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INSIDE POLITICS
Inside Politics: Democratic Christmas Wishes

For starters, best wishes this holiday season to everyone, everywhere. Peace on Earth, good will to all, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Milad un Nabi, Bodhi Day, Kwanza, Omisoka, Pancha Ganapati, New Year or Solstice. These winter festivities from diverse cultures and religions all share a common theme. They focus on renewal and hope. It’s an important practice. If undertaken earnestly, with an open mind and welcoming heart, it can help heal, strengthen and unite humanity toward betterment.

Renewal is a huge aspiration this winter among Democrats. Election results were mixed, such that both Democratic and Republican leaders are ping ponging among interpretations. Some 2.9 million more Americans voted for the Democratic presidential candidate but lost the Electoral College. Democrats gained a state-House and seven Congressional seats, but lost two Senate seats and two governorships.

This suggests a conflicted electorate. Nonetheless, Republicans dominate state governments. They will control the presidency and both houses of Congress, and will likely appoint one or more Supreme Court justice. Thus, the power and tenor of governance for at least two years, (likely longer) will be uncompromisingly “conservative.”

While this undoubtedly exhilarates Republicans, it also brings danger for them and challenging opportunities for Democrats.

How so?

Perils can accompany a sojourn in the cat-bird seat. Now Republicans must actually govern (well) without scapegoats for their blunders, anti-working-class or otherwise unpopular policies. If Americans are disgruntled beginning 2017, the GOP’s tiresome mantra blaming all failures on liberalism and Democrat bogeymen will fall on deaf ears.

Democrats hope unreservedly for positive outcomes but also know that past actions are the best predictor of future performance. There’s little optimism among Democrats that positive outcomes for all Americans will materialize from Republican or Trumpian plans trial-ballooned to date.

The immediate and long-range challenges for Democrats are fairly obvious.

Democrats recognize the need for party introspection, to repair what’s damaged, and redesign what just isn’t working. This is essential to regain support to produce positive outcomes ourselves. A major aspect of party re-engineering is selecting a new National Committee chairperson Feb. 23-26.

Idaho has a huge stake in that choice. Last Thursday, Sally Boynton Brown, executive director of the Idaho Democratic Party, and president of the Association of State Democratic Executive Directors, tossed her Stetson into the ring. She and six others (all men) have announced DNC chair bids.

DNC chair candidacy is hard-knuckles politics. It involves big names, big money, big power, big responsibility, big machines, big risks and big opportunity. The opportunity some candidates care most about is personal opportunity. The opportunity America’s hundred million registered Democrats care about is for party success via new leadership and vision. That opportunity is why Idaho Democrats should do everything possible to advance Sally’s candidacy.

The chair is selected by America’s 447 DNC members. Idahoans must promote Sally’s candidacy beyond Idaho, particularly in so-called “fly-over” states. As a Westerner, tied to agriculture and rural communities most of my life, I know heartlanders resent the (largely Eastern) urban and coastal dominance of the DNC.

The party is dominated by its glitterati, apparatchik, and self-entitled or legacy establishment. The lack of vision, missteps and obstructionism of those elements helped Democrats snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in 2016. Resentment from both sides of that assertion has fueled a rancorous, but perhaps cathartic family fight. The laundry’s been on the line for two months. Now it’s time to take it inside and iron out the wrinkles.

Sally explained “Our party can’t afford to spend the next two years having an ideological debate on whether we are liberals or moderates. The Democratic Party has always represented the people and now more than ever we must blow the walls off our tent so everyone feels welcome.”

“On Nov. 8, 50 percent of American voters stayed home.”

“It’s time to have an organizational conversation on how we become a resilient, innovative party for the 21st century. Our most important mission is to inspire all Americans to participate fully in democracy and clear all barriers that stand between Americans and their right to cast a ballot. As your next DNC chair, I will lead the insurgency against the forces that threaten the country we love.”

“I am accessible, responsive, and an action-oriented professional who people trust. I have a unique skillset that joins high level strategic thinking with day-to-day operational execution.”

“For the last decade, saving our American democracy has been my personal mission. As DNC chair, I’ll strive to involve everyone in the political process. Voting is just the beginning step to ensuring our government is of, by and for the people.”

Idaho had perhaps the fairest, most open, productive caucus and state convention in America. Energy was high for both processes; at times huge contrasts of vision between Sanders and Clinton backers risked catastrophic division. Sally’s even-handed orchestration and execution of these events deftly enabled a largely cohesive positive outcome.

