Activism is part of the CA Dem Convention, here calling for a single-payer platform plank (LA Times)
UPDATE Jan. 3, 2019 – A huge part of what made watching California’s 2017 Democratic Convention worth watching (live-streamed by CA friends), was a contentious battle for CA Dem Chair between Kimberly Ellis and Nick Bauman. Bauman won a highly-debatable vote – longtime party insider over talented, younger organizer – with all kinds of accusations flying from the Ellis camp against Bauman – including accusations of fraud including ballots destroyed and threats against Ellis’ delegates, and CADEMS refusal on a recount request. A month ago, Nick Bauman was forced to resign, after multiple accusations of sexual harassment and unwelcome touching. Ellis lost by 62 votes (of nearly 3,000 cast), and months later still hadn’t conceded. I’m convinced there were shenanigans. But what’s clear to me is that the life in this party is with the reformers. The alliances were damn interesting: Ellis would have been the first black woman CA Dem chair; Bauman was the first openly gay in the role. Ellis was the Bernie-backed candidate; Bauman the more establishment choice. But Ellis was actually instrumental in Clinton’s California primary win, and in fact was training women candidates to follow in Hillary’s footsteps as director of CA’s Emerge training for Dem women candidates. Interesting. But not why I’m flagging California’s messy but vibrant party for you. I stand by my call – with CA’s as example – for a true and visible Dem convention in NJ where decisions are made, as better than having key decisions made by only a few dozen state committee members in a meeting of foregone conclusions and figurative cigar smoke, or by unseen, unelected party bosses in turf battles. We deserve a more representational & transparent party. I also respect the contrary arguments made in Comments below; change is hard and discussions like this IMO make our party stronger. Read on. This is from May 2017:
This is the California State Democratic Party Convention, below live-streamed by a Facebook friend of mine, Brian Lis. Going on right now in Sacramento. Elected representatives from all over CA are meeting to set the party’s platform, hear from Gov candidates, and elect a Party Chair and officers. This isn’t how we choose our party leadership. or decide our party’s direction; that happens in a much smaller room with insiders on first-name basis. And our gubernatorial nominee is decided 6 months before county conventions (which rubber stamp as chairs expect). It’s all set before the locally elected county committee people hear about it, faster still if money is involved.
This is how California does Democrats: Every 2 years, there are local party elections – “ADEMS,” read more here – selecting Dems who work regionally then rep their districts in this giant convention in the state capitol. In January’s ADEM elections, the coalition of Berniecrats won 60% of the seats, in a coalition with Labor and progressive groups. Bernie people are taking over CA’s party, which insists it was already progressive before that election (it was not). A marker of that progressive surge will be the election of CA’s new Dem Chair; the progressive wing largely backing Kimberly Ellis, outgoing EmergeCalifornia director, over Eric Bauman. That’s not how our next chair will be chosen; that will be the choice of the Guv nominee, rubber-stamped by the state committee, who in most or all counties are effectively chosen by the county chairs, who effectively choose the nominee, months before most active Dems are clued in.
Ask yourself why we don’t have anything like this in New Jersey. Ask why big decisions are made in undemocratic ways, why who’s on the State Committee isn’t on the NJDSC website if that small team is making so many big decisions for us all. Ask questions, if you think they should be asked. I love my party, and we have both good and less good people in it. But we have nothing like the democratic process I see below – a real convention, where decisions are made, factions vie for control and issues are on the table. Ask why.
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