There are many things worth commenting on regarding the District 8 alder race, but I’ll confine myself to just a few things here.
First, I wanted to follow-up about a fairly hilarious email sent out by a group called the Young Progressives, aptly commented on by Lukas over at Forward Lookout. Without apparent sarcasm, the author of this email accuses our campaign of engaging in dirty tactics and then goes on to compare me to Scott Walker. Having always been accused of being too far in the other direction – usually an accurate accusation, incidentally – this ad hominem attack was rather funny to come across and, I think, must be a first.
Anyway, there are a few things to comment upon here. First, critiquing the differences of one’s opponent is – I’m pretty sure – a fairly standard political practice. Obviously, I think I would be a better D8 representative than my opponent, and especially in absence of a debate, I want voters to know what the differences are. And so that’s what we’ve done in a recent lit piece.
Obviously, there would be legitimate criticisms to be made if untrue, slanderous things were said (i.e. comparing my opponent to Scott Walker). But this wasn’t the case – ie my opponent is not a student, has been endorsed by DMI and the cops, compared the Common Council to a business, and says nothing about social justice in his platform. These things, from the perspective of an actually progressive campaign, are worth pointing out. (Incidentally, the nature of these criticisms are really very soft. A particularly pro-business, pro-police voter would probably even end up thinking my opponent is more worth voting for. If we had wanted to be really negative, we could have, for instance, pointed out that my opponent has the support of the Chair and Vice-Chair of ASM – both Walker voters.)
As for the Young Progressives themselves, I guess I’m just really confused. The College Democrats endorsement was entirely appropriate given my opponent’s history in the organization, and so I entirely respect that. Of course, as far as I can tell, the membership of the YPs entirely overlaps with the College Dems, so I guess things make sense in that context.
But the fact remains that the local progressive community is otherwise united behind our candidacy – from the Cap Times to organized labor to community leaders to local left-wing public servants. What’s more, my opponent’s platform completely ignores issues of social justice and workers’ rights, whereas mine prioritizes those issues.
Ultimately, even if the YP’s support for my opponent was an inevitability given the group’s connection to campus Dems, I can still say I’m honestly appreciative of their invitation to me to speak before the 10 or so members back in February. The people at the meeting all seemed perfectly nice and receptive to what I was saying, and the one or two that I’ve run into while doing doors have all been pleasant encounters. It’s tempting to believe, in this context, that the hostility stems from this one person sending emails.
Either way, if this group wants to spend its time NOT campaigning for Parisi and Kloppenburg in order to defeat an actual progressive candidate for alder, then all I can say is that I wish them the best of luck in this endeavor.
In other news, ASM elections are next week and there are a number of great progressives running. Do vote for them sometime next week Monday-Wednesday.