Western Super Tuesday? Convention in the West?
Here at Western Democrat, there have been two big ideas tossed out - as mechanisms for helping push the Democratic Party toward a Western strategy.
The first is a Western Super Tuesday - a single day when many (if not most) of the Western states would host a primary election. Obviously, this would require action by the many state legislatures - and would probably have to be lead by the Secretaries of State in those states.
The second idea is a Democratic Convention in the inland West - something that's never happened. Since 1960, the convention has been in California twice (SF 1984, LA 2000) but otherwise never west of Chicago. This would require action by the DNC, perhaps more achievable.
So, I want assess interest. Should we mount a campaign for one or both of these ideas? Along with spreading the meme and promoting the strategy, should these be our driving goals over the next few years? Tell us what you think in the comments...
A little background reading
The 2004 convention site selection process and timeline
The DNC's 2008 nomination calendar commission
The National Association of Secretaries of State regional primary proposal for 2008.
Your Personal Note:
It was really disappointing they way the western states were unable to come together for a western primary in the late '90s.
The western convention seems like a brilliant idea.
FYI: The DNC Western Regional Caucus is meeting on the 22nd:
January 22, 1:00 PM (tentative)
Western Regional Caucus
500 Leisure Lane, Off of Highway 160
The Western Region (in DNC term) includes: Alaska, American Somoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming
Posted by: Bob Brigham | Jan 8, 2005 11:59:28 AM
I think it would be a very interesting idea to see the convention held in a place like Denver, I wonder if Webb's candidacy for DNC chair can get some attention to the city.
Posted by: Logan Ferree | Jan 8, 2005 1:46:33 PM
Anything to get more attention on the West. But I'll just speak to the one in which I'm most interested, that of holding the 2008 convention somewhere in the West.
First, why I think it would be great. With the party's nomination now being wrapped up in primaries, the Democratic National Convention is a nothing more and nothing less than a big show in which core values are displayed to a television audience (well, that and our pick for Pres. gets to talk some). How beautiful would it be if in 2008, among those key values were an embrace of ambition and industriousness, conservation of our wildlife and resources, and a rejection of government/Washington interference in private lives; a new focus on Hispanics and other pioneering minorities, who in themselves represent so well that mixture of big dreams, industriousness, and self-sacrifice for the sake of improving the lot of one's family--values which MADE our country, and have always been our central virtue and driving force; a new image of sun-soaked men and women who love the outdoors and our natural wildlife as they love other aspects of our national heritage; and a general delight in our country's historic greatness, natural beauty, and sheer magnitude.
Better than cocktail-sipping suits in Boston, anyway.
Second, some specifics: i.e. Where? As interesting as a small town might be for showcasing the values we stand for, we can only realistically expect that the largest of cities have the infrastructure to actually host the massive event. Thus, according to the page linked above, the DNC initially sent out letters to the country's largest 34 cities. Of those, 8 are in the West: Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Pheonix, Portland (OR), San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Salt Lake City. Tell me if you think I'm wrong, but it seems to me that the single biggest criteria for what would make a good host city is that it provides the best possible backdrop for the show of values we want to put on inside; i.e., the ideas it cues up in the minds of average Americans are kinda like the ones I listed above. I think that effectively rules out Las Vegas (showgirls and gambling), Salt Lake City (Mormons), and—sorry—anywhere in California (liberals, Hollywood, surfing). Seattle doesn’t fare too well either (liberals, alternative rock bands, coffee shops). Denver and Colorado, on the other hand, do quite well on this count, throwing up images of mountains, cowboys, and skiing along with other outdoor/adventure activities. With Pheonix being probably too conservative to be interested in playing host, that leaves Portland, Oregon as the last remaining (and somewhat bland) option. So I think it’s gotta be Denver.
Another reason to back Denver as our host city of choice would be to reward the Colorado Democratic Party for its kick-ass job of late: won back the state house, won back the state senate, picked up an open U.S. Senate seat, and won an open U.S. House seat. Prominent on the list of stuff we’d like to display, as well as the list of those who ought to be congratulated, are those wonderful Salazar brothers. In fact, let’s not stop with putting them on stage; I say we at WesternDemocrat should push to have John “send a farmer to Washington” Salazar picked up as the Democratic nominee’s vice-presidential running mate. That’d be another great project: draft John Salazar.
Now, how do we get it done? Well, first of all, as Bob Brigham helpfully points out above, the DNC’s Western Regional Caucus meets Jan. 22 in Sacramento. As I’m currently in Guatemala, I’m not going to be able to make it. :) But can anyone else go, maybe talk to some folks? And by the way, who’s in that caucus? Does anyone have a list of DNC members by state? Let’s write some letters and make some calls. State party leaders would be another good group to start contacting. Again, can someone put together a list? Next, it looks like there’ll be some sort of Site Advisory Committee. As soon as that gets made, let’s hit those guys hard: It’s gotta be Denver 2008 or they’re clearly not thinking about the direction and needs of the party. I read somewhere that Kerry pushed for and got the Convention to be in Boston, himself being the early establishment frontrunner. So that might be the major obstacle: an Indy convention for Bayh or New York for Hillary.
Not only do I think this would be a great campaign for this site to take on, I think it’s one that could easily gain traction in the rest of the blogosphere. A lot of folks are looking West these days and are looking for a way to push the DNC on the issue. Let’s give ‘em one.