Sally is the most competent, dedicated party executive I’ve worked with. She isn’t a pampered high-stepping racehorse only good for lightning bursts of a few furlongs. She’s more like the quarter horses and mustangs Westerners depend on in our range country for the really tough chores we take pride in accomplishing. Demanding work, completed on time and against the odds, done tirelessly, undertaken with good-natured humility, unselfish, undaunted by the environment.

Yeah. Let’s send Mustang Sally to ride herd on the DNC. Contact them DNC doggies at http://my.democrats.org/page/s/contact-the-democrats and tell them you want Sally.


Columns
OTHER VIEW
Other View: Who will lead the Democrats out of the wilderness?

Special To The Washington Post WASHINGTON — A recent article reporting that some of Hillary Clinton’s supporters are searching for a glimpse of her as she wanders the woods near her Westchester County, New York, home seems a good signal to declare that the Democrats’ wilderness years have officially begun. The final Democratic hopes to change the election’s outcome expired Monday when the electoral college certified Donald Trump as the next president.

The placing of Donald Trump’s hand (“Look at those hands! Are they small hands?”) on the Bible is now just days away and with it the official start of the Trump administration. Democrats, like mother Addie in “As I Lay Dying” who listened as her coffin was hammered together outside her bedroom window, can listen to the sounds of the presidential inaugural platform and viewing stands under construction as they are prepared to receive the new president, the one who could never be.

The political reverberations of Trump are just beginning. So far, he hasn’t said or done anything to reassure the majority of Americans who voted for someone else that he cares a whit for their concerns or support. Through appointments — his ambassador to Israel and his national security adviser — and his conversation with Taiwan, he has shown a relish for pouring fuel on some of the most dangerous global hot spots in the world. In areas of the budget and environmental policy, Trump has outsourced the former to magical ideas of Paul Ryan and the latter to three individuals who are: 1. A climate denier suing to abolish the agency he is appointed to run; 2. A climate denier who wants to abolish the department he is going to run if he can remember its name; and 3. A man who says he believes in climate change but allowed his company, the largest fossil-fuel company in the world, to fund groups that deny it.

On this, the shortest day of the year, it feels especially cold and dark for Democrats.Some seem to be looking for new leaders to guide them from the wilderness. (Joe Biden might note that Moses was 80 when he began leading the Israelites through the wilderness to the Promised Land.) Others are looking inward and examining their core beliefs. Does the party have the right ideas and platform to appeal not just to the coasts, but to the middle of the country and swing counties who feel left behind and subsequently turned against it? And some are simply in despair. As Dante wrote, “Midway in the journey of our life / I came to myself in a dark wood / for the straight way was lost.”Carter Eskew is a founder of The Glover Park Group who oversees the firm’s branding, corporate reputation and creative services groups. Before forming GPG in 2001, Carter worked as a political media consultant and corporate strategist.


Mailbag
Letter: Blame in Dietrich case rests on whole community

Blame in Dietrich case rests on whole community

This letter responds to the sexual assault of the developmentally disabled teen by the three football players, and the insane response by certain members of your community.

There is a sick culture in your closed community, refusing to admit responsibility for your bullying and assaulting a disabled individual. Some disabilities are visible, such as the self-righteous perception of some of you who blame the incident only on the abuser from Texas. Two teens from your town chose to participate in the shameful act, too. And some of you are now blaming the victim and his family. Gee, wonder where your kids learned it was OK to bully and assault a disabled kid? Or behave like a bully to anyone? And apparently face no consequences for it? Well, look in the mirror!

Why are you so upset it’s public knowledge? Own it! This is what you’ve created in your community. And it won’t change or stop until you admit it, and face up to your disgusting, reprehensible attitudes which precipitated this behavior. This is what you are. This is the hard, cold fact. In order to change and grow up, you need to face up to what you are, and the fact that it’s unacceptable. Additionally, the judge needs to step down for accepting the plea deal in order to get rid of the main perpetrator. I work with developmentally disabled clients; I am the sister of a developmentally disabled man, and the parent of two attorneys.

Some of you need to take a hard, cold assessment, of yourselves, your culture, and your community. Be very ashamed. And get that judge off the bench. You have the power to do that. The community needs to meet and address the behavior and the elitism that has created this stench.

Judy Anderson

Minneapolis, Minn.