Today it is a case of the grasshopper pitted against the elephant. But tomorrow the elephant will have its guts ripped out. Le Loi, Vietnamese emperor, 15th Century.There may be plenty of grousing and second-guessing about what happened last Tuesday and what caused it. But there are also silver linings to those dark clouds.
It's true that Democrats lost every one of the statewide office races in Arizona. We will make adjustments.
It's also true that Republicans took over the US Senate -- without the assistance or resistance of Arizona voters. In 2016, there will be a race for the senate seat now held by John McCain. We will make adjustments and compete for that seat.
It's also true that Democrats lost a huge number of seats in state legislatures nationwide. But so far, the most likely end result in our state is that the balance of power will be a net change of ZERO. There are still a few days of ballot counting to finish up. Two races for seats in the Arizona House are too close to call right now.
The most annoying aspect of the election season was the -- literally -- HUNDREDS of emails begging for money by Sinema, Barber and Kirkpatrick as well as the statewide candidates for governor, attorney general and superintendent of public instruction. Terry Goddard's campaign used Clean Elections funding (as did Corp Comm candidates Jim Holway and Sandra Kennedy), so he was able to stay focused on his message. It was a good message. Goddard drove home the issues of Dark Money and voter suppression. He was, like the other statewide candidates hit hard by broadcast television ads funding by Dark Money.
In the absence of Clean Elections funding, candidates begged from grassroots activists. It was obviously not enough.
On the flip side, when Elizabeth Warren ran successfully in 2012 for US Senate, she also sent emails asking for grassroots donations. Because her message of progressive populism resonated with voters all across the country, she didn't have to beg.
Our candidates were well qualified individuals. But they did not exhibit the inspiring messaging power that caused Sen. Warren to win.
About six weeks ago, TheHill.com published AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka's op-ed on progressive populism.
... it shouldn’t surprise anyone that in America in 2014, populism decides who wins elections. The only question is which kind of populism is going to win.
There is a radical right wing populism that points its finger at government, at the president, at ObamaCare, at immigrants and at the so called “takers.” It’s a diversionary populism that channels anger over the fundamental reality in America since the 1970’s - there’s an economic crisis underway for working Americans. And it’s not surprising that right wing populism is diversionary—if you look at its funders you find the economic elites its rank and file despise.
Progressive populism is something very different. Progressive populists seek to address the economic realities of 2014 directly by advocating policies that would create jobs and drive up wages-- making the society fairer and creating opportunities for those who work hard. Progressive populists favor what I like to call the submerged majoritarian agenda—the economic agenda a majority of Americans strongly support but that can’t get any traction in Washington.
What is this submerged agenda?
It’s policies that make our country fairer right now—like increasing the minimum wage, restoring workers ability to bargain with employers, and taxing millionaires and giant corporations at levels that reflect how much of the country’s wealth and income they now have.I'm not going to whine about the results from last week's election. However, I am going to cheer long and loud for renewed progressive populism. That is the political future of the egalitarian America envisioned in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.
Nevertheless, politics is 24/7, 365. So, what now?
Over the next couple of months, state, county and legislative district political parties reorganize.
Who will constitute the executive committee of the Arizona Democratic Party for the next two years? Who will lead the county and legislative district party organizations?
County and LD party groups conducted aggressive grassroots campaign activities which were vital to the effort to win more seats in the legislature. Reportedly, nationwide, Democrats lost an average of seven seats in each state legislature. Given the overall political climate, these efforts were instead largely responsible for maintaining the Democratic position for the upcoming 52nd Legislature.
Names have already begun popping up for speculation. I've heard a few of those names. But I've only spoken with one person who is considering running for such a leadership position. Of course, there will need to be more than just chairmanships at issue because it takes a village, not a king or queen.
You can count on me to continue stirring the pot.
On the issue of politics 24/7, 365, two things are on my radar at the moment that I hope will interest you.
First, as many people expect, the movement to put a marijuana legalization measure on the ballot for 2016 has begun. Safer Arizona, which conducted the 2014 campaign, is starting right away to raise money to print petitions and begin circulating them. To that end, the group has established a crowdfunding project on Indiegogo.com.
Direct democracy ensures the will of the people is made into public policy and law. Please contribute. Together, let's make this happen.
Second, filmmaker Frances Causey, producer/director of Heist: Who Stole the American Dream, is working on a new documentary project, Duh-moc-ruh-see! The Movie.
In our film we “kick the tires" of American democracy, revealing some very uncomfortable truths about an America always thought to be egalitarian. Be assured in our film you won’t get the "moonlight and magnolias" version of 1776 commonly found in textbooks.
Duh-moc-ruh-see! The Movie is a truthful “connect the dots account”, one that sheds much light on our current troubles. We believe that as flawed as our nation’s founding was, the US has done some things really admirable like the Bill of Rights, which we explore in the film.Causey has also established a crowdfunding project on Indiegogo.com.
One of the problems in the 2014 election was that potential voters (the ones who stayed home and refused to participate) don't understand American government, politics and civics enough to realize how voting empowers them. Duh-moc-ruh-see! The Movie will get the message across to those voters.
Please contribute. And together, let's make THIS powerful movie happen.
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE
Updated vote totals for LD4 and LD9 House races (above) became available from the Secretary of State's website late this afternoon. They include both Pima and Maricopa County vote updates.
In LD4, Charlene Fernandez now leads the Republican by 65 votes. In LD9, Randy Friese now leads incumbent Ethan Orr by 247 votes.