What's wrong with this picture?
I don’t usually talk about how I voted, but what the heck, with so few contested positions how could you not figure out what was going on?
There was only one contested race on the republican primary ballot, United States Senator.
I went and did my civic duty. It wasn’t a problem. There were a lot of people at the election site. Unfortunately, most of them were poll workers. Like usual, it was a no-waiting affair and I read every name and considered what to do about people who were on the ballot, but not on my mind. I had read each name before, but I didn’t know them. Candidates hadn’t even bothered to get any name recognition in the weeks before Election Day.
It was an anemic affair and though I had dutifully read and watched the news about the Republican Party’s nomination process, I felt no better informed. No matter. No choice. So I held my nose and voted for the local guy, Joe Carraro. Though I’m not enamored with his stance in representing his constituency on what I see as unrestrained and unplanned growth in his district, I poked his name. He lost.
So now the Republican Party’s state central committee replaces their gubernatorial nominee. Dr. J.R. Damron is out; former flame-thrower party boss John Dendhal is in.
I had lunch the other day with an old acquaintance, with whom I worked in journalism almost 40 years ago. He had relocated me through this blog and it was the second time since that we had lunch. We share a few common interests, including journalism and politics. He has been active in the Republican Party and even ran unsuccessfully for office.
So, when we met at lunch, my first serious question was, how did the party’s central committee, which has 350 members, manage to make this mid-stream switch with only 100 members present? I thought that, like most organizations, a quorum consisted of 50 percent plus one, in order to conduct business?
His answer, “they probably broke party rules.” He went on to say that the issue of replacing the gubernatorial nominee wasn’t even on the agenda. He said he had been a member of the central committee, the last time they met, but he didn’t get a call this time. He wasn’t sure if he’d been “kicked off,” but thought he was still a member.
He lives in my neighborhood. I called the Republican Party office and confirmed he is my ward representative on the state central committee.
He was not notified and I was not represented….
So what’s wrong this picture?
Pundits have bemoaned the lack of interest in the primary election and its low turn out. The Democratic choices at the top of the form weren’t much better, though they did have some races “down ballot.”
Considering all the chatter about the Damron-Dendhal switch, in the news and blogs, I have decided to throw in my two-cents worth.
It’s about process. I voted for Damron, didn’t have a choice. Had Dendhal been on the ballot against him, I would have voted for Damron. More precisely, I would have voted against Dendhal. I don’t like his uncivilized style.
But I voted and now a faction of my party met in a backroom and took my vote away. The only one I had.
Now, I’m not saying that the party can’t replace a man who is unwilling to run or that Dendhal was not the person who would have ultimately been chosen to pick up the mantle. However, when only 100 of the 350-member central committee meet, that is not my party. My party normally advocates strict compliance with rules and laws. Those who were called to the meeting were the bullies in my party.
No wonder my fellow citizens don’t vote. They are disillusioned with politics. They have every right to be.