Progressives beat the party in CT

(I am the campaign blogger for John Bonifaz, running for secretary of state in Massachusetts)

    "DLC got crunched!"
That's how someone here just summed up Connecticut's Democratic primary results.  He wasn't just talking about the Lamont-Lieberman race.

Dan Malloy, four term mayor of Stamford, CT, and John DeStefano, sixth-term mayor of New Haven, were competing for the Democratic nomination for governor.  This afternoon at the polling place, I chatted with a couple of union folk from SEIU/CEUI who were there in support of DeStefano.  They talked about his support for working people, but clearly they were most excited by his advocacy for better health care - indeed, the DeStefano signs and banners sported the slogan "Universal Health Care Now!"

Back at the Lamont event, I asked a friend who knows CT politics about Malloy, who won the state party's endorsement.  He's a good mayor, a very competent administrator, my friend said... but he'd voted for DeStefano.  Malloy's liability was being seen as part of the party establishment, the corportate/DLC wing of the party.  With support from progressives, DeStefano won 51% to Malloy's 49%.

 ... but something quite interesting happened.  Malloy's Lieutenant Governor running mate, Mary Glassman, whomped DeStefano's running mate, mayor Scott Slifka of West Hartford, 57% to 43%.  Repeatedly I heard that "Slifka is a DLCer".  "Yeah, I'm not surprised," remarked one person, "I voted for DeStefano and Glassman." Across the board, grassroots-supported populists beat the establishment candidates for Democratic nominations for statewide office.

The numbers, with 745 of 748  precincts reporting:

DeStefano: 134,944
Malloy: 130,826

Lt. Governor
Glassman: 120,015
Slifka: 90,681

US Senate
Lamont: 146,061
Lieberman: 136,042

Usually, Governor is the top of the ticket.  Here, even the victorious candidate for Governor got fewer votes than the losing candidates for US Senate.

Tags: Connecticut, Dan Malloy, DLC, Joe Lieberman, John DeStefano, Ned Lamont (all tags)



Re: Progressives beat the party in CT

Who would have thought 2 years ago that the first national victories for the populist reformation of the Democratic Party would occur in CT?

by Sitkah 2006-08-08 09:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressives beat the party in CT

I believe that it happened in Montana.

by Ramo 2006-08-08 09:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressives beat the party in CT

Yes, there have been other wins by liberal rfeformers such as Brian Schwietzer, but they weren't a national level repudiation of the D(L)C Democratic machine that has ruled the party like feudal lords for as long as many can remember.

by Sitkah 2006-08-08 09:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressives beat the party in CT

I was referring to Jon Tester's recent victory over John Morrison (for Burn's Senate seat).

by Ramo 2006-08-08 09:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressives beat the party in CT

I realized that after posting my response. Who would have thought that Montana would be a hotbed of liberalism?

by Sitkah 2006-08-08 09:50PM | 0 recs
Rural people aren't that conservative

The fact is, the death of the gun issue will be a huge boost to the Democratic Party in rural areas.

You can be liberal as hell and win points in the sticks.  Don't forget, in the boonies the minimum wage issue is huge and directly relevant to most people.

The GOP has also done much to unalign itself from libertarians.  A lot of rural people choose to live where they live because they don't want to be told how to live.  And that especially rubs them the wrong way when the GOP starts telling them about wars and God.

But, the GOP gets cheap wins in rural races because of the gun issue.

Now that the Dems are over the gun issue, you see these races in Montana turning their way.

Democrats need to realize that if they stick to real, everyday problems -- employment, fair wages, the war, the environment, the cost of gas, the undue influnence of Big Business -- that hit the average person day in and day out, they'll mop the GOP up.

by jcjcjc 2006-08-09 05:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Rural people aren't that conservative

What you say makes sense.

by Sitkah 2006-08-09 10:50AM | 0 recs
DLC Crunched

CA-GOV, MT-SEN, and now CT-SEN.

