A blistering contest to lead the California Democratic Party and near-constant protests during its weekend convention provided proof that schisms between party factions at the national level are also pulling apart the ranks at home, where the group has long prospered...
Typically a sunny weekend for California Democrats celebrating dominance at the ballot box and in the voter rolls, . . liberal activists say the party has lost its way, become too moderate and grown similar to the GOP. Battle lines were drawn in the race for a new chairperson, as party faithful and those seeking a more progressive path were sharply divided over who should guide them in the years to come.
“We're not going to unify around the status quo,” RoseAnn DeMoro, leader of the California Nurses Assn., told a couple thousand delegates and guests on Saturday. .
. . . the aftermath of the 2004 presidential race, when the party was dismayed by the reelection of President George W. Bush and saw an influx of supporters of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, . . As many Sanders supporters blame the party for nominating Clinton, whom they view as a flawed candidate, Dean supporters similarly faulted the party in 2004 for nominating then-Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.
“That angst and regret turned into action,” . . . such as the creation of Democratic clubs across the state, the formation of the progressive caucus in the state party and the recruitment and election of candidates in California. . . .
Protesters marched in downtown Sacramento over the weekend, criticizing Democrats for accepting oil company money and failing to adopt a Medicare-style healthcare-for-all model despite controlling the governor’s seat and holding super-majorities in both houses of the Legislature.
"Just because you are a Democrat is not good enough for me," new delegate Robert Shearer, 34, said into a bullhorn Saturday during a march to the governor’s mansion, as others held signs that read "Oil Money Out." “Those big Democrats in there that are putting money first, they're fighting against us … and we're going to hold them accountable."
. . . Rep. Ro Khanna of Fremont. The freshman congressman recently joined the “Justice Democrats” group ( https://justicedemocrats.com ) that is open to challenging Democratic incumbents who they believe are not sufficiently liberal — similar to the tack taken by tea party conservatives challenging Republican politicians who don’t hew closely enough to their beliefs. . .
But the strongest example of the split all weekend was the race to succeed John Burton as state party chairperson, a bitterly fought contest between Eric Bauman, a long-time party leader and favorite of the Democratic establishment, and Kimberly Ellis, an organizer who drew the backing of many Sanders supporters. . . late Saturday, the party announced that Bauman prevailed by just over 60 votes, a razor-thin margin. . .
. . Ellis supporters held handwritten signs that said “Validate the Vote.”. . . Burton eventually told the group that all sides had come to an agreement: Ellis would review the ballots but not contest the result. Bauman was officially declared the chairman at 1:16 p.m. Sunday, and he gave a three-minute speech that was greeted by boos and chants of “Not my chairman!”
. . . Ellis told the crowd “One of the things that the party cannot be is .. A party that operates in closed rooms, smoked-filled rooms, behind curtains, in secrecy and shadow. It is time for this party to be a transparent party.”
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