Our congressional district is represented by Ron Kind. Kind is most charitably characterized as a corporate Democrat, the type who would’ve been a Republican if that party hadn’t become so crazy. He voted for the Iraq war, and he loves job-exporting trade deals like the TPP. This constantly frustrates several important party factions, especially progressives and organized labor. But we keep electing him anyway because the Republicans are so crazy.
This year, the Republicans are not fielding a challenger to Ron Kind. Myron Buchholz is a Bernie Democrat challenging Ron Kind in the Democratic primary. He and his campaign manager came to town today to do a meet-and-greet at a coffee shop downtown. We wanted to make sure that Myron was someone who could be an effective congressman, and we came away satisfied.
We spent a bit of time chatting with Myron and Jody, his campaign manager. Myron Buchholz was history teacher in Eau Claire when Scott Walker and other Wisconsin Republicans demeaned and defunded his profession so badly it pushed him (and many other teachers in his age group) into retirement. When Ron Kind endorsed the TPP, that pushed Myron to challenge Kind for his seat.
We had to leave for another event, but suggested that they may want to come also. The county party was opening its new headquarters just a few blocks away.
The new Democratic Party headquarters is in a storefront that used to be a stylish vintage clothing shop. It began as half of the first floor of a JC Penny’s back when those kinds of stores used to be downtown. But it’s in a good central location to gather and deploy volunteers, do phone banking, hold small meetings, and do all of the other things a local campaign headquarters does.
We were greeted at the door by a lady asking us to sign in, and she also offered us a chance to sign nomination petitions for some Democratic candidates. We told them we could not sign Ron Kind’s petition, as we had already signed the Myron Buchholz’ petition. They should have Myron’s petition there for people to sign as well.
We ran into our old friend “the mayor” (it’s been over ten years since he was mayor, but we still like to call him that). He wished me well as he recounted being a Ted Kennedy delegate in 1980. We schmoozed our way over to the snack table, which is where I crossed paths with Vicky.
Vicky and I greeted each other courteously and acknowledged that we are both representing our district at the DNC. I took this opportunity to try politely engaging with a Hillary delegate. “Since Hillary is going to need the enthusiastic support of the Bernie people in order to win the general election, what can Hillary do to make the Bernie people happy?”
Vicky was having none of it. “She’s the nominee, she doesn’t need to do anything. We’re all Democrats, we should support the nominee.”
I pointed out that if the situation were reversed, we would have to find a way to make the Hillary people happy. “I want to find a way for every delegate to go home happy.”
She muttered something about how she was in that position in 2008, and that it would be a disaster for Donald Trump to become president. “But ‘she’s not Trump’ is not good enough. Hillary has to find a way to make Bernie people enthusiastic about campaigning for her, not just against Trump.”
It was at this point that Vicky got diverted to greet another arrival and the conversation got handed off to one of her assistants. I tried to emphasize that my problem isn’t as much with Hillary’s policies as with her bland incrementalist message. “When the Russians were putting people into orbit, Kennedy didn’t say ‘we should also go into orbit.’ No, he said ‘let’s go to the Moon’ and that inspired and excited people.” This person said, “but Kennedy didn’t have to deal with the tea party…”
This is when I got diverted. Myron and Jody were arriving, and Vicky was trying to herd people into seats. We didn’t wait to witness what happened next, as we both had a long list of things to attend to at home. But let’s just say it was an “interesting” evening.