Now we just need to fuck over the DLC by kicking the shit out of Bean in IL-08 and we will have proved that the DLC worth shit in open seats, incumbent primaries, and general elections.

by Bob Brigham 2006-08-08 09:11PM | 0 recs
Re: DLC Crunched

Well, as the IL primary was in March, I think you may have to wait until 2008. But for the district that she represents, I think Bean is the best Democrat possible for a district that gave Bush II 56% of the vote in 2004.

by jiacinto 2006-08-08 11:19PM | 0 recs
I agree.

perhaps this will warn Bean off to be more Ben Nelson like and less Joe Lieberman like.


by neutron 2006-08-09 12:34AM | 0 recs
Re: I agree.

That's like warning Bean to be more George Bush like and less  Dick Cheney like.

by Sitkah 2006-08-09 12:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Progressives beat the party in CT

OK, I really want to talk to some activists in CT right about now. This is very interesting.

I would love to get a peak at their GOTV strategy.


by phatass 2006-08-08 09:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressives beat the party in CT

not to be a negative Ned (ahem!) or anything, but from what i heard, the Lamont GOTV was not that good at all.  no poll checkers and no canvassers, just visibility at the polls and phonebankers.

from my experience with low turnout elections in Massachusetts - and granted that's a very different type of election - canvassers and poll checkers are the heart and soul of your GOTV operation; viz and phonebankers are just nice accoutrements.  the poll checkers tell you who's voted.  the canvassers go bug the hell out of the people who didn't vote, who you've id'd as solid supporters in the past (due to previous rounds of phonebanking, house parties, etc.)

maybe the poll watching laws are different in CT, or maybe the anecdotes i've heard aren't representative, but i don't think this was the victory of a stunning GOTV operation.

by Shai Sachs 2006-08-09 03:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Progressives beat the party in CT

Its big that Lieberman is the first Bush-Rove enabler Democrat to get taken down.  I remember the deference he was shown in the Presidential primaries 2 years ago.  

by Rowena 2006-08-08 09:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressives beat the party in CT

And all he amounted to was a bomb throwing political assassin for the establishment.

by Sitkah 2006-08-08 09:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressives beat the party in CT

David Shuster just said on MSNBC (live) that Schumer and the DSCC (and one would assume the rest of the DLCers) are going to publicly support Lamont but not be publicly against JoMo's campaign of self-interest.

In other words, they're going to do the only thing they know how to do -- sit on the fence while having their cake and eating it too.

What a pack of losers.

by Sitkah 2006-08-08 10:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressives beat the party in CT

The DSCC and the DLC are two different organizations. Is Schumer actually a member? Or are you just associating him with the much-maligned DLC because you don't like him?

by jiacinto 2006-08-08 10:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressives beat the party in CT

Is Schumer actually a member? Or are you just associating him with the much-maligned DLC because you don't like him?

Sen. Charles Schumer -- NeoDem.

"Friends, New Democrats, and moderates everywhere, lend me your ears. I come to praise President Bush... "

(I guess he doesn't care to address the many liberal Democrats in HIS party.)

BTW, Zell Miller was (maybe still is) a DLCer in good standing -- so is Lieberman.

The DLC's only qualifications for membership seem to be serving corporations and disserving the Democratic Party.

by Sitkah 2006-08-08 11:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressives beat the party in CT

Hopefully, the takeaway from Ned Lamont's victory in Connecticut will be that Democrats everywhere should be emboldened to speak clearly and forcefully for change.  

Given the electorate's growing unhappiness with the sad and worsening state of the nation, its energy policy, its foreign policy, its occupation of Iraq, and its standing and moral authority in the world, change is not something to downplay or dance around -- it's the very heart of the winning message, and it should be embraced and articulated.  With luck, Lamont's victory will re-masculate Democratic candidates around the country.  It's been a very long time since many of them have used their balls, but I hope they at least remember where they hid them (or whom they sold them to) so they can get them back again.

Campaigns may or may not need slogans; but they do need themes.  The slogans and themes so far presented by the Democratic Party are generic, bland, and ultimately meaningless.  Newt's "Had Enough?" is only half way there, because it alludes to the problem but doesn't offer a solution or alternative.

