If you've been pounding nails with your forehead for years, it may feel strange the first time somebody hands you a hammer. But that doesn't mean that you should strap the hammer to a headband just to give your skull that old familiar jolt.
It's the Organization, Stupid
I was going to put this in a reply to a previous thread, but I'm making it its own entry. It's important.
New Idaho Democratic Party chair Keith Roark put the screws to Curtis Bowers earlier today. I'd hardly call these comments soft-spoken, as Roark has recently been accused of being in this space.
Apparently the Republican strategy is to close the primaries, which in turn allows them to nominate more people like Bowers and Steven Thayn, because they assume the Democrats won't contest these seats with viable candidates, which is exactly what's happened in the past, particularly outside Boise. If that happens, their plan works and things will get a lot worse for the political health of this state.
BUT, if there are real races for these people in November, it could be the beginning of a sea change in Idaho politics. I personally know of many Democrats who would make outstanding local candidates, but don't want to run because a lot of our local organizations are, um, lacking. Indeed, many Idaho Democrats who were successful in the past built their own organizations from ground zero out of necessity more than anything else. When they were active public officials, Cecil Andrus and Richard Stallings didn't rely on the Democratic organizations. The opposite was true.
Ada and Nez Perce Counties have well-organized county level organizations complete with their own dedicated offices. It's little wonder Democrats have been on the upswing in both counties over the past couple cycles. By contrast, I recently sent a letter to a county clerk in a Magic Valley county that shall remain nameless asking for a list of that county's current Democratic precinct captains. This county clerk called me today and told me ... there weren't any.
Another point to consider: There are a good many moderate Republicans in Idaho who would be comfortable in a functioning Democratic Party, but remain Republicans because they know that's where the power base is, and because they know they can get elected that way, no other reason. If the Republicans insist on pushing out their moderates, perhaps we should take it upon ourselves to bring them in.
Of course, we need to show them we have the juice to justify it first. That's the challenge right there.