POLK NC Dems
small county - Big Tent
by Andy Millard
A longtime Polk Dem just called me with the news that his neighbor, a lifelong Republican, had finally gotten fed up and switched over to our side. And he was pleasantly surprised at the warm welcome he had received from Democrats.
People all over America are suddenly going through this same process. It’s been a long time coming, and it's got a name: Trump Fatigue.
One of our jobs as Democrats is to turn opponents into supporters. But that's an impossible task. Each person must have their own change of heart. Their mind—and their vote—will surely follow.
That's where Trump Fatigue comes in. The sheer volume of self-serving, law-breaking, nausea-inducing behavior coming out of the White House over the last three-and-a-half years has opened the eyes of many GOP voters. At the same time, a continual stream of videos showing Black citizens suffering abuse at the hands of law enforcement has exposed a brutal truth that can no longer be ignored.
Slowly, imperceptibly, people of goodwill tire of the shenanigans. Then comes the last straw—one more heartbreaking video or sad MAGA rally—and it tips the scale. Suddenly the viewer sees things in a whole new light. What looks like a snap decision is just the inevitable end of a long road.
Hearts and minds are changing in our favor every day, and we need to greet converts with open arms. I always say there are more of us than you think; that’s getting more true every day.
by Andy Millard
For many of us, Juneteenth is a day that has hovered near the back of our awareness for years. Recent events have combined with serendipitous timing to propel it to the forefront of national attention. That's a good thing. And although our current president played a major part in bringing this about, he deserves no credit for, as he claims, making Juneteenth "famous."
In a very real way, current events are simply an extension of the story of the day. It was two and a half years between Lincoln's signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and June 19, 1865, the date that Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and relayed the news to the formerly enslaved persons of Texas. Similarly, we are now in the midst of an even longer-delayed reckoning surrounding the the meaning of that first Juneteenth and our country's original sin that made it necessary.
The Polk County Democratic Party recognizes that long delay, and we are committed to participating with open minds and hearts in the long process of healing.
President Barack Obama said it best: "Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory, or an acceptance of the way things are. It's a celebration of progress. It's an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible––and there is still so much work to do."
The Polk County Democratic Party has watched in anguish and anger as events continue to unfold following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Recent actions by the President of the United States have exacerbated the situation, threatened the liberties of Americans, and sought to divide us neighbor from neighbor.
We wish to make our position clear:
We recognize the centuries-old pestilence of systemic racism and are committed to rectifying it through constructive change.
We support Americans’ First Amendment rights to assemble and petition the government peacefully.
We reject the use of violence and destruction, either as a means of protest or as a cudgel against peaceful demonstrators.
We stand in disbelief and fury at the president’s deployment of our military against peaceful protesters.
We are enraged by the president’s unjustified forceful clearing of lawfully assembled citizens from Lafayette Park in Washington, DC.
We deplore the president’s use of a church and a Bible as a backdrop and prop for a self-aggrandizing photo opportunity.
We denounce as dangerous and absurd the Defense Secretary’s characterization of protest areas as battle spaces to be dominated.
We endorse former Vice President Joe Biden’s statement that we are facing formidable enemies which include not only the coronavirus and the terrible impacts on Americans’ lives and livelihoods, but also the selfishness and fear that have loomed over our national life for the last three years.
We do indeed find ourselves in a battle for the soul of America.
Each person must search their heart and soul for their own response. Will we give in to the forces of anger, hatred, fear and division? Or will we reject those forces, reach out to those who are different from us, and commit to move forward together as a nation?
Those of us in the Polk County Democratic Party have made our decision. We will continue to embrace diversity, address the wrongs of the past, seek to understand one another, support constructive change, and do our part to form a more perfect union. If you feel the same way, we invite you to join us.
IMPORTANT: You must register to attend
by Andy Millard, Polk Dems Chair
Despite dealing with a giant monkey wrench in the form of a tiny coronavirus, the North Carolina Democratic Party has put together a plan for all 100 counties to hold secure virtual conventions on Saturday, April 25. Here are the details for our event:
If you are not one of the 20 voting delegates but would still like to attend the convention, you're more than welcome! In order to preserve the security of the event, we're not publishing the Zoom link online. So just click here to email me, identify yourself and ask for the link. I'll send it to you and you'll be ready to go!
