In 2008, the Democratic Party went through a vigorous primary contest that ended up with the nomination of Barack Obama. Arguably, Barack Obama would not be president today if the party machinery had "cleared the field" and pressured candidates to back down from a primary contest. The lively, sometimes combative, presidential primary brought out millions of new voters in the general election, sweeping President Obama to victory. Now, our party is trying to stop open debate. Take the pledge to defend vigorous primaries.
Today, we launched a new website Opendebatenewyork.org. You can see what New Yorkers have to say about it here:
Please watch this video, go the website and sign the pledge (whether you are a New Yorker or not) and, then, pass it around.
In the past several weeks, it is apparent that New Yorkers--regular, average folks, not party insiders or politically active people--have grown increasingly unhappy about the conduct of Democratic party insiders. The deep dysfunction in our democracy spans the gamut, from the bizarre, corrupt and out-of-control behavior of lawmakers in Albany right to the attempt by party insiders to bully respected political figures out of the New York 2010 Senate primary.
The video you see above was shot without any staging--every single one of the people speaking on the tape (and the rest of the people not included in this version--there will be more of these videos coming) is a person who we approached in the street. We wanted to give voice to the voters.
It is obvious that regular people "get" democracy. They understand what a contest of ideas means in a functioning democracy--even if party insiders, and Kirsten Gillibrand, don't get that. They want a debate.
I hope you will sign the pledge and circulate the link.
We need to draw the line. The debate is good for our party. Many of us remember 2008: Dozens of primaries and caucuses were held, engaging millions of voters in the political process---Democrats across the nation walked precincts with clipboards, they made phone calls, they donated money (often in small amounts) and, ultimately, they stood in line on primary day or spent hours caucusing for their preferred candidate.
Keep the primary system vigorous and alive. Sign the pledge now.
Thanks for all you are doing to advance democracy and our party.