I don’t think I’ve ever had so many people ask me if Boulder Weekly is going to endorse in the primaries as I have this year. And while the answer is the same as it has been for the past quarter of a century (no) I do understand the question and the sense of urgency that most often accompanies it these days.
In our 25-year history, this paper has always viewed primaries as strictly party business; Democrats choosing their candidate for the next general election and Republicans doing the same. After the parties have finished their business, we go to work and weigh-in come general election time. In the past I have always felt this was a proper approach, but now I’m having second thoughts.
For all practical purposes, we have become a country where four parties are being forced to participate in two primaries. I’m not discounting Greens and Libertarians, it’s just that their process for picking candidates is going just fine. It’s the Democrats and Republicans that are screwed up.
There have long been political battles waged in the primary season between the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and its establishment, money-controlled membership. Same is true of traditional Republicans and their party’s more extreme right-wing elements. But the elections of 2016 changed things considerably.
On the right, what started as the Tea Party movement has morphed into the Freedom Caucus. This radical Republican minority of politicians and politician wannabes is nourished by Fox News propaganda and conspiracy theories, while being largely fueled by a handful of mysterious billionaires with a pretty darn scary agenda that has nothing to do with democratic ideals. They don’t seem to care if Trump got his Russian golden showers from Vladimir Putin himself so long as they get to lower taxes on the rich, kick the crap out of immigrants including children, undo anything that black president — who they still think was born in Kenya — did, and dismantle our public education system, the EPA, Medicare and Social Security.
The problem for Republicans is that the crazy racists who comprise the Freedom Caucus and their supporters just happen to be very motivated (for all the wrong reasons) primary voters who, despite their minority status within the party, have a funny way of winning June elections.
Because of this threat of being “primaried,” normally sane Republicans, more often than not, can be found putting on their MAGA dunce caps at primary time in order to fend off their in-party rivals. The problem is, they are increasingly having trouble taking them back off because Trump’s supporters have now become a full-blown cult out to destroy anyone with the political guts to disparage their dispenser of the Kool-Aid.
This is not healthy.
On the Democratic side, 2016 exposed a whole different set of problems. Progressives, championed by Senator Bernie Sanders, may well have been the majority of Democratic voters nationally as they were in Colorado… had the primary been conducted on a level playing field. Instead, the establishment wing of the party — funded largely by the self-interested billionaires of the inappropriately named Democracy Alliance, Wall Street and corporate America — rigged the Democratic National Committee (DNC) against Sanders and flaunted its own brand of racism; “Did you see how white his audience was last night in Michigan?” she said to a mostly black crowd in South Carolina.
While such disgusting political ploys by one faction of the party secured the primary victory for the establishment candidate, they also assured a Trump presidency by pushing underemployed, white, blue-collar workers of the Rust Belt into Trump’s faux-populist camp.
Unfortunately, establishment Dems at the top didn’t learn the lesson of their 2016 impropriety that has led our democracy to the brink. Instead they are once again using the same inter-party tactics of division, and if Democratic voters allow it to succeed on the primary level a second time, I suspect it could once again be the party’s undoing in the general election.
Remember the definition of insanity: screwing members of your own party in the same way over and over again while expecting different results.
The establishment wing of the Democratic Party controls the DNC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the big money, and they are once again using them all to try to diminish the influence of Democratic voters at the local level during this year’s primaries. The DCCC has been making national news this primary cycle because the monied interests who control it have been caught trying to tip the scales in their chosen candidate’s favor from the Carolinas to Texas to Colorado, from CD6 to CD2.
Which brings us to Boulder County. It’s too late for BW to interview every candidate and research every issue, follow the money trails and endorse in this year’s primaries. But I believe that it may well be time for this paper to change its policies and start endorsing primary candidates in the future. That is going to be my recommendation going forward.
If the establishment Dems, who control the party apparatus and the big money, are going to use those things to interfere in local primaries like our CD2 race, then this paper has an obligation to expose it, and do our best to give our readers all the information they need to make informed political decisions.
That said, I’m not waiting until next time. I have already used this space to explain why I don’t believe that the establishment Dem’s candidate, Joe Neguse, is the right person to represent the voters of CD2. I’m tired of politicians taking tons of money and help from the DCCC, corporations, lobbyist/law firms and wealthy individuals all the while claiming that such money isn’t buying influence. That is pure crap. If it didn’t buy influence it wouldn’t be handed out like candy to those willing to take it.
Neguse has chosen to work for a number of law firms with extremely questionable ties and tactics. You can’t take a paycheck from a firm that is suing California to force it to use electricity generated by burning coal all the while pretending that since you didn’t work on that case you aren’t tainted. You can’t take campaign funds from the firm or attorneys who profited by suing Longmont over its fracking ban while claiming to be a protector of the environment. I’ve had it with establishment politicians who talk a good game while clearly being committed to nothing more than the political status quo that got us in this mess in the first place.
Joe Neguse has made decision after decision in his political life and career that clearly demonstrate that he is willing to go along with the powers that be for his own benefit politically and financially, all the while claiming that he is somehow removed from the influence of those powers.
Well Mr. Neguse, I’m not buying it. From where I sit, you are a cliched establishment Dem that will do the Democracy Alliance/DCCC bidding at every turn in exchange for their promise to give and keep you in power. You may be a nice guy but no one who takes their money has the superpower to ignore them later on. For years now you have been the guy they wind up and send out to the next race telling everyone else to stand down, it’s Joe’s turn.
If Neguse wins, I have no doubt he will continue to support his establishment Dem puppeteers’ pro-oil and gas positions that are killing the planet and will never vote for single-payer health care or anything else his promoters oppose. His rhetoric may say something different at election time, but we know exactly what the establishment wing of the Democratic Party really stands for and what its funded minions will do after the votes come up.
So we all need to look in a mirror and ask ourselves, “was the whole Bernie revolution thing just a game?” I thought the idea was to elect progressive candidates in the future at every level of government, candidates who would actually fight for the planet’s survival by opposing fracking not some stupid insincere claim of liking clean air and clean water while gleefully accepting the endorsements of politicians like Ken Salazar, Anadarko Petroleum’s grim reaper of fracking himself. Of course Salazar endorsed Neguse, because he knows his cash cow — the oil and gas industry — will be in safe hands if Neguse is elected.
Endorsements do matter. They tell us a lot. And Neguse’s endorsements are a who’s who of powerful national establishment Dems and their funders and local Democratic Party insiders who are currently, or will soon be holding out their hands begging for the same money from the same funders that are pushing Neguse.
This has to stop at some point, folks, and CD2 is the perfect place. You don’t have to worry about the Republicans winning in CD2 regardless of which Dem candidate you vote for in the primary. CD2 has been gerrymandered into one of the safest Dem districts in the country. Either Joe Neguse or his progressive Democratic challenger Mark Williams will be the winner come fall.
So no excuses. If you vote for the establishment’s status quo candidate Joe Neguse instead of the actual progressive in this race, Mark Williams, who is the only person running who has real positions on the environment, fracking, health care, etc., then do me one favor: shut up and stop complaining about the current lousy state of our nation and its political system.
Seriously, as far as I’m concerned, Neguse voters lose their right to complain or point fingers at anyone other than themselves.
On June 26 you get to vote for more of the same with Neguse and his billionaire blueprint puppeteers or for real, progressive change with Mark Williams. I endorse Williams.
That’s it. It’s your choice. Our revolution lives or dies with you. So let’s show them there are things in this world more powerful than their money.
This is the personal opinion and endorsement of Joel Dyer only and does not necessarily reflect the position of Boulder Weekly.