Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Twenty Years of the DRC....Something Dreamed Up Right Here

    The Democratic Rural Conference meets this week. It's the brainchild of Jefferson County's Mike Schell, a good and decent man and one committed to the Democratic Party.
1996 Photo
 
   The DRC has sought to take NY's urban downstate based Democratic Party and made it more attuned to upstate issues. Results have been mixed as the party leaders have made trips up here and have devised programs for upstate like the Regional Councils.  But on many issues like SAFE Act or minimum wage, it's still stacked against us.
     Look at the recent Presidential primary in which 52 of 62 counties voted for Bernie Sanders, but Hillary Clinton won the state easily based on the counties the Democrats owe their existence to.
     Nonetheless, if we are going to have parties, Mr. Schell is to be commended for his efforts over the years.

6 comments:

Ted Ford said...

The most influential role of the DRC has been in process not issues. It created a forum and "straw poll" venue for emerging Dem candidates. In the mid 90s, for example, Eliot Spitzer emerged from the DRC straw poll at the Ithaca convention as the winner in the AG test vote. That was the start for him and there are other examples. Since then many statewide races have been tested intermurally at the DRC. The failure of the organization recently has been the dominance of
larger counties with larger cities which has been neither rural or democratic. Originally the DRC was the 'back 40.' The 40 counties in the state with less than 150 thousand population. Now its dominated by places like Binghamton and Schenectady and is a watered down shadow of its former little guy vitality. And is more social than substantial.
But you are right to commend Mike Shell's vision and iniative. And even more Mike's success in not having the great big Party smash the emerging DRC like a bug.
But as Thomas Wolff penned you can't go home again. The DRC is a victim of its own success.

Anonymous said...

There are lots of nice people out there who are owned by one political party. Both sides are represented. But it's time we admit that the damage done to the nation by blind obedience to party is unmeasurable. And there is no end to it in sight.

Anonymous said...

NYers are more controlled by fruitcake NYC Democrats than ever before. We now have the champeen of screaming dictators, Benito Cuomo. As nice and pretty as Mr Schell's efforts may have been, they have completely failed and part of NY north of Yonkers. The SAFE act, passed in the middle of the night with Benito's arm twisting, is just one example. Ted, you say Mr S's contribution was process and not issues, you are right about that one. You're focus on process over issues has resulting in Benito losing most every county in the state. Except of course NYC, where the entire cesspool seems to play golf, as it were.

Anonymous said...

I wish we had a Republican Rural Committee. Our area could use the representation.

Anonymous said...

5:10, you are absolutely right. Then we could have meaningful and substantial changes in the process. In the results, not so much.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, and Ted, thanks for the kind words. Many folks were involved in creating the DRC and we are proud of the fact that the north country and all upstate is competitive, no longer dominated by a single party. As a result, both parties are paying attention to us because both parties have a chance to win. The attention recently given to upstate by presidential candidates and surrogates shows how far we have come. Mike