Friday, May 15, 2015

More Democratic Party Games

Last week, I pointed out how the Democratic Party of Wisconsin is becoming more and more like their counterparts on the farther right in that the party has become under the control of the establishment machine.

Unfortunately, it appears that I was just scratching the surface.

With the DPW convention just two short weeks away, the deadline for applying to be a delegate to the convention is close of business today.  To be a delegate, one has to pay the $25 membership fee ($10 for low income) and then another $25 to go to the convention.  And that's if you live in town.  If you are upstate, then you also need to get an overpriced hotel room for a couple of nights.

The number of delegates from each county is determined by the number of Democratic votes in the last presidential election.  Obviously, this would favor Dane County and Milwaukee County, since they have the largest populations and also have the highest concentration of delegates.

If the number of applicants is equal or less than the number of delegate seats allowed, there is no problem. All applicants should get a seat.

However, if the number of applicants exceed the number of allowed delegates, then the party officers decide who gets to be a delegate and who is slotted as a reserve delegate.  The problem with this is that it is rather arbitrary.

County party officials are supposed to make their decisions based on who is the most active and who are the strongest supporters of the Party - a rather subjective basis that gives short shrift to the grassroot activists in favor of the establishment members.

This is even more disconcerting when one considers that in places like Milwaukee County, party officials like Marlene Ott have come out in full support of Jason Rae.  Given the personalities of many of these officials, it is not a great leap of logic to believe that they would favor Rae supporters over others.  Or in other words, one would have to pass their purity test.

Then at the convention itself, they do not have a secret ballot. This way the Party bosses can make sure that the delegates vote the way they're supposed to.  I pity the delegate that doesn't vote the "right way."

Furthermore, the vote is a plurality vote, meaning that the winner is the one that has the most votes, not necessarily the majority of votes.  That means the winning candidate could get just 21% of the vote to carry the election.

Now, given that the bulk of delegates will be coming from Milwaukee and Dane Counties, and that Jason Rae has been out there working the system even before Mike Tate formally announced that he was finally going to step down, it doesn't seem that there is a snowball's chance in Hell that this will be a truly fair election.

I checked Rae's website and Facebook page, but I could not find his plan on how he is going to reunite the party when he has to game the system just to win the chair.

I tell you, the Working Families Party cannot get here soon enough.


  1. If there's anything the current leadership, which would then be perpetuated by Rae, is unqualified to talk about, it's winning elections other than this one (party chair). The most active progressives I know stopped going years ago. Rae's election will just be the final nail in the coffin for folks like that.

  2. Of course there's no plan to "reunite" the party. The people who run it want all those pesky grassroots that joined in 2011 to go away.

    FWIW both Martha Laning and Jeff Smith have pledged to honor the secrecy of the ballots and will not ask to find out who voted for whom.

    Have Joe Wineke and Jason Rae made similar pledges? (Maybe they have, but I haven't seen it.)

  3. Everything you say is true. When I ran against Tate two years ago, he did everything he could to keep me off the ballot. He had his associates attack me non stop as though running for Chair was a capital crime. I was told(by a member of the legislature) that first of all, nobody cares who the chair is and his only job is to raise money. When I argued that Tate lost everything in the state, they said it wasn't his fault. It appears to me that the Democratic Party exists so that Mike Tate and his associates can have good paying jobs from which they will never be fired no matter how poor a job they do. Will that change at this years convention? The odds are against it.

  4. Im not surprised. In Manitowoc County a NON-paying NON-member was allowed to sit on the exec committee while actively supporting a right wind candidate for city office. Go figure! Now the guy that permitted this is 6 CD chair and a Lanning supporter. Go figure!

  5. I contacted my local chari months ago and asked to be a delegate but have not ever gotten any confirmation. I renewed my membership. I have forgotten how this is handled. Do you pay at the door? No one is answering this.

  6. You can pay at the door. If you paid before the deadline (Friday 5-15) the cost was $25. It's $35 at the door.

  7. Have you ever noticed where these people work between state party jobs? Lot's of groups hire them, it's like a revolving door for some -- Tate headed Fair Wisconsin because, apparently no actual gay person who had first hand experience with what gays deal with or a long term association with the gay community from inside was qualified to run Fair Wis. And, what was his pay from the Dean campaign?

  8. And, Jason Rae had my support when he first ran for DNC member because he was a college student and that was his big pitch -- reaching the youth vote. So, ask yourselves how that worked out for the Dem.s other than Obama......