One Hundred Days Later
Guest Post by Michael Chambers (guest posts are moderated, but not approved or endorsed by the CCA Steering Committee)
Looking back over the past one hundred days, I am amazed that there were so few lessons learned by the local Democratic Town Committee and its spokespeople. How can a group so completely miss the message sent by the electorate of Charlestown last November? I would have thought that the Democratic candidates who had to swim against the current of public opinion would initiate logical changes to their party’s organizational chart to prepare for the next election. As a one-time member of the Democratic Party, I was disappointed when I read that the Party was satisfied with rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic captained by Catherine O’Reilly Collette and her first mate, Wilfred Collette. With these two at the helm, they remain as dysfunctional as they had been before the election.
I would have thought that the local Democrats would have sought answers to their defeat and would seek out new players for their group. Unfortunately, they continued to push the same old faces, the same old members, and the same old rhetoric. They believe that if they keep complaining about the Charlestown Citizens Alliance, they will convince the voters that the local Democratic Town Committee is for the general populace. In reality, they are simply against anything that the CCA supports. When CCA takes a stand that is favorable to the town’s residents, the local Democratic party takes the opposite view. It makes one wonder how a small group like CCA, solely concerned with local issues and the quality of life in Charlestown, could overcome the stacked deck that the State Democrats have fostered over the years. Let’s take a look at the past 100 days.
CCA candidates are considered Independents. The established party candidates (Democrats, Republicans, and Moderates) have their candidates listed first. At the bottom of the candidates list are the Independents, listed in an order chosen by lottery. Then there is the Master Lever, available to only the established parties. Then there is the amount of money a group can spend per candidate. Independents are limited to about $1000 per candidate whereas the established parties are allowed about 20 times that amount. With the deck stacked so much in favor of the parties, how can anyone expect an Independent to win?
The answer is simple and this past election emphasizes that answer. In order for an Independent to win an election, the candidate must embrace the will of the voter and treat them with respect. They must understand the issues in the context that the issue presents itself. They must be one with the people of this town. With the absence of a Republican candidate, the Democrats became the standard bearers of the National Party at the local level. The Democrats failed miserably. They showed great disrespect for the residents, referring to residents who spoke out at Town Council meetings in pejorative terms. They adopted the National Party line, which often was contrary to the needs of the residents. They acted like union agitators rather than concerned citizens. They looked at local issues through national policy standards. People cannot be so out of touch with their neighbors unless they made a conscious effort to be as contrary as they were. The Pied Pipers of Charlestown’s Democratic Town Committee are continuing to lead their candidates down the same path as last year.