Do we look like were afraid?
As I watched the diaries roll on by, with people adamantly calling for primaries against Democrats who supported Fast Track legislation, I kept asking the same question I always ask when votes go down like this: Who?
But it isn't just having a lack of viable challengers to Democrats who go astray from the party line. Liberal Democrats lack of depth in political offices also affects the policy choices Democrats choose to fight on, more often than not ceding ground to Republicans and fighting on their turf. I'll try and be brief.
Both Virginia Senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, voted for the Fast Track legislation. Now, one has to ask: Did either of these men fear any political repercussion for this vote? I'm willing to wager a hearty no. For this reason: There are other statewide Democratic elected official in the state other than those two:
One is Governor Terry MacAuliffe, a noted supporter of the WTO and free trade generally. He said nothing about TPP.
Lt. Governor Ralph Northam has described himself publicly as a fiscal conservative and social liberal. He said nothing about TPP.
Attorney General Mark Herring is of similar disposition as Ralph Northam. He said nothing about TPP.
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Dick Saslaw is of similar disposition as Mark Herring. He said nothing about TPP.
House Minority Leader Del. David Toscano is of similar disposition as Dick Saslaw. He said nothing about TPP.
I could go on.
The point being, none of these potential challengers formed what could have been a "left flank" of pressure for either Warner or Kaine. Had either of them had to worry that a potential challenger was using the issue to gain sufficient support to push them out of the nomination, I suspect their votes would have been different.
This is why, ladies and gentlemen, I cannot emphasize enough that the focus of the Left's ire over the economic policy direction of the Democratic Party has to begin at the local level, not at the presidency. It is those local offices where better Senators are groomed. It is those local offices where better Presidents are groomed.
Let me give you an even more glaring example: Rapidly growing, suburban Loudoun County, VA. If a Democrat wants to win statewide, either for Senator or Governor or President, you've got to win this county.The country is 15% Asian, 12% Latino, 7% Black, and the rest White. In 2008, Barack Obama got 54% of the vote. In 2012, Barack Obama got 52% of the vote. Tim Kaine won this county. Mark Warner won this county.
Yet, in spite of these numbers, Loudoun County has a 9 member Board of Supervisors that is ALL REPUBLICAN. All nine! The Sheriff is a Republican. The District Attorney is a Republican. The frickin Clerk of the Court is a Republican. We know there is a Demcoratic vote there, but the problem is Liberal Democrats aren't winning it when it counts.
What would it take to elect a Democratic Sheriff in Loudoun County? Republican Mark Chapman won in 2011 with about 26,800 votes, or 54%. Turnout was about 30%. The other two candidates were independents. Democrats didn't even field a candidate.
Didn't even field a candidate in a county where Barack Obama racked up 82,000 votes. If Democrats had just turned out 30% of that, that's 24,600 votes for a Democratic Sheriff. If a good candidate turns out just even a few more points, you've got a brand new political star on your hands. A liberal winner in a key county, in a key state. A future Congressperson. A future Senator. A future President. A no vote on future trade deals. Or, at minimum, somebody who scares the bejesus out of Warner or Kaine and makes them vote right.
Its these kinds of races where just even a little attention could make a huge difference. Our bench is ridiculous. There is nobody sitting on it. In this country, you need a name on a ballot to win an office, not feelings. You can't beat someone with nobody. If Liberals get as serious about this as they are about the presidential primary stakes, you're going to see a lot more positive results when it matters most.
Political waves and revolutions don't start at the top. They start at the bottom.
7:57 AM PT: I should note this list of Democratic candidates running for office in Loudoun County THIS YEAR who need some support. Except the guy running for Sherriff, Brian Allman, who is a complete clown and a disaster. Another result of having a weak bench and lack of attention to candidates.