I'm going to blog on a subject that I don't blog on very much. The state Democratic Party and why I am proud to be a member of the State committee. This weekend we will meet in Phoenix to elect our state party leadership.
What has impressed me about the whole system is that it is very open to newcomers. I first ran into Claudia Maestas, our former party chair pretty much on the last day anyone could file to run for precinct committeeman in 2002. I hadn't really given it much thought, but she talked me into it, and I got the signatures and the rest of it together in about 24 hours (not hard, really-- in my small precinct I only need 6 valid signatures from registered Democrats, though I always get a full page of 15-- it's a great way to meet people.) Within two years I was a county Vice Chair (a position I still hold but will relinquish when my term expires at the end of this year). I also have been a member of the state committee for about that same amount of time.
Further, members of the state leadership (including DNC positions) are filled by election from among the members of the state committee. There has been plenty of electioneering going on, but hey-- that's how democracy works. My own party chair, Ken Smith, is running for First Vice Chair of the state party. Unfortunately he has to be away, keeping an obligation he made to a sick friend. But that's how he is-- he won't break a promise no matter what the situation is. We will do the best job we can for him.
The fact is, that I have seen by now how the Democratic party is much more of a party in which the people from the ground up are able to make a difference than is the GOP. In 2004, Howard Dean supporters became very influential in the party and elected a DNC which supported him for chair (and clearly the right choice). This stands in stark contrast to the Republican party which is so hidebound and run from the top down (not even my words, I heard that straight from the lips of a Republican activist) that they haven't even had a Presidential ticket that didn't feature a Bush or a Dole since the Nixon-Agnew ticket of 1972. This next election will make that 36 years, assuming the GOP nominee doesn't tap Liddy Dole for veep (if there is one silver lining to George W. Bush's incompetent ruination of America, it is that there is zero chance that Jeb Bush will ever become President).