How It Started – How It’s Going

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Fellow Democrats,

     We are approaching the end of another year, and of my third term as President. We will form a nominating committee at this month’s meeting, charged with recruiting a slate of officer candidates to present in January. Nominations from the floor, including self-nominations, will also be accepted at that meeting, and our 2024 leadership chosen.

     Whatever the outcome of that process, it has been an honor to lead this organization for the past three years. Much of the work I am proudest of has happened behind the scenes. For example, when I took office the Club used checks for many transactions and kept membership records mostly on paper. 

     The transformation of the Club’s website and newsletter are more visible. With Karim Sahli’s technical and design expertise, we have become a major producer of political information and analysis. Newsletter editor Peter Rockwell has expanded the Active Democrat from four Xeroxed 8.5×11 pages to a full-color monthly often more than ten pages long. All modesty aside, I think we have published some material which could hold its own in a professional publication such as Jacobin or Slate. Culver City deserves no less.

     There has also been no shortage of drama. I am a proud member of the Class of 2016: people inspired to work within the Democratic Party by Bernie Sanders’ example. As I’ve learned more about the history of our party, I understand that “mods vs. progs” (which is a terrible name that makes me think of Who fans beating up Yes fans) goes back much farther. We can talk about Unruh vs. Cranston, McCarthy vs. Johnson, Stevenson vs. Kennedy, Jackson vs. Mondale, etc. However, as I’ve argued here since my first column, the fight for control of the Democratic brand is exceptionally intense now because of the total devolution of the Republican one and the resulting impossibility of being elected with an “R” next to your name in many places. Ask Rick Caruso. AOC famously said that in most countries she and Joe Biden would not be in the same political party. The same holds for Traci Park and Mike Bonin, Daniel Lee and Göran Eriksson, but here we are.

     Maybe I should say here we were. During my tenure our membership swelled from around 100 to nearly 400, as Democrats of various ideologies attempted to gain a majority and control this Club’s direction. I am sincerely disappointed that quite a few of these people did not renew and that a handful, after failing to gain traction here, formed a splinter group rather than attempting to press their case within this Club with stronger arguments and organizing. I continue to encourage all registered Democrats to join this Club. Our decision-making process is more inclusive and transparent than most, with all endorsements made by direct votes of the membership on a secret ballot.

     Despite the schism, our membership remains proportionally exceptional. Two-thirds as many people voted in our Senate endorsement election as did in the Santa Monica Democratic Club’s, despite Santa Monica being over twice as large as Culver City and having a more intense history of activism.

     That endorsement election was the first step in our 2024 election work. We will choose our remaining March Primary endorsements in December, then select our officers and approve our budget in January. I do not anticipate much controversy in the remaining Primary endorsements; most offices are held by popular incumbents. After March, however, things will become very intense, with a heavy lineup of State propositions and three City Council and two School Board seats in play. Last election we produced dozens of videos with candidates for offices from local to Federal, publishing far more election information than any other Culver City organization, and we’re going to do it again!

     If you renewed since July of this year and took advantage of our $45 mid-year deal, or have bought a $500 lifetime membership, you are ready for 2024. All other memberships will expire at midnight New Year’s Eve, like in a fairy tale, so renew now so you don’t miss any of the action!