Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Legalizing electoral fusion as another election improvement measure in DC

Today's Washington Times has an article, "Minority parties see power grab for D.C. vote," about how because of DC election laws that require one of the winning candidates of the at-large Councilmember race in each election cycle not be from the majority (Democratic) party, that a bunch of candidates who are normally considered to be Democratic Party members, are considering dropping their affiliation for that of an "Independent," to win election.

In the past, DC has had representatives from the Statehood Party (which later merged with the DC Green Party but since has not had success on the ballot) and the Republican Party on Council, but hasn't since Carole Schwartz was defeated in an internecine party battle in 2008 ("Farewell To Carol Schwartz--D.C.'s Last Republican?," Washington Post).

The first Democrat to do this was William Lightfoot.  Later Michael Brown did the same thing.  Then so did David Grosso.

2.  But there is another course.  I have written that DC's Democratic Party has a weak platform and gets away with it ("Special election redux: Part 2" and "Repositioning cities (at least on the coasts) for greater political prominence, and a city-first agenda"), because the majority of residents are Democratic in affiliation and aren't likely to vote for non-Democratic candidates, regardless in large part, of their positions--if any--on most issues.

A way to begin to develop "platforms" would be to allow DC candidates to run on multiple party lines, which is called "electoral fusion."  It used to be legal across the country but now is legal in only 8 states, although New York State and New York City are the best examples.  For example, winning Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio ran as representative of both the Democratic Party and the Working Families Party ("The Third Party That's Winning" Bill Moyers Journal; "The Power of Fusion Politics," The Nation).

3.  The DC Democratic Party elections have a variant form of this, as candidates have the option of organizing and running as part of slates.  

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At 3:38 PM, Anonymous charlie said...

The result of the DC Democratic party elections slates isn't encouraging in terms of new and diverse voices. "DC for HIllary" or whatever they called themselves pulled some wool over the eyes. Classic move. "The rent is to damn high" people got shut out.

At 5:49 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

maybe that example wasn't so great, but they were all Democrats running as slates.

The thing was, unlike say the "Working Families" moniker, the offices they were running for and the slates didn't have any meaning.

I voted for some people who I knew, but I can't say that I really care about the people on the Democratic Party Central Committee.


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