We’ve got some great local candidates running for office in Washington State this year. Darcy Burner is running for Congress in the 8th district, trying to unseat Dave Reichert, and her ability to raise money has dazzled the National Democratic Party apparatus and landed her on the cover of Roll Call. Reichert is in trouble, and Darcy Burner could very well be one of the new Congresswomen that help take back the House for Democrats this November.
One of the great successes of the Republican Party over the last twenty years has been their ability to cultivate candidates from the local level. Howard Dean’s 50 State Strategy and the investment of Party money into building up the infrastructure of the state parties across the country will help our side to do the same.
Tonight on Moral Politics, a local Seattle political talk show that airs at 6 pm PST on Channel 77 and can be seen streaming live on the web here, one of our up and comers will be talking about what he calls, “a different kind of politics.” Eric Oemig is running for the 45th District’s State Senate seat and he is a great candidate. He has spent a lot of time talking to the people in his district, visiting over 1300 homes and finding out what matters most to them, so be sure to watch, especially if you live in the 45th district because it’s time we get the representation we deserve, at every level of government.
It’s hard to get good people to run for office these days, I know I surely wouldn’t want to do it, but for those who are willing to take the plunge, we should support them in every way we can. I’m hopeful that long time activists like Mr. Oemig are taking the next step and running for office, that first time candidates like Darcy Burner are catching fire and raising money on the grass roots level, even exceeding expectations, and I’m encouraged by the vision of Howard Dean and his commitment to see the 50 State Strategy through, even as the Party elites fight him every step of the way.
We don’t want to emulate the way Republicans run their campaigns, complete with distorted information, smear tactics and voter suppression, but we can use some of their strategies that do work and that we can live with, like getting involved on the local level, cultivating candidates and supporting them in all races, from School Board to US Senate. We all know that money has corrupted our political system and that far too many of our representatives are beholden to the Corporations that helped pay their way into the halls of power, but grassroots activism works too, and we must make a serious effort to wrestle the purse strings of power from Corporate interests and take hold of them ourselves.
We must get behind good local candidates, help cultivate their talent and support them financially so that they are only beholden to us. Until we can get the money out of politics and commit to publicly funded elections, we will have to buy our candidates the same way Corporate America does. It may not be fair, but it will work. If we all do it, it won’t take much from each of us, after all, the mantra of grassroots activism is “every little bit counts.” Darcy Burner, in raising $150,000 in ten days largely from individual small donors, has proven the slogan to be true. There are lots of great local candidates out there, so find them, toss a little money their way and we will be one step closer to having real representation in government again. If you can’t beat ‘em, buy ‘em. It’s not ideal, but it’s a reality we would be well served to recognize. Hey, no one ever said politics was pretty.