Conventions Postponed and Rejiggered
The annual convention of the Polk County Democratic Party (which had been scheduled for March 28) has been postponed until Saturday, April 25, and it will be held online. This change applies to all 100 counties and has been mandated by the Executive Council of the state party. As you can imagine, they're still working out the details. The local parties have very little control over the process, but I am very confident that we'll be able make it work. Stay tuned: when we know more, we'll pass it along!
The district convention, which had been scheduled for April 25, will now be held on May 16. It too will be held online. As with the county convention, we'll tell you more as we learn more.
Meetings and Events in Polk County
Here's what we're NOT doing:
We will not be holding any in-person meetings or events until further notice: no Polk Democratic Women's meeting, no Community Breakfast, no in-person county convention, no in-person executive committee meeting, no in-person trainings, postcard parties, phone banking, etc.
Here's what we ARE doing:
We will hold our monthly executive committee meeting on Thursday, April 2 at 7:00pm. It will be held online using the Zoom system. Don't be intimidated: it's very easy to participate. You will need a fairly up-to-date computer OR a fairly up-to-date smartphone. When it's time for the meeting to start, just click on this link: https://zoom.us/j/8137268049. Be aware: Zoom uses the camera on your phone or computer, so we'll all be able to see each other!
Questions or comments? Contact Andy Millard: 828-817-2999; email@example.com.
Millions of people waited until the last possible moment before deciding to vote for Joe Biden on Super Tuesday. I talked to the first one of them I could find (my dad) to figure out what they were thinking.
NOTE: This article was written for TheOutline.com by Drew Millard. Drew is a Bernie supporter and a journalist; he is also the son of Polk County Democratic Party Chair Andy Millard. He interviewed his dad, who voted for Biden on Super Tuesday. You can read some of their exchange below and the full article on the Outline's website.
by Drew Millard, Features Editor, TheOutline.com
Despite barely campaigning in many of key states until the days immediately following his blowout victory in South Carolina, former Vice President Joe Biden won 11 state primaries on Super Tuesday. Most notably, Biden won the delegate-rich Texas and North Carolina, the latter of which being a state where, according to exit polls, he earned twice as many votes as erstwhile frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders in two telling categories: those who had only made up their mind about who to vote for in the few days leading up to the primary, as well as those who had voted in past primaries. (Biden also beat Sanders among voters who wanted a return to former President Barack Obama’s policies, and weirdly enough, gave him a run for his money among voters who wanted to switch America to a single-payer healthcare system.)
“In certain ways,” wrote Benjamin Wallace-Wells of the New Yorker, “these victories seemed to be happening to Biden,” as opposed to being the result of any concerted effort on Biden’s part. And indeed, what appears to have happened is that Biden’s victory in South Carolina gave “permission” to millions of previously undecided Democratic voters to throw in their lot with him. Given that Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke all endorsed Biden in the hours before Super Tuesday, one might be forgiven if they felt that the Democratic party had quickly cobbled together a conspiracy to prevent Bernie Sanders from becoming the nominee and instead hand it on a platter to Biden despite the fact that he’s, well, Biden. This seems like a terrible idea.
However, we here at The Outline firmly believe in hearing both sides of the argument, and conveniently enough, the other side of that argument is represented by my dad Andy Millard, a North Carolina Democrat who, after months of trying each Democratic candidate on for size, cycling through them like he’d bought them from Zara or H&M, saw the results of the South Carolina primary and decided at the last possible moment to vote for Biden in our primary.
Even more conveniently, my dad was in 2016 the Democratic candidate in a western North Carolina congressional race (the district was hopelessly gerrymandered; he lost) and currently serves as the chair of his county’s Democratic party, so, to a greater degree than a lot of dads out there, he could be described as a member of the Democratic establishment. As such, he was begrudgingly willing to serve as the voice of that Democratic establishment in an interview I conducted with him yesterday morning as I tried to make sense of what happened on Tuesday night. To him, his vote was not exactly an affirmative one for Biden, nor was his a vote a negative one against Sanders; instead, it was a vote cast in the hopes that other people were also voting for Biden and that everyone could all be done with finding someone to run against President Donald Trump.
