If you are registered to vote in the Democratic Primary, by now you may have received your ballot, and after voting for things like nominees for Governor, Equalization Board, and State Senate, you find now you’ve got a section for “Democratic County Central Committee” with about 453,213 candidates listed. And, you have likely received more political junk mail for this office than you have in the past. All the while you wonder “why am I voting for this?”
Quick Review: the DCCC is the Democratic Party’s official party organization in this county*. As a registered Democratic voter, you can pick who serves on this committee, which decides local endorsements that will bear the “official” Democratic Party seal of approval on them. In addition to the people you vote for, Democratic members of the state legislature, the US House, and so on also have a vote (usually represented by proxy from someone in their office).
Big yawn, right? However, in San Francisco, it’s not a big yawn because whomever controls said DCCC becomes the one that’s in charge of the endorsements for local office. Since so many people simply read the Official Endorsements of the Democratic Party slate card (and any junk mail said organization issues) and votes that way, no matter what, you can see why this then becomes a Very Big Deal to political types who care about such things.
If you run for DCCC, you’re running for a thankless job. No pay, endless hours spent at meetings, meetings which are held in a concrete bunker downtown (really), and all sorts of political acrimony. Running also means trying to contact voters in 1/2 of the City, usually with little or no money. Having helped out on one of these ages ago, I can tell you it’s very very difficult for the average citizen to run for these things and be able to get anyone to know their name, much less win, because the cost is so high, especially if you use dead tree mail. So why do people run for this thing again?
Oh, here’s why: In 2008, progressive incumbent Supervisors and allies, led by then-Sup. Aaron Peskin, decided to run themselves for DCCC, and used their superior name recognition and ability to raise lots of campaign cash to win. They were able to use local party cash to elect “progressive” Supervisors (many of whom as candidates were sitting members of the DCCC and voted on their own endorsement!). Depending on what you believe in, that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
Now, people are going nuts with this stuff. More money than ever is being raised by people to run for this once obscure, still-unpaid party office, and the battle for control is getting heated. Progressives have less money this time around, and are 1 vote away from losing control of the group. So, your vote “matters,” if not to you then to someone else, for sure. Hence, the barrage of mail and the high blood pressure amongst politicals.
I consider myself well informed, but I honestly don’t know who to vote for over here in AD 12, aside from the folks I’ve actually met in person over the years who seem like good people. On my ballot I can vote for up to 12 people to fill the seats – but at this point I think I’m going write in my name as one of them for fun.
If elected, I’d provide my fellow DCCC members some drinks and snacks, and I’d move the meetings from an underground concrete bunker in the State building downtown (I am not making this up) to somewhere with a view, air conditioning and cell phone service. Plus, I don’t really care about “progressive” or “moderate” or whatever, so if nothing else I could be the swing vote and make the meetings more fun.
If you have suggestions on who to vote for, feel free to post in the comments who you think should serve on this rather obscure, but kind of important, unpaid party position.
*If you’re a “Decline to State” voter, you have to re-register to vote Democratic to vote for DCCC. If you are registered Republican, you’ll vote for the RCCC, and so on. Green party? That thing’s still around?