strong Hispanic population in Whatcom County that is not well represented. The sons and daughters of migrant laborers often bear their economic burdens all too stoically.  They will be looking for someone who speaks their language. Similarly, there are strongholds of Asian, Russian, and American Indian populations who have worked  and struggled hard to find success in America. The Democratic Party has always excelled at giving us a nuanced version of  a fair and just America; an America that believes in its immigrants and does not discard or dismiss its poor. We have a fair amount of poor and struggling families in Whatcom County. They are looking for authenticity, they are looking for someone who speaks their language, they are looking for hope they can believe in. The Democrats should go out of their way to win their votes.

There's no reason for the Democrats to be squeamish about business development in Whatcom County. The environmentalists aren't going to be voting for Ericksen, Van Werven, and Buys no matter how green those three paint themselves.  I'm still waiting for the Democrat who shows me he has a plan for corporate high tech recruitment, for high rise downtown build out, for subdivisions of high tech office space off Hannegen Road. And still be a political representative that clearly won't be intimidated by the Port of Bellingham's heavy handed treatment of input from the general public.  As a Californian who worked in San Francisco's Investment Banking world and in start-ups/corporations in Silicon Valley, I have always believed in the power of the culturally creative class to create income and opportunity and embrace environmentalism, social justice, low-income housing, and magnificent urban planning simultaneously.  Like the the struggling and working poor, the professional classes of Bellingham are looking for this candidate.

It has been embarrassing beyond measure to be represented by Republican candidates in the 42nd LD who appeared to appeal to the worst and most unimaginative reactionary, rural rhetoric. No, this isn't a "Mad Max" movie. And yes, I am not interested in raising my family somewhere where ordinary citizens feel some strange need to "open carry' guns on their thighs. I don't have anything against the second amendment, but if I wanted to see and hear more guns, I could move us back to east Oakland. I don't hold anything personal against Jason Overstreet, but wherever he was picking up his rhetoric, it wasn't going to play in the 200 series precincts in Bellingham. Nor, I suspect, was it playing well in a surprising number of enclaves in the North County. It will be interesting to see if the Republicans here move on from such reactionary rhetoric. My own personal opinion is that their talk show host followings are leading them to infamy.  I think for many us, the right wing  has just been a kind of bad dream we have been forced to live with.

The Republicans have their work cut out for them. They will find a surprising amount of the working class and professional class are disillusioned by their stale rhetoric that seemingly has supported the build out of a wealthy class to the detriment of families, the working class and the rest of us. The Democrats should find those disillusioned classes and let their vision of justice, fairness and opportunity inspire the electorate. They will find that most of us are far more forgiving of the business classes when their success is also our success. Only with such efforts will the political class find true victory in November.

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