The last great chair of the Democratic National Committee was Joe Andrews. Joe got it. He figured out that the job of the DNC was to get the President of the United States of America elected by making sure that every other Democrat running for anything was elected. He knew that in order to get a President elected you needed a Democratic dog catcher.
I first met Joe back when Al Gore was yet to be the nominee. I was Chair of the Chicano Caucus in California and Joe was Chair of the DNC. He wanted to come into the Caucus and say a few words. I said, not until he paid his dues and got his “green card”. [You see, in order to be a member of the Chicano/Latino Caucus of the California Democratic Party one had to be issued a membership card which, by the way, was green. I made it that color because there were a lot of “HI-spanics” out there who were afraid of immigrants, legal and illegal. They were afraid that white people would make them the focus of any given election and that we (Democrats) lacking any kind of real spine would run for cover.] Well, to his credit, JOe paid his dues and proudly held up his card and said that he was with us. From that time on, I have always been with Joe.
I have often pointed out that loyalty is a two-way street — something that Howard Dean and the previous DNC Chair somehow forgot.
It looks like now that the present chair of the DNC, whoever he is, has also forgotten that notion as well. Since the “Big O” took office, we have lost in Virginia, New Jersey, and now Massachusetts. A colleague of mine, whom I helped get elected to the DNC and is now employed by them, was working in the Dominican and Puerto Rican neighborhoods someplace in Massachusetts to get them out to vote. I sent him a note telling him it is not about them; it is about the Mexicans. He replied that we were only 8% of the voting population. Well, just like other East Coast Euro Centrists, my friend forgot that Mexicans are the bellweather. If you can get their vote, you win elections, while losing their vote will only put you in the loss column.
Sure enough, Mexican American voters in Massachusetts– , along with a bunch of other folks — did not vote for Coakley. [Remember, I was the person who refused to cast his vote for a presidential nominee until we (Mexican Americans) saw some loyalty from the candidates.] For eight years, while I was on the DNC, I asked, “Where is the budget and what is the plan?” I even supported Dean on the hope that he would put together such a plan. Like most East Coast Euro Centrists, he failed to admit that the power to tip the balance in the Democratic Party is no longer black and white.
So here is the question of the day: How long will David Plouffe be down the hall from the big office before someone gets the message and moves him into the DNC Chair position?
I like David. I only met him once but we talked a lot about Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Florida, and Arizona. I told him not to worry about California, as we had that handled. You see the “Big O” put $28 million into Temo Figueroa’s hands to win his election for him. I know why the Supremes voted to end 100 years of limits on electoral financing. It was because the son of an African man and a white women turned down public financing and won the presidential election entirely with the people’s money (something that I was proud to advise the Obama campaign to do). I knew if they gave the money to Howard that he would only waste it on tired old campaign techniques that had failed the party in the two previous elections.
The $28 million that the Big O spent on Latinos and Chicanos was well spent and did the job of helping Latinos nationwide figure out that the Democratic Party was indeed on their side. So far, since the new DNC Chair (whoever he is) has been in office, we have seen absolutely no evidence that he gets it. So it is time for him to be shown the door and let’s get back to winning the midterms and finding a dogcatcher to elect.
Steven J. Ybarra JD is a retired civil rights attorney who operates a consultant company in California. He is a member of the California Democratic State Party and is Chair of the Chicano Latino Caucus Voting Rights Committee and a long time political activist. Contact Steven at: [email protected] This article is copyright by Steven J. Ybarra JD, originally published in www.Hispanicvista.com but permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media if this entire credit paragraph is attached.