29 August 2012

On the Democratic National Convention

In a matter of days I'll board a plane to my next big adventure: The 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.  I hadn't planned to blog about it really, because I don't want to be pigeon-holed as some sort of partisan hack (I'll just take the "hack," thanks!) but I think it will be useful for me and for whomever is interested to see a few thoughts here.  (Assuming I have time.)

Best of all, it will keep me from having to repeat myself!

So, first, a primer.

A political convention, in my experience, accomplishes a few things:

  • Gathers all of the party faithful and the merely curious into the same room over a period of days;
  • At the state level (in WA it is every even-numbered year) and the federal level (every Presidential election year) it offers Delegates a chance to vote on the Party's platform.  A platform is essentially a statement of values - this is where lines are drawn around every public policy issue you can think of - water rights, agriculture, choice, immigration, foreign policy...and so on.
  • Fires up activists, gives related organizations a chance to flesh out their mailing lists with delegate names, offers trainings, fundraisers, and so on for convention goers.
  • And the part that the media pays attention to: Offers the party a chance to Nominate our chosen candidates for office. This is usually routine, such as anointing a gubernatorial candidate, but sometimes other statewide races don't go so well.  In Washington State, Libertarians sued this year to keep Romney off of the ballot as a Republican candidate by arguing that the Republicans are no longer a "majority party" under state law because they didn't nominate a candidate for US Senate in 2010.  (The courts ruled against them.)
  • Also, lets not forget that national conventions are some guaranteed national spotlight that allow campaigns a shot at defining their candidates. Or not.  (Anyone remember that horrible moment in 2000 when Al Gore kissed Tipper and just wouldn't stop? Ugh.)
I attended the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, but I not as a Delegate.  I was a member of the Finance Team for the Host Committee, which was a wholly different experience than that of a Delegate because I was working at least 14-hour days.  There will be no more $25k/pp breakfasts for me this time, and no receptions at Magic Johnson's house.  No raising $50M, no giant crates of red-white-and-blue M&Ms to figure out how to distribute in delegate gift bags, no $2M media party to attend.  I also probably will not run into Rob Reiner in the stairway, so I will not have to resist temptation again to tell him how much I loved The Princess Bride.

But I'll get to The Floor this time, I will actually get to enjoy the parties to which I'm invited rather than having to work the room or babysit a billionaire.  I will have a voice in the platform, and best of all, I will be able to sign my name to the nomination form for President Obama.  I will get to know some of the extraordinary people in the Washington delegation, and from across the country.  The Historian will not be there with me as opportunities for guests, even spouses, were not guaranteed.  But it will be an amazing time, and I hope my more non-partisan readers will indulge me as I really savor this amazing experience!

For more during the day - assuming my cell phone works - follow me on Twitter at Hihankara.  The WA State Dems will also be uploading photos from our Delegation photographers daily - "like" them on Facebook for access. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that is super neat. Have fun storming the castle! :D