I suggest "Change the Course" might be a good theme for the Democrats this year.  Americans no longer want to stay the course in Iraq, and huge majorities think the country is off on the wrong track in general.  This theme ties all the threads together, while also offering an alternative.  It's not "cut and run" or "abandon the course," and it doesn't suggest there's nothing we can do except wait or hope for things to get better -- it's CHANGE the course, which implies that there IS something we can do.  It's also strong, direct, and pro-active -- and refers not just to Iraq, but to everything.

(Of course, I could be wrong.)


by jpearson 2006-08-08 10:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressives beat the party in CT

I agree with Change the Course, it's bold, and it uses Bush's own words against him. It's the best I've heard anyone come up with.

by forecaster15 2006-08-08 11:46PM | 0 recs
Change the Course

That's a keeper.

by musicsleuth 2006-08-09 04:14AM | 0 recs
This is not about DLC

I like many DLC'ers like Tom Vilsalk, Bill Clinton, Ed Kilgore, etc.

But I dont like Marshall Wittman, Bruce Reed, etc because they keep dissing the Dem Party.

by jasmine 2006-08-08 10:25PM | 0 recs
Re: This is not about DLC

Very good point about Whitman!
Pls check his latest post at his blog:

"A few years back the Moose broke with the Republican Party on a range of issues dealing with economic justice. His reasons for leaving the GOP are explained here.

As the Moose indicated, just because he became a heretic on the right, he certainly did not join the left. At another time he would be in the mainstream of the Democratic Party. Alas, that Scoop Jackson wing today is miniscule.
So where does this situation leave the Moose? He is an economic progressive, cultural tradionalist and a hawk - a mammal without a party who continues to graze in the political center."

Ok, surely some will say that's just the usual, whiny bull from the moose, but I think this statement is very significant and should have consequences. He clearly states he is not in the mainstream of the Democratic party, and in the end even openly says that in reality, he is without a party. You can't say it any clearer than that.

Now, his political identification is his personal business, except for the fact that he is still senior spokesman for the DLC. Shouldn't someone who is speaking for a mayor Democratic organisation be a convincing and supporting member of that party? After this statement by Whitman, is there any logical explanation why he should stay in the DLC any longer? When will this insider club finally make a decision on this matter?

by Gray 2006-08-09 02:04AM | 0 recs
Re: This is not about DLC

I want to add a concrete example why Whitman shouldn't be allowed to speak for the DLC anymore:

Marshall Wittman of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, who supports Lieberman, said Lamont has allowed himself to be defined by his left-wing supporters.

"Had it not been for the involvement of the Democratic left, the party would be fairly united going into midterm elections," he said. "The Lamont campaign can be potentially devastating to the party, not in 2006, but in 2008. At a time of horrific news for the Republican Party, this is the only silver lining they have right now." na-lieberman9aug09,0,4115180.story?page= 2&coll=la-home-headlines

Yes, that's in the LA Times right now!
Is that the official position of the DLC? That the result of this primary "can be potentially devastating to the party"? Even if some might  think so, is it acceptable or even reasonable for the DLC to say so in public? And is it the mission of the DLC to give the republican party hope for a "silver lining"? It is my understanding that tomorrow at 11 will be the important unification meeting of the Dems. Doesn't this irresponsible statement from Whitman make this mission more difficult?

Imho the last thing the Dems need right now is a senior speaker who only cares for his personal ideas of the right direction and who shows a blatant disregard for party interests. Someone has to pull the plug from this egocentric running amok. Now.

by Gray 2006-08-09 02:43AM | 0 recs
Wittman is a Republican

 He's a John McCain shill. He speaks for no one in the Democratic Party.

by Master Jack 2006-08-09 03:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Wittman is a Republican

Exactly! Except that he's officially a senior spokesman for the DLC. Now, how to cope with the risk that the public might mistake Whitman as   representing the Dems? Order him to hold a sign: 'Ignore me!'?

by Gray 2006-08-09 03:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Wittman is a Republican

All you need to know about the DLC is that when Whitman jumped from McCain to Kerry in 2004, he was immediately anointed as a "Democratic Leader" by this group, in spite of his previous service as a Jew working for the Christian Coalition.

by sTiVo 2006-08-09 04:15AM | 0 recs
Re: This is not about DLC
...from his website...
Some lefties want to censure or even impeach the President for being overly aggressive in defending the country. And many lefties in the party reject even the notion of a war against terror.

