Not that long ago, I taped an episode of KNME’s The Line with former Democratic Party Chairman John Wertheim (Episode 119, Chapter 3). Unfortunately, the day we were taping also happened to be the day that Governor Bill Richardson announced he was pulling out of the Presidential race, so our on air time was greatly reduced with the majority of the show being webcasted.
During a portion of that webcast, John thought he had a pretty good zinger (evident by the smile on his face) about the Democratic Party process being more open and involving than the Republican Party process. I couldn’t disagree more, and I think this recent article about the Chaves County Pre-Primary Convention makes my point:
The Democratic Party of Chaves County nominated 32 delegates Wednesday evening, who are to attend the Democratic Party of New Mexico Pre-Primary Nominating Convention to be held March 15 in Rio Rancho, N.M.
A total of 40 delegates from Chaves County in Congressional District 2 are required to attend the convention and help determine which candidates will appear on New Mexico’s June 3 primary ballot. Delegates will also consider a platform during the convention, which requires 60 percent of a non-secret vote to be adopted.
Eight of the 40 delegates who are members of the State Central Committee, are automatic delegates.
This means that 20% of the delegate slots are already taken by the party hierarchy. Compare that to the Republican Party in New Mexico where everyone, regardless of their position, has to run to be a delegate, and it is evident, at least in New Mexico, which party is more open to change by grassroot activists.