And I’ll tell you another way to work on it. Somebody oughta call Simon Rosenberg and tell him that if he backs the Western Convention idea, then WesternDemocrat will endorse him for DNC chair instead of Webb. Some of the other Western blogs might do likewise. Webb’s not going to win; Rosenberg’s in our camp on looking West anyway, so he’d be a great pick for us; and I’d imagine he’d be very receptive to the idea. Let’s get him to say so in a couple weeks when he speaks in Sacramento.
So um... yeah, I say we do it.
Posted by: Colorado Gringo | Jan 8, 2005 9:01:27 PM
I would say that the Western Primary is more important than the Western Convention, even though that would be cool.
Super Tuesday (the Southern version) backfired on its proponents in 1988, actually helping Jesse Jackson more than any of the DLC candidates. On the other hand, it pretty much propelled Bill Clinton to the convention four years later.
The convention would be more symbolic than anything else. Short of a huge event to focus on, such as 9/11 and the Republicans NYC convention, place matters less. I don't think it mattered much that the Dem convention was in Boston last summer. But, if it were to be held out here, I would either vote for Denver, Phoenix or Seattle.
Posted by: Emmett O'Connell | Jan 9, 2005 12:43:23 PM
I like both these ideas.
Regarding the convention: Denver would be a good choice, for all of the excellent reasons cited by Colorado Gringo. (However, I would like to object to the characterization of Portland as bland.) Looking at the list of places conventions have been held, it's obvious that it's time for the inland west to host one.
Regional primaries: A good idea that should have been implemented a long time ago. What I don't understand is why everyone wants to protect Iowa and New Hampshire, even under this scenario. Other areas could perfect retail politics if they ever got the chance.
One advantage of a regional primary is that the candidates have to spend a lot less time traipsing across the country and back. It should save travel time and help them consolidate advertising and allow the candidates to focus on that part of their platform applicable to the region.
I also think that much of the country feels disenfranchised by the current primary process.
I will be attending the meeting in Sacramento Jan. 22 as a delegate. I'll talk to people about it.
Posted by: Jenny Greenleaf | Jan 10, 2005 6:24:43 PM
A Denver convention would be GREAT! The key, though is to get the Denver Mayor (Hickenlooper) behind it. In 2000, Denver launched a pretty intensive campaign at the LA convention to get the 2004 convention. Mayor Webb led that effort.
However, after Webb saw the intensity and complexity of the Los Angeles convention, he made the decision to drop the campaign because he did not want to deal with the hassles of a convention in Denver in 2004. But it sure would be great to have the movement re-arise and work toward an inland West convention in 2008!
Posted by: Dan Slater | Jan 11, 2005 10:33:45 AM
And lets not forget the nice new Colorado Convention Center complete with scenic views of the Rockies!
Posted by: Curious Stranger | Jan 11, 2005 4:23:13 PM
Quick response regarding location. Of the major western cities, Salt Lake City (SLC) offers an opportunity to discuss why Westerners should look at the candidates that support them. Points to consider about SLC: 1) The 2002 Olympics left the city with ample infrastructure for the event; 2) Mormons have not always been conservative voters, and SLC is moving to the left as the city grows; 3) SLC is rapidly feeling the effects of environmental pollution; 4) Utahns have an interest in protecting the outdoor resources they utilize; 5) Finally, if the Dems can make it there, they'll make it anywhere....
Posted by: Liberal Gunowner | Jan 12, 2005 11:45:20 AM
And don't forget, L.G., the mayor of Salt Lake is a Democrat - Rocky Anderson
Posted by: Kari Chisholm | Jan 12, 2005 7:03:06 PM
I like the idea of a centralized date for western primaries, mostly because it would be easier for candidates to get to more states. I live in Oregon and our primary is in June, which makes it fairly unimportant. I don't undestand why any state party would do that to itself.
Obviously I also object to Portland being called bland, not only because it's a beautiful city but because I just don't find these backhanded jabs useful when there's already so much divisiveness. Just like I don't like the jab at Boston. If moving the party west ends up alienating the northeast, we've accomplished nothing. I also don't know why anybody would want to help the right label the northeast which is a big part of their strategy. Or why anybody would promote going after the hispanic vote while making jabs at a region that is strong with the black minority vote. Pioneering minority? They built the agricultural south, planted the crops, shipped the crops, built the plantation houses and cities. They were the troops that were called towards the end of the Civil War when much of the rest of the north didn't want to go.
It seems to me that in rebuilding this party, the biggest obstacle we have to overcome is the stereotyping made by the right over the last twenty years. I hope as western Dems move forward they don't make the same mistakes as the D.C. consultants which has been reacting to right wing fallacies instead of forging a bold new path based on the true values of Americans, once you get past the partisan rhetoric.
Posted by: Sandy | Jan 24, 2005 6:18:57 PM
Why not San Diego? The city is in California, a liberal blue state, but the city itself is very conservative for its size. Its the 7th largest city in America and it has a long history of electing GOP candidates, so why not shake up their image and present a liberal platform to the city? The GOP held their's there in 1996, it has the convention center and hotel capacity, plus the city is used to holding large events (3-4? super bowls and olympic previews). Its not your typical liberal elite California city, plus the weather is better there than anywhere else in the country in August!
Posted by: indyPENdent | Feb 16, 2006 6:40:26 AM
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(and yes, we know that sometimes they're very, very wrong. Other times, they're right on.)