[Ed. note — Local political guru Matthew Owen returns with a third week of “purplish” insight. Read his previous bursts of “Mattitude” here.]
There is an ongoing philosophical debate between the voters and their local Democratic and Republican Central Committees on what their true missions are and how to best accomplish these goals. Think of the Bell Curve to get an idea of the make-up of a local political Central Committees.
Most of the people involved with the respective political Central Committees could be classified as the “fringe” or far-left (Deep Blue) and far-right (Crimson Red) leaning of each group. The problem with this is that 95% of the voters are somewhere in the middle or “purplish”. Most Democrats are blue with some red and most Republicans are red with some blue.
Here’s a sampling of recent quotes with local friends who consider themselves staunch Democrat or Republican:
Democrat: “I consider myself left of Mother Jones. But because I’m an executive who makes a significant income and wants Humboldt County to move forward from the doldrums, the Democrats here hate me.”
Republican: “Joe Bonino lost his (2012) City Council election by 290 votes. Yet there were over 350 Republicans who didn’t even bother to turn in their absentee ballots. That alone could’ve won his race. And what did the Republican Central Committee do? Nothing! Do you think they knocked on Republican doors? Hit the phone banks for Republican absentee ballot voters? No. They sat around and bitched about abortion and gay marriage, which has nothing to do with Humboldt County.”
These are examples from both sides of the fence, however they bring up a topic worth debating. What is the goal of each respective Central Committee? Is it to promote their party platforms or is it to help get local candidates elected to office? What good is it to promote local candidates that appeal to your Central Committee, but not the majority of voters? 80% of the City of Eureka and Humboldt County Supervisor candidates (outside of Arcata) endorsed by the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee have lost their contested elections since 2006.
You can’t call yourself a “progressive” unless you believe in progress.
And here is the conundrum. Our local progressives seem to be against everything. Next time you have a chat with a progressive, ask them what they are in favor of and how is that moving Humboldt County forward.
In a 2012 North Coast Journal article, two elected members of the Democratic Central Committee said, “The Democratic Party in Humboldt County recognizes that the most important issue that we’re facing as a society is the rapid climate change.” While that’s their belief, as someone who has knocked on thousands of doors and made thousands of phone calls, I can tell you that climate change isn’t even in the top ten of local Democrat voter concerns.
My point is simple. Find the best candidates that will appeal to the majority of voters and get them elected. Don’t promote someone from the extreme of either political party. Win your elections!