tmccarthy0's picture

    Running For Office Week 2.5

    Thursday, November 24, 2016, I attended the Kitsap County Democratic Party year end membership meeting.  I got there early. I commute to and from work, and my commute includes a ferry. The ferry schedule is much different from a bus schedule. A bus leaves every 10 - 15 minutes, while our state ferry system departs every 70 minutes on average. Planning around that schedule is challenging.  When you are on the ferry schedule, you must plan accordingly, which inevitably means you arrive early to your destination. Because if you are not early you will be late. There is not in between in this scenario. I know, I've tried them all.

    I arrived a little before 630 PM and there were a smattering of people setting up. I met the county chair in person. She and I had been corresponding by email earlier in the week as I'd already decided to run for local office in 2018. She was expecting me. But no one was expected the 70+ who also decided to come to help re-organize the party. Twelve members of one of the local high school US Government class who had come to observe the meeting for a class project. But everyone else had never been to a Democratic Party meeting.

    I sat back to just listen and not say much. I wanted to hear why all these people decided to come out to the meeting and what is what they thought they could do to change the party. 

    Party members relayed how much the local party spent on the last election and for whom they had allocated funds. Democratic Women, Young Democrats, and others each took their turns to talk about the last election. 

    It then came time for community members to speak.  Three middle age men were visibly angry. They wanted to make sure the party was going to change now. They had a few arguments, 1. ridding the party of super delegates (already slated to go away) 2. keeping Washington State primaries a caucus system (slated to go away) 3. sputtering anger that Bernie wasn't the nominee and lecturing the room about it.  Their anger was misplaced, and it made the room extremely uncomfortable. 

    We moved on to others. One woman had just moved here from NY. As you know, my legislative district is represented entirely by Republicans.  We had a man who had a transgender son, and he was there because Democrats are the only ones who care about his son civil rights. 

    While my local district is Red, it wasn't always that way. Norm Dicks had been our representative for decades, and because of the strength of his politics, our district had been blue for many years.  Now we flip back and forth blue, red, blue red. Democrats habitually run what I call the "perennial" candidates.  These people always run. Well, this next year one of those men has decided he will not run again, which has given me my opening in the party. But to be truthful, I would have taken him on in the primary if that had been the option. Sometimes you have to make your party richer by not allowing the same folks to keep running even though they continually lose. 

    Before the night was over the chair asked if anyone had planned to run for office. I raised my hand. I was the only person raising their hand.  The room exploded, and a cheer went out. Suddenly folks began to approach me and wanted to talk. I did. I stuck around for a while and chatted with other attendees.  That was exhilarating.  Many of them were excited to hear that someone else would run, and it would be a woman. I collected business cards from people at the meeting and can only remember parts of what we discussed. It was a long day. 

    Thursday, December 1 is my LD meeting.  I will let you all know what happens next!


    Rayne over at EmptyWheel has a nice 4-part series on how she got organizing and its travails, while I read something interesting on different women organizing for the million woman march (but can't find it right now). Good luck.

    Thanks PP. I will look for that. I have a campaign manager now and I am thinking I should go to the million woman march. I have a girlfriend right there in DC and I can stay with her. Thank you for the link! I need all the help I can get!!

    Found what I was looking for - here's another link focused on the upcoming Women's March on Washington - including a link to a training program for Democratic women, Emerge America.

    (and as usual, instead of women being able to protest and advocate as one, they get to splinter up and focus on either subfactions or their male mates or some other obligation that always takes precedent over "women for women". There is indeed a special place in hell, and it's called Planet Earth)

    To elaborate, because the march was started by "white women", it is already racist, even though they've tried to expand the scope to be more diverse (see below). If the march had been started by black women, Hispanic women, Chinese women, Native American women, Inuit women, Polynesian women, or any other subclass of women in the world, it would be celebrated from the get-go, even if they excluded white women or possibly some other "women of color". See Double Standards. Yay, progressives, yay Democrats.

    • Is this march inclusive for women of color?

    The WMW is an evolving effort and it was founded by white women. These women recognized the need to be truly inclusive, and brought together the national co-chairs, now reflected a balanced representation. The teams of organizers and volunteers working for the march, by extension, are now more fully reflective of the diversity of our nation and this trend will continue as we build steam.

    As Trump would say, "Not good enough!!!"

    It's interesting, many of the women I know who are thinking about going are more privileged financially, but they happen to be a culturally diverse group.  Some of the women I know are very outspokenly activist, I think it is because they are lawyers by profession. Others are quietly activist, and that is most women. So they must not be looking directly at us when they see us as just white. But all of these women are seriously considering attending the march.

