Checkpoint: California Democratic Party


On the national platform, the Democratic Party is about as ‘on-topic’ as an Alzheimer’s sufferer with a subscription to Breitbart. The Democrats, like typical middle-aged men putting off a trip to the doctor, are trying to ignore the glaring messages their body is sending them. In California however, the state democrats are voicing their corporeal dysfunction out in the open. 

The division in the Democratic Party between the establishment and progressives is as conspicuous as a toupee. Everybody in the room knows its there, but the ‘big wigs’ are too heavily invested in the status quo to admit it. It’s their business after all. In Washington D.C. the Democrats have been attempting to brush the division ‘under the rug’, that rug being Donald Trump, and what a conspicuously distracting rug he has, sorry, is*. In the Californian sun however, long an enemy to the ginger, the state democrats are engaged in what some in the media are calling, albeit stupidly, a ‘civil war’.

Perhaps the Californian Democrats willingness to fight each other is due to a distinct lack of anyone else to fight. Chaos is a ladder after all. The party is in control of virtually every office state-wide, and holds a supermajority in the Legislature to boot. Indeed, the Californian Republican Party is unable to provide much competition as all its resources have been devoted to its battle against the Union of Orca Show Trainers – neither wanting the title as the most unpopular group in California. The D.C. Democrats grand fingers-in-their-ears strategy means that many around the country have shifted their focus to California, thus pressurizing the party debate.

The debate is centred on a leadership fight for the chairmanship of the party. The new chairman, Eric C. Bauman, narrowly won at the party convention in May by 57 votes out of 3,000. His primary opponent, Kimberly Ellis, has challenged the outcome. Ellis claims there were voting improprieties, such as ineligible votes, which allowed Mr. Bauman to win. The Party says it will issue a final ruling on August 20th. However, Ellis has stated that if the party rules against her she will go to court.

The divide is between the liberal and moderate wings of the party. However, like most divides in U.S. politics, all the names seem to have been picked out of a hat. The Republicans, with their distaste for republicanism, want a kleptocracy (they’ve had one for decades, but like the depressive consumers they prize, nothing seems to satisfy). Democrats, deaf to the demos, don’t know what they want and are thoroughly confused. Neo-conservatives are the Republicans who don’t understand what neo-conservatism is. Far-right Republicans are what could be safely called The Republican Party. Moderate Democrats are conservatives. Liberal Democrats are the progressive-left, although they are oft regressive and commonly go in the other direction. Progressives wish the country could progress to the point where the problems of other developed countries start. Everyone else, which is most people, are either too poor to care, or not rich enough to notice. There is one exception of course, that being Bill Murray, who just seems to be enjoying his life.

What has been called the liberal left wing of the party is slowly, but by no means surely, assuming the primacy of the party nationwide. This ascendancy is being powered by the popularity of figures like Bernie Sanders who advocate a vein of democratic socialism (which is actually liberal and left wing), meaning nominative determinism is taking place in American politics, a rare sight.

This shift is also evident in the Californian Democratic division, further highlighting the state as a microcosm of the national base. California’s microcosmic relevance is nothing new for the state. After all, they’ve elected celebrities to the governorship twice. If nothing else these elections microcosmically processed the nations primary requirement for electoral success – recognition.

Mr. Bauman has been politically frustrated by the Ellis’ challenge, asserting that “Ellis cannot accept that she lost the election…She’s willing to allow the party to be torn asunder in an effort to prove that she really did win.” This squabble is having an impact on the state party as a whole. As Betty T. Yee, the Democratic State Controller (Chief Financial Officer) said recently, “If we don’t do our work to really heal our divide, we are going to miss our chance to motivate Democrats.”

Interestingly, both Bauman and Yee, much like their national brethren, seem much more concerned with obfuscating the democratic divide than facing it. The divide between moderate democrats, which are as I said, essentially conservatives, and the liberal Democrats, which are essentially the moderate left, is the only real political divide in the whole country. Does the country continue to function on behalf of the perversely concentrated wealth at the very top? Or must the citizenry force dilution of this greed with a shift to the left? The desire to keep avoiding the only political discussion worth having in this country is masochistic. After all, the anxious and the desperate cannot be trusted to vote in their best interests.

Ms Ellis ran her campaign against Mr. Bauman as an outsider. Ellis previously worked as the executive director of Emerge California, an organization that recruits and trains women to run for political office. Evidently none of these recruits were as good as Ellis herself. Ellis’s campaign promise and slogan was: “Giving the Democratic Party Back to the People.” With the support of Bernie Sanders, her challenge became rapidly serious, and if not for the narrow loss, she would have been the first African-American to lead the party in California.

The Californian Democratic Party needs to decide quickly, whether it will face facts and engage in the real discussion of the age, or if it will simply brush the argument under the rug as their national counterparts have. The latter is not without its attraction however, as California will be pivotal if the Democrats are to wrangle an advantage from President Trump’s unpopularity and take control of the house. There are 7 congressional seats currently in Republican hands up for grabs, mostly in Southern California.  The Democrats need to win 24 seats from Republicans if they are to take control of the house. There is good reason for hope as well - Hillary Clinton beat Trump in all 7 districts in the 2016 election, including Orange Country, which hadn’t been won by a Democrat since FDR.

What can be said for sure is that if you’re a Democrat interested in the integrity and direction of your party, there is no use watching Capitol Hill. The destiny of the Democratic Party is manifest – “Go West, young man, go West”.