I generally don’t comment on the work of my fellow columnists at The Union–heck, we get enough comments from the readers–but I can’t resist replying to Hilary Hodge’s column in today’s edition about the California Democratic Party convention.
Hodge, a first-time participant, recounted that she was impressed with the activity and energy she encountered, but found fault with some aspects of the media’s coverage of the event. Specifically, she wrote that:
“The big news out of the convention was the chair’s race. Mainstream media reported the big story, framing the narrative with the tired idea that the race was about tradition vs. progress. From my experience, the division narrative is a lie.”
The race for state chairman pitted Eric Bauman, the candidate of establishment Democrats, against Kimberly Ellis, a relative unknown who was considered an outsider. Ellis lost the race by 62 votes, a result that didn’t set well with her or her supporters. Maybe that’s why they booed Bauman when he gave his acceptance speech.
Backers of Bernie Sanders felt they were mistreated during last year’s primary race by a party establishment that had already anointed Hillary Clinton as the party’s candidate (they were right) and that resentment is still evident today.
RoseAnn DeMoro, head of the California Nurses Association and a long-time Sanders backer, said before the start of the state convention that the party establishment is in “absolute crisis and denial” for refusing to move farther to the left.
Then there’s ex-Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who told the convention, “There are some who have never been in the trenches, in the fight for social and economic justice. These Davos Democrats fly over the homes of Californians left behind–have never been in their living rooms.”
Perhaps alluding to the state’s limousine liberals who bankrolled Clinton’s campaign, Villaraigosa said the party needs to prioritize the needs of bus riders over Tesla drivers. (Ouch!)
It is true that the media is always looking for a good fight and there are always dissidents to be found in anything as diverse as a political party, but the tension at the Democratic convention was real and shows the party still hasn’t figured out how to regroup in time for the mid-term elections.
If I was a Republican, I’d feel better about my chances in the mid-terms. If I was a delegate to the convention, I’d get the stars out of my eyes and focus on the real need for the party to come up with a united approach that resonates with blue-collar workers who abandoned the party last November.