Tuesday, April 2, 2013

#92 / Is All Politics National?

Tip O'Neill said, "All politics is local." I tend to think he is right. 

Nonetheless, as someone who is "tuned in" to politics (and as a registered member of the Democratic Party), I am noting that the political communications I receive are virtually all "national" in their focus. The claim that "all politics is local," in other words, may be more of a "theory" than a reality, in today's political world.

I get almost daily appeals from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC)Organizing For America, which is a project of the Democratic National Committee, and which is operated as a subsection of President Obama's website. Plus, I regularly hear from the Democratic Governors' Association (DGA), whose logo I have placed in today's posting. Here is the message from the DGA that set me to wondering whether or not that "all politics is local" statement still has any genuine applicability: 

The backwards-thinking, crazy-talking Republican governors aren’t going to like this.

Public Policy Polling’s got Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett trailing three Democratic opponents – three! – by 11 points. In Florida, Governor Rick Scott’s down by 12. And we’ve got pickup opportunities in Virginia and Michigan, too.

But don’t celebrate just yet. Karl and the Kochs are coming to the GOP’s rescue and the Tea Party Super PACs are getting richer than ever. Their malicious, misleading ads have started flying. Outrageous voter suppression is already underway.

It all means we have to be ready, if we still want to get ahead when it counts. A donor’s just told the DGA he’ll match any contribution you make, 2-1, before the FEC deadline March 31. But only if the DGA reaches its $120,000 target. We only have $45,273 to go, but we need your immediate contribution to get there.

Nothing against the Democratic candidates for Governor in Pennsylvania (and in Florida and Virginia and Michigan, too), but I don't know any of those people, and if elected none of them will actually represent me, since I am from California. The premise that I should put my limited resources into those races is based on an idea that all political is "national," not "local," and that party identification is the most important thing. In fact, I have a very strong hunch that I would be getting comparable communications from the Republican National Committee, and other Republican Party organizations, were I registered in that party.

If we wonder why our politics isn't working (and many do), this transformation in focus from local to national (and from issue and candidate based politics to a politics based on party identification) could be a major reason. Individual, personal participation, and individual, personal relationships, are the foundation of any genuine politics. Read what Tip O'Neill has to say about politics; he makes that pretty clear. That is why any genuine politics has to be "local."

Politically speaking, we are in a bit of trouble, here!

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