An open letter to the Democratic Party
December 10, 2003
Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003
California Democratic Party
1401 21st St, Ste 100
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Democratic Party:
I have been a Democrat since I was 18 (almost 25 years). When I first
registered to vote, I assumed as a matter of course that I'd be a Democrat
for as long as I lived. But the recent mayoral race in San Francisco has
changed my mind. Today, I called the San Francisco Elections Department
and requested a new registration form, so I could change my party
affiliation to Green. I am writing to tell you why.
The mayoral campaign of Green Party candidate Matt Gonzalez was an
energetic, impassioned, grass-roots progressive effort, the likes of which
I've never seen in my nearly 25 years as a voter. People worked for
Gonzalez who had never been involved in politics to this degree, and
despite the tremendous financial and institutional resources of the
Democrat Gavin Newsom, they made the race an extremely close one.
Gonzalez's supporters are young, enthusiastic progressives, both Greens
and Democrats, who were willing to put in a tremendous amount of work for
a candidate they believed in. And their commitment and intensity could
have been a powerful resource for the Democratic Party, especially in the
upcoming Presidential election.
Instead, you chose to marshal the full force of the Democratic Party
against them, not just locally but on a state and national level. You even
sent in both former president Clinton and former vice-president Gore to
make appearances for Gonzalez's opponent. In doing so, you have alienated
these voters and made them even more angry and disillusioned with the
Democratic Party than they already were.
I am gravely disappointed that you chose to use your visibility and
resources to defeat a candidate from the left, rather than working to
fight our common opponents in the Republican Party. And I am by no means
the only Gonzalez supporter who feels this way. The Green Party -- its
candidates, officials, and voters -- share many of the same goals as the
Democrats, and they could potentially be strong allies of yours. In fact,
they already are -- most Greens currently vote Democratic in most
important elections. But by putting such a high-profile national effort
into defeating the Green candidate -- a candidate who represents
Democratic ideals far better than the actual Democratic candidate for the
office -- you have shown yourselves once again to be short-sighted,
cowardly, and somehow both craven and stupid.
I'm not going to resort to dishonest hyperbole and say that I'll never
vote Democratic again. I almost certainly will, at least in big elections
such as the 2004 Presidential race. But I am now far less willing to
support Democrats in local and statewide elections, and far more likely to
vote Green. Senator Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Nancy
Pelosi (just to name two examples) will no longer have my vote. And I am
unlikely to ever again donate money or volunteer my time to support the
Democratic party or any of its candidates for any office. You have
disappointed me many times before, but this election was the last straw.
If the recent San Francisco mayoral election was any indication, the
Democratic Party is scared to death that the Green Party might become a
real political power. And frankly, you should be scared. Your party has
been taking progressives for granted, assuming that you can count on our
support no matter how often you betray us -- and if the Greens continue to
gain in strength, this will no longer be the case. The Greens represent
the ideals that the Democratic Party once stood for and has abandoned for
corporate largesse, and the fact that they came as close as they did to
winning this race should make you pay attention. But putting such a
strong, high-profile effort into defeating them is not going to help your
cause. It is going to have the opposite effect. It is going to alienate
your progressive base even further than you already have.
Shame on you.
Postscript: Obviously, Mayor Newsom's championing of the same-sex marriage cause has softened my feelings about him somewhat (although I still have serious problems with him). But it hasn't softened my feelings about the Democratic Party one bit -- especially since they threw such a hissy-fit when the same-sex marriage thing happened. I'm still disgusted by their chicken-headed qualities and their tendency to see the left as enemies
instead of allies. If anything, the same-sex marriage brouhaha filled me
with a certain wicked glee -- the Dems put this huge effort into making
sure their golden boy got elected instead of the Green candidate, and
then their golden boy turned around and screwed them. Nyah, nyah, nyah.
Copyright 2003 Greta Christina.