As a Progressive, what were you doing in 1990?
I was 19 and in France on JYA, and even I remembered to vote for Harvey Gantt against Jesse Helms.
Most North Carolina Democrats were working their hardest to dethrone Jesse Helms. It was an all hands on deck moment for Progressives in North Carolina.
Hampton Dellinger was a law student volunteering on that campaign. I'm willing to bet Walter Dalton and Pat Smathers were trying to help as well.
I would bet everything I have on this: none of those three men donated $1,650 to a Republican in a year when all available Progressive and Democratic resources were being thrown at Jesse Helms. And none of them harbored the fantasy that the North Carolina Republican Party has ever been anything but controlled by the Jesse Helms machine.
According to Under the Dome, Dan Besse, the candidate claiming a "lifetime" of work for Progressive values and endorsement by the Progressive Democrats of North Carolina, did those things in 1990.
I'm glad Dan became a Democrat. He's done a lot of good in North Carolina.
But this is surprising. And probably something that should have been acknowledged up front.
I wouldn't hold a conversion against a politician once he proved it authentic. We're all hoping Chris Mintz wins in his State Senate race, and he didn't switch until 2004. Moderate Republicans becoming Democrats is a sign that we are winning the battle for the middle ground in American politics.
But Chris Mintz will tell you right up front he used to be a Republican. And, it is worth noting, Chris never claimed to be more authentically progressive than Ty Harrell.