Monday, May 30, 2016

Record number of Wyoming Democrats toss hats in the ring for 2016 elections

62 out of 75.

Democrats are running in 62 of the 75 legislative races this year.

This may be the most Dems throwing their hats in the ring since the 1970s, when Democrats were not as rare around the state as they are in 2016. Unions were stronger. The state party was robust. We had a Dem from Sweetwater County in Congress! Republicans had not been driven insane by the existence of President Barack Obama. I heard one candidate say that he can't believe all of the bad blood directed at Dems in the many cozy corners of Wyo. I guess he hasn't been on Facebook much.

I spent Friday and Saturday volunteering for the Wyoming State Democratic Convention, held in our fair city for the first time in quite awhile. Some 300 delegates gathered at Little America on Saturday for the actual convention which went on and on and on... The Nellie Tayloe Ross annual dinner followed, along with the live and silent auctions. I helped haul and display the 307 auction items, which included outstanding works of art, many donated by Barry Mercer, and at least one Donald Trump pinata, this one donated by Jason Bloomberg. A good time was had by all, even though dinner was three hours late due to the lengthy business portion of the convention. We raised a lot of funds for the state party. Best of all, I got to hang out with the best bunch of volunteers in creation or, since evolution began, depending on your POV and/or prejudices. The Jane Robinette Quartet provided the music -- catch them this Saturday at the Suite Bistro, as you will be glad you did.

I can't speak about any of the convention proceedings. I was not a delegate this year. I was in 2004, 2008 and 2012. In 2004, I walked in as a newbie to the county convention, said I was a Dennis Kucinich delegate, and the volunteer at the desk said, "Congratulations -- you're a delegate to the state convention." I wandered up to Sheridan that May and had a great time although was pretty clueless as to the proceedings. I was an antiwar activist and kept pitching peacenik planks that were voted down. My fellow Kucinich supporters, all 20 of them, voted in the affirmative. But times were weird and Dems didn't want to look too peacenicky even though we would have an excellent candidate in John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War veteran who got Swift-Boated into oblivion in the general election.

In 2008, I was an Obama delegate to the county and state convention and an embedded blogger at the DNC in Denver. In 2012, I attended the county convention but missed the state convention. In 2014, I attended the state convention in Rock Springs, gnoshed on pierogis and heard an excellent talk by activist Dolores Huerta -- that alone was worth the drive.

This time I donated my time to the cause. It's good to volunteer -- people on both sides of the aisle agree on that. I also helped assemble the opening reception at Cheyenne's Historic Depot. Several hundred people attended. The liquor held out but we ran out of food until a relief unit arrived with a supply of pizza. Chris and I supervised one of the fund-raising games that were scattered across the floor. Again, a good time was had by all. Clean-up was a breeze, but that's what you expect from Democrats -- a neat and tidy bunch. A few heated arguments broke out between Bernie and Hillary delegates. They were resolved with firearms, as is the Wyoming custom.

The Dems now have delegates to send to the DNC in Philadelphia. Also a platform. Some ill will too, I guess, although I'm pretty sure that will cool off the more we see of Republican Candidate Trump. Keep your fingers crossed.

Now it's time for the Grassroots organization to plan the next fund-raiser. It will be held on Sunday, June 12 at Joe's house -- I have that address somewhere (stay tuned). Candidates will make short yet pithy speeches and we shall eat red, white and blue desserts for Flag Day. Raise funds, too. See you then.

No comments: