The DNC is not the party leadership (in any meaningful sense)

Quick political science lesson. Political parties in the US are non-hierarchical.* That’s a fancy way of saying neither their candidates for office nor their platforms are determined by a central authority.
In other words, the DNC chair is not worth getting all worked up over. If you want to change the party, get some candidates who can win primaries for state legislative and congressional races. Oh, and make sure that said candidates also could realistically win the general election. That is all.

* As explained in Chapter 6 of A Different Democracy.

12 thoughts on “The DNC is not the party leadership (in any meaningful sense)

  1. Do you think, MSS, that some of this is because of the widespread belief in the Democratic grassroots (I can’t confirm or refute it from Australia) that the DNC helped, shall we say, adjust the rules to give the nomination to Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders? so a fight to win the DNC chair might be a symbolic way of saying “controlling the umpire counts, because the umpire helped determine the last race”?

    • I think it is quite highly symbolic, and no doubt much of it has to do with the Sanders-Clinton contest, even though the DNC candidates do not line up as nearly with the past year’s presidential candidates as some commentary has made it seem.

      But what rules were adjusted during the primary contest? It is not a secret that the DNC favored Clinton (nor a surprise, given Sanders had always denied he was a Democrat before deciding to seek that party’s top prize). But as far as actual rules adjustments, what was there?

  2. What makes for candidates who can win primaries? What if the claim advanced by CKNZ (that the “elites” determine the outcome of a primary) is true?

  3. “Paige won the Republican nomination to run against Bernie Sanders for the Senate race. But that’s only one of the many races Paige was victorious in Tuesday night. He’s also going to be a Republican candidate in one of Vermont’s congressional districts, the Republican candidate for auditor in Vermont, the Republican candidate for attorney general in Vermont, and the Republican candidate for secretary of state in Vermont. Finally, although voting is tight, as of Tuesday night he was also on track to be the Republican candidate for treasurer.”


    “If there’s a vacancy on the primary ballot, the Republican Party in Vermont is then allowed to nominate a someone by petition to run for that office in the general election. It’s Paige’s hope that by representing Republicans in every race, Democrats will not be able to write-in a candidate in the August primary, and should Paige choose to bow out, his party can select a candidate to run for the position in the November general election.”

    Jeet Heer, “H Brooke Paige wins five or six GOP nomination slots in Vermont”, The New Republic

      • Vermont has a history of strange behaviour, from fighting simultaneous wars of independence with the British empire and the colony of New York, abolishing slavery in 1777, not joining the Union until 1791, to adopting same-sex civil unions in 2000.

    • I don’t understand.
      “About 800 to 900 and sometimes a few more Democrats would religiously grab Republican ballots and write in the published candidates from their Democratic primary ballot.”
      Why? What was the effect of a Democrat winning the Republican primary? Did s/he appear on the general election ballot with both party labels?

      “Obviously, with no other candidates running, there was no concerted effort on the part of the Republicans to fill the slots in the primary.””
      Fill all the slots in the primary? What does that mean?

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