Hard Times Bring Progressive Change in AZ: A Primer
A friend of mine likes to say: there's nothing like unemployment to motivate a person to become invovled in politics. I'm not exactly claiming that's what went on here in AZ, but this GOS diary is interesting. Here's a key paragraph:
"In this past election we had hundreds of volunteers coming through our Acoma district office for the general election and the party wasn’t prepared to provide the support we needed on voter contact and phone banking lists to keep our people busy and effective. Because of the huge number of volunteers we had, we burned through in one day Party targeting lists they expected would take three days. And the party was unable to generate new lists to take full advantage of our enthusiastic volunteers. From what I have heard many other districts experienced this same frustration. And that frustration was a contributing factor in this call for a change in leadership."
The bottom line is that it's not really that hard to 'take control' over the Party, and indeed, progressives could learn a lot from the record of the far right over the last 40 or so years, in which they transformed the Republican party into the current monster it is today. I'm not one of those people who believes that Republicanism is dead in this country; ~46% of the country voted for McCain; Sarah Palin is still a popular lightning rod who stimulates winger activism and involvement, and the churches aren't exactly under any threat from the Obama administration, and will likely be free to continue to preach politics to their millions of worshipers. And if the Obama administration fails to turn the economy around in the next four years, it runs a very strong risk of being a one-term failure.
My friend also likes to say, and I think a lot of people here would agree, there are really three parties in this country. The Far Right pro-corporate theocratic neofascist party, the centrist conservative party (which is in charge today) and the liberal/progressive caucus, who at the moment are pretty disorganized and lacking in vision, at least on the national level. But the AZ example shows how "storming the gates" of the party process can be a really good thing, and I sincerely hope the new progressive leadership proves to be open to ideas and strategies that work, and not as susceptible to corporate money or the socio-cultural influence of the Village. I guess we'll see.
Anyway, angry, unemployed or underemployed people who see their entitlements cut and their economic options dry up can easily be convinced of how to use their time and energy in politics. I predict we'll see more "storms" like this in the near future.