Monday, June 8, 2015

No good deed goes unpunished in crAZy Democratic politics

Some of you will not like what I have to say here, so let me first repeat a disclaimer and then tell you a short story which motivates my interest in what follows - facts and the distortions of them.

The disclaimer

I am an independent blogger, independent in the following sense. The "... opinions offered are mine and mine only unless another source is clearly identified. That means that, without other attribution, the positions taken in my posts are not those of any candidate or committee or club." (Previously posted here.)

The story

When I came to Arizona and first became attentive to its elections, I was approached by candidates and their representatives asking for my signature on nominating petitions. Like other folks new to all this, I cheerfully signed the first petitions given me. But then I learned that I could (legally) sign no more. I thought I was doing right by signing petitions from all Democratic candidates but state law limits the number of signatures that I could give to the number of offices. That is, I could sign only one petition for a state senator and two petitions for state representatives. By signing early I ended up depriving myself of choices as other candidates declared.

The good deed

One week ago the Democratic Club of the Santa Rita Area (DCSRA) published its weekly "Monday Blast". That email traditionally contains announcements of interest to DCSRA members and also reminders and informational pieces. Here, quoted verbatim, is one such informational piece about petition signing limitations and options posted last Monday.


Signature requirements

The DCSRA would like our members to understand the Arizona Elections rules regarding signing of nomination petitions.

From the Partisan Petition Nomination Form: I hereby declare that I am qualified to vote for this office and that I have not signed, and will not sign, any nomination petition for more persons than the number of candidates necessary to fill such office at the next ensuing election

Each signer of a nomination petition for an Arizona State position (i.e. State Representative, State Senator or any other state position) may sign only one petition per office, unless more than one candidate is to be elected for that office. In that case, signers may sign as many nomination petitions as there are candidates that will be elected to the office.

This means that in LD2 there is only one State Senate seat available so LD2 voters can only sign one petition for that seat. There are 2 State House of Representatives seats available in LD2, so LD2 voters can only sign two petitions for those seats."

Some voters may wish to wait to see if campaigns are going to be competitive before signing petitions while others may choose to sign early. This is entirely up to the voter.

The last two items are directly relevant to my personal story. I wish that I had had that useful information years ago when I was first approached by folks carrying nominating petitions. I firmly believe that it is a disservice to voters to deny them choices.

The punishment

But not everyone sees it the same way. A strongly critical post to Facebook yesterday (Sunday, June 7th) took exception and recast the DCSRA announcement as a personal attack on two Democratic candidates. The Facebook post disparaged both the club and its leaders thusly:

  • "this "Democratic" Club"
  • "lack of support"
  • "this mean spirited post"
  • "How insulting"
  • "discouraging members from signing ... nominating petitions"

It's not my place to mount a historical and factual defense of DCSRA but the snarky quotes in "this "Democratic" Club" are unwarranted. Anyone who has been anywhere near the Continental Plaza during election season knows that the DCSRA-funded Green Valley Democratic Headquarters becomes a center for the support of all Democratic candidates, up and down the entire ticket. Similarly, "lack of support" is also unwarranted. For example, the club has hosted forums and meet-and-greets even in electoral off-years.

There is no evidence in the DCSRA post at all to justify the descriptor "this mean spirited post". Would I be justified in reversing the direction of that comment? And "How insulting" could this, or any, factual service announcement really be?

And then there is the charge that the post was "discouraging members from signing ... nominating petitions". The DCSRA announcement informed its readers as to the state law governing petition signing and the options available to those doing the signing. That information should help voters make informed decisions about their signing choices. How is that "discouraging"?

Sadly, the good deed was punished.

My conclusion

Note that there is nothing in the DCSRA announcement that is not a matter of fact. I do not know how any semblance of rational thought could draw the inferences that led to the emotionally-charged labels applied in that Facebook post. We Democrats have bigger fish to fry. We do not need to expend our energy attacking each other for imagined slights. Move on already!

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