Tired of Voting for Middle of the Road Democrats? Change it.

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By Hae Min Cho, Steering Committee of Progressive Democrats of America

Do you ever feel completely fed up with voting? Do you ever feel like it never seems to matter who you vote for–that no matter who you pick, the neoliberals and moderates (who call themselves progressive in SF) wage unjust wars abroad while poor and working class people get the shaft?

Lucky for you, the CA Democratic Party holds local elections every two years to elect delegates (14 from each of the 80 assembly districts) to the yearly state party conventions. And at these conventions, the delegates discuss and develop party platform, vote on the CA Democratic Party’s official endorsements on candidate races and state ballot measures, and elect party leaders, such as the Chair of the CA Democratic Party. Would you consider that a reasonable democratic process? Would that give you a little spark of hope that there is a path forward to become a more humanitarian, just and egalitarian society?

What can possibly be accomplished within this kind of state party structure? you ask. Isn’t the elitist corporate capitalist structure so firmly established that nothing could possibly disrupt its total control over society? This society that is supposed to be a democracy but that everyone knows is limited by corporate media, the slavery-era electoral college, voter suppression by Republicans, and the utter greed of the .01% whose wealth equals that of the bottom 70%.

Does participating in electoral politics mean we are helping legitimize sellout corporate Democrats and a corrupt system of exploitation, otherwise known as predatory capitalism?

No way, we are bringing the people’s voice into the institution. This does not mean we should stop marching and protesting homeless sweeps, charter schools, bail outs for PG&E, ICE raids, and everything inhumane and morally wrong. We need to do both. Above all, we must take political power where it is available to us, and that is through the ballot box.

What are some things that ADEM delegates have been able to accomplish? Already delegates to the Progressive Caucus have written and passed resolutions to:

  1. Repeal Costa Hawkins

  2. Endorse SB562 Single Payer Health Care

  3. Get corporate fossil fuel money out of elections

  4. Significantly reduce the power of “super delegates” to the CA Democratic Party

So how do we ensure grassroots voters can move the party more to the left by electing delegates? Candidates to be delegates to the party have formed slates promoting their unifying platforms and presenting a diverse, representative coalition. Assembly members often arrange a slate so they can ensure their elected delegates will vote for their issues and endorsed candidates. Assemblymember David Chiu is backing the United Resistance slate, which features some well-established moderate candidates like YIMBY YIMBY executive director Laura Foote and Chariot lobbyist Nima Rahimi. San Francisco Democratic Party Chair David Campos is backing the Reform Democrats for Labor and Equity, who boast a more lefty platform including abolishing ICE and repealing the Ellis Act. The Reform Democrats feature activists such as Shanti Singh of Tenants Together (and steering committee co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America, San Francisco) and Kevin Ortiz, a Mission activist and board member of the Latino Democratic Club.

Assembly District 19 is a bit more peaceful, where Assemblymember Phil Ting and activists in the district have curated a slate that unites both moderate and progressive candidates. The slate is aptly named UniTING for Assembly District 19 and features activists like Alan Wong, former NUHW organizer and current aide for Supervisor Gordon Mar, and City College Board of Trustees President Brigitte Davila.

Go to: in order to find your voting location and your progressive candidates. This is a coalition of progressive organizations statewide: Roots Action Network, Our Revolution, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), CA Nurses Association, Courage Campaign, Progressive Caucus, as well as individual labor and grassroots activists from around the state.

The next CA Democratic Party convention will take place in San Francisco this May, and the Reform Democrats for Labor and Equity will be considering resolutions for a stateside public bank and a Green New Deal. We will also be voting for the next Chair of the CA Democratic Party. There has been a culture of bullying and sexual harassment that the Progressive Caucus delegates aim to effectively eradicate. And with your help, we can.

If you live in the eastern half of San Francisco (Assembly District 17), your local election will be held at the Women’s Building in the Mission this Saturday, January 12 from 10 am to 1 pm. If you’re in the western half (Assembly District 19), your local election will take place at Doelger Cafe this Sunday, January 13 at 10 am to 1 pm.

Please vote this Saturday or Sunday if you live in SF! Let’s take over the CA Democratic Party from the left!

This election is only for registered Democrats, but you can register to vote or re-register on site.

Find Your District Here

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