    I am undecided as to whether or not I will take the trip to DC. On the one hand, the solidarity would be exhilarating and meaningful. On the other hand, what purpose does it ultimately serve? Will I be better off staying home and continuing to work on my campaign?

    I have taken several steps to first and foremost remove myself from the bubble and trying to immerse myself in local issues. I quit watching all cable news, it isn't really news, and am reading a variety of newspapers, (all of 'em, LOL just kidding), but concentrating first and foremost on local issues. I have a calendar of local events to attend as well. My husband isn't really excited about it but he says he will do what he has to do. 

    I signed up for the emerge America class, that is a great link! 

    I will be back again after next the meeting next Thursday and other events next weekend. 

    For what it's worth, I think your time would be better spent locally.   I wrote about my experience at the Rally to Resstore sanity (Stephen Colbert and John Stewart).  It was really fun and very inspiring, but IMO it accomplished nothing except as a "feel good" experience for all of us.  Once it was over it was over.  It certainly didn't RESTORE SANITY!

    That said, if the march were scheduled for any time prior to the 20th instead of the 21st, I might go myself.  I cant imagine what they think they will accomplish after the fact.  My greatest fear is that my son, who never saw an argument that he didn't want to join in on, is planning to go to the inauguration and boo loudly.   At this point my only hope is for a game-changing recount, or perhaps a unicorn.

    I am convinced that we need healthy and greatly fertilized grass-roots efforts. I will put my money where my keyboard is, so be sure and get your fund-raising in order!

     If you go, you will surely have a great time and get very inspired, so I wish you luck regardless of your choice!


    Following from CVille, my guess is like any conference it'll be useful if you're prepared & actively set to network your ass off in a way you can't via internet (or if it even matters for what you need to put local structure together).

    My further guess is that similar to post-Anita Hill, there's going to be a huge amount of righteous female anger welling up to harness this year, and it might be useful to get some energy off that to see you through the days of grind to come - presuming DC doesn't get diverted into a bunch of hey-ho hey-ho useless chanting and what-not.

    And while you may be thinking of what *you* get out of it, having a sense of your spirit & background, it might be more important that you're organized and figure out what you can give to others who might be enthused but not as practical (and who *is* handling the infosystems and data analytics anyway?)

    Anyway, just some presumptuous thoughts.

    There are black women who are suspicious of white feminists. The attack on. the name of the march arose because there was a previous Million Woman March led by black women in 1997. There are 3 black women now involved in the leadership of the planned January march. The situation may be less dire than the link above  portrays.

    ​Coalitions are difficult. When Sanders talks about identity politics, blacks are wary that they are about to be thrown under the bus. When people talk about working class voters, blacks sense that it is white workers being discussed and that working class blacks are invisible.

    Understood (it was included in the link I enclosed as well), but somehow we need to learn how not to dismiss an idea in its first 12 seconds, and work around any issues that need to be addressed. We've had the Sanders class-vs-race bit, the Hillary too-white/not-feminist-of-color back in 2008, etc. Also, the name of the event - while probably the MLK march has some almost sacrosanct significance, there's a question whether we think of an event as owned by a particular class, or does it start belonging to humanity itself as some kind of generic phrase like "race to the moon"?  Or can we at least discuss it without getting offended first and intransigent second?

    Conflict elicits click. We spent time on a Muslim-American glad that Trump was elected because it proves his point. The fact that the overwhelming majority of Muslims voted for Hillary gets lost. Some black women object to the march, others are fully supportive. There will always be differing opinions and people who take offense.

    Yes, just trying to improve the marketplace of ideas and spirit of cooperation. Certainly the knee-jerk reactions aren't just from one clique, but the level of self-destructive internecine fighting among Democrats and like-minded continues to be a problem leading to lack of turnout or worse, even acknowledging if the white female or Hispanic vote had gone towards Hillary the way that black males went, much less black women, it would have been a runaway.

    Great.  I hope you follow through and give it a good run.  

    Good going, Teri!  So excited for you and can't wait to hear more about your adventures in the political world.  I was a precinct delegate for a number of years--my only foray into politics--and I remember as a newbie embarrassing myself at a meeting in Lansing by asking how I should go about finding out how the voters wanted me to vote.  I thought I would have to go door-to-door to ask them.  Everyone kind of laughed but I still think asking voters what they want is an excellent idea.  Not that you can satisfy every one of them, but at least they feel like they're part of the process. 

    Good luck and have fun!

    Latest Comments