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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Friday, February 20, 2004


Congressional Democrats need our help

posted by annatopia at Friday, February 20, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
Sorry I've been AWOL (hey look, i *do* have something in common with our CinC!) for the past week or so. I've been trying to figure out where I can best focus my energies and keep the spirit of the Dean campaign alive.
There have been several great threads recently about how you plan to do that. Aside from staying involved with whatever entity DFA morphs into, and keeping up with ChangeForAmerica, I plan on pouring my energies into reinvigorating our local democratic party. I've already been approached by two congressional candidates who would like advise on tapping into the decentralised fundraising and support structure created by the the Dean movement. One of these candidates has always been very supportive of what we are trying to do here, while I've vilified the other for they way he treated Dean and the local grassroots base. So how is it that I'm able to put that aside and help him out?
It's quite simple really. Here in Tarrant County (home to Fort Worth) our local democratic party has lost every race they've run for the past two election cycles. There are no democrats currently holding elected office in Tarrant County. And because they keep losing, they keep moving towards the right. Because they keep losing, it's hard to get anyone to run against many of the republican officeholders. This has to change, and it's not going to change if we stick to the old plan that hasn't worked in years.
They keep moving to the right because they are not empowered by the local base of democratic voters. If the base stays home, or if the base doesn't get their backs, the local party has no incentive to act like democrats. Granted, they haven't quite figured out that "me too, Shrub" doesn't work either, but slowly they are beginning to see the light. They see how empowered our national candidates have become and they want to do the same, but the 'roots have yet to provide them with enough incentive or backup. I intend to do that, and so does our local Dean group. We're committed to energising the part, to empowering our candidates (and potential candidates), and becoming a strong force in local politics again. We are tired of losing elections and sending extremists like Joe Barton and Tom Delay to Congress.
I hope that each and every one of you becomes involved in your local party. Empower your candidates and your party, just like the Dean movement empowered us. We know what it takes to create change, so why wait?
Now I'm going to take a moment to plug a few of the candidates I'm going to help out this year. If you have local races you'd like to plug, feel free to leave them in the comments section. I'll try and make a sidebar which lists all the candidates supported by Dean Nation.
First, there is Morris Meyer. Morris is running in US TX 6, which was a district that got gerrymandered thanks to Thug Delay, and it happens to be my home district. I am now "represented" (and I use that term lightly) by the odious Joe Barton. Smoky Joe, as we call him, coddles the polluters in Ennis who are responsible for a majority of our summer smog. Our asthma rate has increased every year, and Joe doesn't care. Morris cares. This is a candidate who walks the walk and talks the talk. He drives a hybrid (yay), is a software engineer, and has an adorable six year old daughter who, Morris says, is the reason he's decided to run. He's a family man in the best sense and he deserves our support.
The other race I'm working on also deals with reclaiming my representation from Tom Delay. My former congressman Martin Frost (warning: lamest website ever and yes that's going to change soon) is running in US TX 32 against Pete Sessions. Pete isn't as bad as Smoky Joe, but he's close.
Both of the Republicans in these races do not support a woman's right to choose, they favor the Bush tax, they oppose pollution controls, support Star Wars, support school vouchers, and they favor amending the constitution to prevent flag burning, gay marriage, and institute mandatory school prayer. If these guys sound like your nightmares, then please join me in helping to defeat them. Especially if you live in a safe democratic state (like CA or NY), please consider lending financial support to progressive candidates in other states. Plug them on the blogs. Send emails to your family and friends. In short, do what you did for the Dean campaign and we'll have a much better shot at taking back our Congress. Because who cares if we elect a Democratic President if we don't send him the backup? Remember, it's all about empowerment. Howard's movement empowered us. The question is, will we empower our candidates and our party? If so, I think that would go a long way towards taking our country back.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.