Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Call to Convention

Elizabeth Warren didn't need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to buy her way onto the ballot. Doing so, in fact, would have been much easier than organizing the tens of thousands of supporters and volunteers who have been electrified by the Warren campaign.

We haven't seen this kind of engagement by the activist base of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since 2006, when Deval Patrick did something no one has since the Dukakis era: created a massive volunteer army.

In fact, with all due respect to the Governor, what Warren's been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time is even more impressive -- and I don't say that lightly. No one's attracted so many people, so quickly, as Warren has in Massachusetts. It's unprecedented and it's our best weapon against Scott Brown.

So, the question is, where does Marisa DeFranco fit in with all of this?

I'd like to say this primary is useful, like in 2006. Back then, the Governor benefited from being able to build up steam in the primary, igniting something that fascinated the media and enraptured hundreds of thousands of voters who were "checked out" for decades of voting before.

All of that happened, in part, because of the primary. Yet, Marisa DeFranco is no Tom Reilly or Chris Gabrieli. She isn't even a Christy Mihos. She's a comical sideshow that's raging behind the scenes, for anyone aware of the show. She's spouting Scott Brown lines, one after another, hoping one will stick and bring her act to Broadway. That dog ain't hunting.

The ultimate embarrassment is her continual campaign spiel about how she's the real grassroots candidate, but admits she only has 40 volunteers and has only raised only $40,000, the vast majority of which would have been needed to buy her way onto the ballot via paid signature collecting.

Years ago, I decided a barometer I'd use for any campaign in the state would be paid signature collecting. It's simply a disrespectful act toward democracy to go out and buy some private company to pay people a dollar a signature (or more) to put someone or something on the ballot. It's led to extreme abuse and has been the constant tool by bigoted or corporate groups to get things on the ballot.

DeFranco may be shocked to learn this, but she isn't entitled to be on the ballot. Buying signatures alone isn't enough. Thankfully, we -- the activist base of this party -- have an opportunity to do what party leaders can't and tell DeFranco she's toast, by denying her access at the convention.

If any of your delegate-friends waver, feeling guilty about dropping someone from the ballot for the first time in a long time, remember to tell them just what kind of a campaign DeFracno's run. Remember to tell them just what's at stake in November. Only one candidate at the convention can take on Wall Street and actually act as a force of nature to give everyday American families a fair shot. Any other vote is a vote for Scott Brown.

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