By Affirmation: How the Montgomery County Democratic Party rolls

Last night I got my certificate of election to be a precinct captain at the grand convocation of the Montgomery County Democratic Party. I’m in charge of 1E.

There are six precincts in Ward 1- and 2 seats are still open- A and F. The four of us who showed up have elected Ron Lee to be Ward Leader and I’m his “assistant” ward leader. That means I don’t get to go to the locked-door room upstairs unless Ron doesn’t show up.

This is the new, leaner and meaner Democratic Party- with a lot less Precinct Captains that make up the “Central Committee” thanks to the redistricting that got pushed through almost unnoticed.

Call it a circling of wagons- as they’ve done everything they can to quash debate, discussion and primaries in Montgomery County, now they have less seats to worry about being sat in by “dissident” Democrats. It still makes me chuckle that they refer to themselves as the “Central Committee”- up until I ran into this organization the only place I ever heard that term used was in the USSR under the Communists. Eh, Comrade?

The meeting was scripted- and Mark Owens was re-elected as Chairman, Rhine McLin as Vice Chairman- etc. There was zero opposition. The voice votes were “By affirmation”- which according to Mr. Webster has two meanings:

1 a : the act of affirming b : something affirmed : a positive assertion
2 : a solemn declaration made under the penalties of perjury by a person who conscientiously declines taking an oath

The other issue to be voted on was an update of the Constitution of the party- which was posted online. Mike Bock, of Dayton OS made a proposal that the Constitution be amended to not have the party endorse in primaries- however he isn’t Jennifer Brunner (who got the State party to abstain in her race), and although he and I spoke for this change- we were shot down.

I think Bock sums it up well here:

The point of the endorsement process, as traditionally practiced by the MCDP, I discovered, is to suppress primary participation.

via At MCDP Reorganization Meeting I Will Propose A Change In By-Laws To Prohibit Primary Endorsements | DaytonOS.

He has some video of our little speeches here:

The reason given by the party for keeping their primary candidates unopposed is cost. Now Democracy isn’t about the rights of the people, but the pocketbooks of the politicians and their donors. That so makes me proud to be an American.

When Bock suggested the role of the screening committee should be to find and encourage qualified candidates for every open office- he was almost laughed at. That’s too much like work- and we’ve become known as the party of the lazy and those requiring social welfare for a reason.

I suggested that the role of the party is to build the constituency, the grassroots system of informing and working with voters. In fact, in their handout, they actually state that the role of the Precinct Captains is:

“The person elected or appointed by the MCDP to build a Democratic network in a given precinct.”

I highly doubt that most of the people in that room last night have any intention of doing voter outreach, canvassing or political organizing- unless it’s their own campaigns. The room was filled with either politicians or patronage job holders- including Tony Tipps who resigned from the Board Of Elections on election day rather than get fired or face charges for his criminal acts. It’s a fifth-degree felony to forge a signature on an absentee ballot in Ohio.

Tipps had some gracious words for me- that aren’t repeatable on this site. Based on his fall from grace at the BOE, I plan on questioning if he should be allowed to sit as a precinct captain in the party.

Of course one evil deed leads to yet another in Patronage Place in the basement of the County Building- Tipps’ job is now going to the girlfriend of the son of Tom Ritchie Sr. who sits on the Board of Elections and gets paid $20K a year to attend no more than 24 meetings a year. The Monarchy of Montgomery County still lives on.

I’m planning on organizing Ward 1 to use CiviCRM to build a voter database and to track and coordinate Democratic voters as well as build a solid contact list. The party doesn’t have a proper contact database- they believe their investment in a phone autodialer broadcast system is enough to keep things going.

We’ll see if at least one ward can do its job properly. In the meantime, don’t expect any changes from Dem HQ. It’s business as usual, by affirmation.


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