Future of the DNC Part 2

Last Week Dems member (and incoming secretary!) Ridgley Knapp wrote on Brown and Greene. Here’s what Dems on campus have to say about Candidates Jaime Harrison and Pete Buttigieg:

**and an update– Candidate Raymond Buckley has dropped out of the race and endorsed Keith Ellison (who we will post on later in the week!**

Jaime Harrison (@Harrison4DNC)

Jaime Harrison was the second candidate to declare his interest for DNC Chairmanship, on November 14, 2016. Harrison is Chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party is the first African-American to hold this position. His campaign for DNC Chair has been endorsed by two former chairs of the Congressional Black Caucus, Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the latter of whom, as Assistant Democratic Leader, is the third-ranking House Democrat, as well as various other current and former Representatives.

Harrison’s introduction to the race began with calls of Democratic tradition and unity. As he told to the Post and Courier, “We need to get back to where the party used to be, which is not a political organization but a community organization. … We need to talk about bread and butter issues, to talk about peoples’ daily lives. I think that is at the core of what we have to do as a party and that has to be the focus of the next chair. We lose when we think ‘you’re a Bernie Democrat, you’re a Hillary Democrat, this person is an Obama Democrat’ … These sorts of divisions, having to choose one or the other, a litmus test for determining who is a true Democrat – we need to leave these to the Republican Party. That’s not the big tent Democratic Party that I grew up in.”

Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg)

    The seventh and final candidate for DNC Chair, Pete Buttigieg, announced his candidacy for DNC Chair on January 5, 2017. Currently serving as Mayor of South Bend, Indiana since 2011, at which time he was the youngest mayor of any city with a population greater than 100,000, Buttigieg is a Rhodes Scholar and veteran of Afghanistan. He is endorsed by the Indiana Democratic Party, Dayton, OH Mayor Nan Whaley, and Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly.

Buttigieg announced his candidacy through a video, saying, “The solutions for our party won’t come from Washington; they’ll come from our communities across all of America’s 50 states and territories. It’s time for new leadership to deliver the fresh start our party needs. … This is about life on the ground, the effects of politics on real people: that’s how our party needs to organize.”

Here at UC Dems, Andy Hatem (‘20), Charlotte Scott (‘20) and I (‘20) support Pete Buttigieg’s run for party chair. Our comments below.

“I’m supporting Pete Buttigieg for DNC Chair because he is the only Democrat in the race who is willing to admit the challenges Democrats face as the party of the working class. As Mayor of South Bend, he acknowledged the changing face of industry in the United States and worked to make sure those laid off as automation increases can still find work. His Washington-outsider mentality (a phrase I use hesitatingly) will force the Democratic Party to stop focusing on solely the Presidential election cycle every four years, and instead to the disastrous gubernatorial midterms and local elections that have hobbled us on the state and local levels.

Buttigieg has been willing to take risks and admiring of those who do, even before his tour in Afghanistan. In 2000, he won the JFK Profile in Courage Essay Contest by writing on none other than Bernie Sanders and the courage it took him to hold office as a self-declared socialist independent. As a mayor, Buttigieg knows first hand the ways America can fix itself. His ‘1,000 properties in 1,000 days’ plan shows his ingenuity and the effectiveness of his approach to governance. He knows how to campaign on the local level, having done it himself multiple times, as well as on the state and federal levels, having run for statewide office in 2010 and having served as policy and research specialist for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign.

I strongly believe Mayor Peter, as he is affectionately known in South Bend, will be able to bring together the bloated national Democratic Party with its desiccated state and local brethren and unify them to the glory they once held.” – Ridgley Knapp (‘20)

“About a week ago, my best friend called me to read Buttigieg’s ‘Letter from Flyover County’ aloud to me, and as I listened I got the chills, because I knew almost immediately I was hearing something profoundly good and important. I support Buttigieg because he wants to lead a party around values–not because they’re sexy or politically correct to pander to a key demographic–but because values, and ultimately, politics based upon them, matter, and they are what have the potential to make people’s lives better. I also think that his status as a mayor rather than a more DC-centric position gives him the perspective Democrats need in order to think about the successes and shortcomings of our party more often than every two years after an election. ” -Charlotte Scott (‘20)

“The Democratic Party doesn’t have a policy problem; we have a messaging problem. It’s nice that Democrats have the right policies for working Americans, but we need to help voters understand that fact. That’s why Bill Clinton was so successful – his philosophy was “It’s the economy, stupid.” The next DNC chairman needs to craft a coherent economic message that won’t be drowned out in an ocean of Donald Trump’s lies. That’s nice in theory, but how do we do so in practice?

The answer is Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, IN. Without his economic record, a mayor has nothing, and Buttigieg’s decisions as mayor reflect that fact. When he took office, the city’s unemployment rate was almost 12%. It’s now half that. He’s overseen the demolition or repair of a thousand vacant and abandoned properties, revitalizing abandoned neighborhoods in the process. A lot of Democrats have the right economic ideas; Pete Buttigieg has walked the walk, and it’s hard to think of a better economic messenger.

Buttigieg’s record is impressive enough; the man himself is more so. In 2014, he spent seven months in Afghanistan, serving with the U.S. Navy reserves in a war most politicians are happy to support from the comfort of a Washington office. In 2015, he became the first openly gay executive in a state that elected Mike Pence as governor. Did I mention he’s a Rhodes Scholar with degrees from Harvard and Oxford?

Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans slander their opponents and muddle the truth with a propaganda machine that would make Vladimir Putin proud, but if anyone’s immune to their mudslinging, it’s Pete Buttigieg. His background, his record, and his personal character will let him make the case for Democratic policies – and prosecute the case against Donald Trump – in a clear and convincing manner. That makes him the best choice for our party and the country.”  – Andy Hatem (‘20)

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