And this from a Democrat? Much less a leadership position. Worse, even though he uses Blogger he has disallowed any sort of commenting. Common among right wingers but shows disdain for his readers (duh).

The above comment invites so many comparisons that amount to "crazy out of control wacko (insert variety) is just overly aggressive" or maybe Katrina was just a bit "overly wet and windy".

And all these hornet loving weirdos think that beating a hornet's nest with a stick is a bad way to stop them from attacking, and a war on a technique is just plain silly.

Perhaps if he had comments, someone could leave him a clue

by Freedem 2006-08-10 05:18PM | 0 recs
party in CT

Very good observation by Kevin Drum:

"I suppose it may already be too late for this, but when the punditocracy starts chattering about how Ned Lamont's victory in Connecticut is a sign that the Democratic Party is diving headlong over some kind of wild-eyed lefty peacenik cliff, I hope they keep in mind that Hank Johnson also won a landslide victory over Cynthia McKinney down in Georgia."

by global yokel 2006-08-08 11:20PM | 0 recs
Re: party in CT

I'll  just keep in mind that the punditocracy is full of crap for their livings and the only people influenced by their inane chattering are timid politicians and foolish politicos.

by Sitkah 2006-08-09 12:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Progressives beat the party in CT

I like many DLC'ers like Tom Vilsalk, Bill Clinton, Ed Kilgore, etc.

Kilgore's writings show him to be a Republican in all but name.

Clinton's been cozying up to the the Bush clan lately.

(But, like the chaste chambermaid who only changes sheets in the brothel, they should at least be careful about who they're associated with if they really care about their reputations.)

Vilsack? Who cares? He's just a eunuch waterboy for Hillary's ambition.

by Sitkah 2006-08-08 11:36PM | 0 recs
I take issue with that...

Vilsack's work on electoral reform, verified voting, and getting Democratic Secretary of States in office has been both ballsy, and good for our democracy.

I really hope he keeps that up.


by neutron 2006-08-09 12:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Progressives beat the party in CT

God you suck.

by Epitome22 2006-08-09 01:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Progressives beat the party in CT

You just can't handle the truth.

by Sitkah 2006-08-09 10:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Progressives beat the party in CT

I'd be careful about reading to much into Lamont's win or taking too much credit for it. While this primary did have a lot of national interest, it was still a local CT election. IIRC, CT gives Bush and the war one of the lowest, if not the lowest, approval ratings in the country. That is the agnst
Lamont tapped into and the Lieberman did not fully understand or appreciate. The outcome, therefore, isn't all that surprising and may even have been the same regardless of netroots involvement.

I see this election as a lot like the May primary in Pennsylvania where 15 R incumbents got beat because they supported the pay raise. But, because a lot of the challengers who won are more conservative than those whom they defeated, our state conservatives crowed a lot about how they've
taken control of the state GOP and how PA is getting more conservative. Neither is true, but they don't really understand that the reason these conservative challengers won was because the voters were just angry about the raise and had a means - the primary - to vote "not incumbent" and
send a message.

That's not to say their aren't some lessons that
can be applied nationwide. The first among them is that criticizing the war and Bush won't hurt you.

by phillydem 2006-08-09 01:56AM | 0 recs
Message to Democratic Party

Stop fighting your base.  

Used to, you fought your base and the Republicans won.  Then, we got sick of you losing it for us, so we started fighting you.  Now, when you fight your base, you lose and progressives win.  

Join us or be destroyed, either by us or by the Republicans, in every election.  Stop pandering to your opponents' base, stop making excuses for failed Republican policies.  

And do not even THINK about supporting Lieberman.  You have been warned.  

Oh, and while you're at it, look up "democrat" in the dictionary while you're at it.  

by Grand Moff Texan 2006-08-09 05:35AM | 0 recs


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