Who’s Down with NPP? Yeah, You Know, Me
By Don Greene
With apologies to Naughty by Nature …
First I believe I should start with a few disclaimers: 1) All opinions expressed are my own; this means all those people who will immediately begin to call, email, text and/or send pigeons to my boss attempting to silence me through intimidating him, stop. 2) I will clearly identify information based on emails, phone calls or speculation. 3) There will be a little bit of inside baseball stuff in here, stick with it. 4) Just to be clear: All opinions expressed are my own.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s begin.
This will come as no surprise to many of you who read this, especially after the DNC elected a Hillary-Clinton, corporate Democrat to run the party. (I wish Tom Perez the best of luck and hope he will bring a different perspective to the party; my fear is he won’t.)
The national Democratic party is in trouble and the local Democratic Party is flailing right along with it.
The momentum created through movements such as the Women’s March on Washington and the various Indivisible Groups is great and is noticed. All the strategists in the Democratic party – who, by the way, couldn’t excite and capture this level of energy during the last election – are conniving to capture and steer this energy for the Party’s gain. In other words, going forward, what may look like grassroots organizing and politicking will more than likely be a front for the “corporate Democrats” the movements are pushing against.
My decision to leave the Democratic Party and re-register NPP is based upon this type of collusion and shenanigans I see happening in the 49th Congressional District race. Colonel Doug Applegate was the first Democratic challenger in years to put Darrell Issa on notice and on the run. After many attempts by good Democrats to displace him, Applegate was able to come within 1621 votes, closer than any other candidate in Issa’s long congressional tenure.
It makes sense, at least to me, to support Applegate in the 2018 election. He has announced he will run; he has filed his paperwork and continues to maintain a campaign staff and campaign operation. Yet, there are movements happening within the Orange County and San Diego County Democratic Parties which would push Applegate aside and replace him with their own version of a “corporate Democrat” by the name of Mike Levin.
Levin is an Orange County attorney connected to big-ticket donors for the national and local parties. Though he hasn’t officially filed to run, he has been invited to a candidate forum in April sponsored by the OC Women’s Democratic Club. He spoke at the town hall held in Vista on Tuesday, Feb 21. More on that later.
When it became apparent Levin was in the mix a week before the Vista town hall, I approached SD Dem Party Past Chair Francine Busby to talk about beginning a conversation with Levin and the OC Dem Party about the advantages of having only one candidate in the race for the 49th and how important it is to keep Applegate in the spot. I was told by Busby she had already met with Levin multiple times, had discussed the issue with him and ultimately, the problem existed between the two candidates. I admit it seemed strange to me she had already met with Levin multiple times.
Fast forward to Wednesday, Feb 22, the morning after the Vista townhall. I was told by a couple of people Mike Levin had spoken at the town hall and Doug Applegate had been expressly asked to not speak. The reason given: We don’t want candidates to speak; yet, Levin spoke. I was outraged this happened; I sent an email to current Chair of the SD Dem Party, Jessica Hayes, Past Chair Busby and North Area Vice Chair Melinda Vasquez reasserting my belief we should be supporting Applegate and a conversation needs to happen between the parties so we can come to a solution.
What happened after my initial email was, to say the least, unbelievable.
Hayes told me in an email the answer is to have an Applegate rally. I’ll pause to let the statement sink in. In no uncertain terms I told her she was wrong and we could do more. She deflected with talk of bylaws and process and everything other than doing the right thing which would be to support Applegate. Not endorse Applegate, but support him through a conversation with the OC party to try to broker this problem to a favorable resolution.
Busby, in a separate email, told me the same information but went further to tell me she had been working with the organizers of the town hall event and they were unaware Levin was a candidate. Again, I’ll pause to let the statement sink in. Wasn’t this event supposed to be a grassroots effort? Apparently not.
It seems SEIU, MoveOn.org, and the California Democratic Party had something to do with it, in coordination with the local counties’ parties. (An email shared with me by Hayes shows the CDP glowing over the turnout numbers.) They are upset I’m sharing this information with you; they don’t want you to know they’re trying to get Levin in and Applegate out. I told you it seemed strange Busby had met with Levin a number of times; now it was beginning to make more sense.
All of this leads me to these points:
1) The grassroots organizing many people are taking part in across the county is trying to be subverted by the very corporate Democratic party. The Bernie movement and the progressives need to be aware the energy everyone is feeling needs to be focused. If it isn’t, those who would corrupt it will find a way to do it.
2) The idea of having a progressive candidate like Applegate in the 49th is not something the powers that be want to have happen. Levin is an OC resident, yet was at the Vista town hall, not the OC town hall event which happened on the same night. Why? He’s already known in OC; he needs to get name recognition in SD.
People continue to work behind the scenes to get Applegate to drop out. If they can’t get him to drop out, they’ll take over the momentum behind him and they’ll put Levin forward to make him more palatable. We can’t let them push out the candidate who represents change and progress with yet another “corporate Democrat.”
3) The local Democratic parties are not interested in the progressive, Bernie movement. At least the current and former leadership isn’t interested. If you see any of the leadership showing up to a local Indivisible Groups or to a grassroots effort, be very wary. They are looking for ways to steer you and your energies to benefit the same old Democratic playbook which has failed. The party has failed to put up a candidate for San Diego Mayor – arguably, the most important position in the county currently. And now they want to push aside a viable candidate in the 49th for someone who just can’t do the job.
There is more. I can tell you this, there is certainly more. But, I believe I’ve blathered on long enough and I’m sure I’ll start taking flack from people for this. It’s OK. I’m used to taking flack from a number of people and have become mostly immune to it.
I chose to re-register and become an independent. In my life I started as a Republican, became an NPP, then Dem, now back to NPP. And here I will stay. I don’t know if we’ll ever get an actual Independent movement going, but I’m happy to talk with anyone who would like to kick around some ideas and make a difference. We don’t need to be a party (not that it’s a bad idea) but we can be a unified force for good.
Let’s give it a shot.
Don Greene is the former North Area Vice Chair for the San Diego County Democratic Party and recently re-registered as a No Party Preference voter. He is currently the Aide to the Deputy Mayor of Oceanside and has consulted on a number of local campaigns. All opinions expressed by Don are his own and not necessarily those of his employer or his clients.