Despite his status as a member of the Democratic establishment (as determined by me), my dad is also skeptical of the Democratic establishment (as determined by him) as an entity that can get anything done effectively. “No one is better at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory like the Democratic party,” he said. Even if I don’t agree with his vote, I definitely agree with him on that.
This conversation has been edited for length, clarity, and a minimum of father-son squabbling.
As a member of the Democratic establishment, what do you make of the Super Tuesday results?
Voters have been voting strategically, and this is why: This whole election this year, it’s not about stopping Bernie, it’s not about any Democratic candidate. It’s not even about any given set of issues. It’s about one thing and one thing only: Trump. It’s about stopping Trump. Most Democratic voters recognize that it needs to be a clear-cut referendum on Trump. Most second-term elections for presidents boil down to a referendum on the incumbent. This year it’s in much starker relief than usual. Anything we do to drift away from that simple binary choice complicates the decision for voters. Voters know that, particularly voters who’ve been around for a while. Take Bernie. Bernie is not Trump. That’s good. But Bernie brings with him this whole concept of a revolution. By doing that, he brings along with him a more complicated calculus for voters. In our district here in Western North Carolina, there is actually a possibility that our candidate might have an outside chance of winning. The more it’s a simple referendum on Trump, the better chance our guy has.
One thing that I find confusing about that line of thinking is why Biden might represent the ideal non-Trump candidate.
Oh, he doesn’t. We don’t have an ideal non-Trump candidate, and people have finally come to that realization....
Read the full interview at TheOutline.com
Our public forum for Democratic congressional candidates on February 4 was a huge hit. The large crowd filled every chair in the room and filled the deck as well. (We opened the windows and turned up the volume on the sound system so everyone could hear.) The food was good, the crowd was energized, all five candidates were on their game, and everyone left happy and better informed. The next big event is our countywide precinct organizational meeting on Saturday, February 15. Many thanks to the volunteers who set up, prepared the food, checked in the attendees and took everything down at the end. Special thanks go to our five excellent candidates.
Now that we're in the 11th Congressional District, and with incumbent Mark Meadows not seeking re-election, we have 5 candidates vying for the Democratic nomination. It is very important that we get to know them in order to make a good choice in the March 3 primary.
Fortunately we have a chance to do just that. The Polk Dems are hosting a candidate forum on Tuesday, February 4 starting at 5:30 at the Harmon Field Cabin. All 5 candidates will be there.
Dinner is at 5:30 (bring $5 to help cover the cost), and the forum starts around 6:15. Andy Millard will moderate.
Please register so we'll know how much food to prepare!
The state party has mandated that every precinct in North Carolina hold organizational meetings on Saturday, February 15. One advantage of being such a small county is that we can hold all our precinct meeting in the same place and at the same time. We'll meet at the Steps to HOPE Community Room starting at 5:30 for dinner provided by the Women's Club. Then all 7 Polk County precincts will elect officers, and Susannah Hogan will lead a discussion on strategy for November's election. We need at least 6 Democrats from every precinct to attend.
by Andy Millard
The dust has settled - at least for now - and Polk County is officially in the 11th Congressional District for the 2020 election cycle. That may well change for 2022, however, because the state legislature will have to reassess and possibly redraw all congressional districts in 2021.
When we were in District 10, we got used to having just one Democratic candidate in most of the recent elections (Patsy Keever in 2012, Tate MacQueen in 2014, Yours Truly in 2016, David Wilson Brown in 2018). But now that we're in 11, we have FIVE candidates.
As for the two candidates who had been running in the old 10th District: David Brown is now running in the 5th District (where the incumbent is Republican Virginia Foxx). Gina Collias is running here in the 11th.
Our new District 11 is about 59% Republican to 41% Democrat. But with Mark Meadows recently announcing that he won't seek reelection, we should have a fighting chance to take back the seat.
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