Yankee Fan brought up the question of the General Assembly and the fall elections in the last post (although she misstated the candidates running against each other). The General Assembly elections always pose a difficult question for progressive activists: on the one hand, the Democrats control both houses and we feel more comfortable with that than the situation on the national level, but the Democrats in the Assembly certainly do not produce the progressive victories that other states achieve. Whether that is on the issues of growth control, environmental protection, civil rights, etc. To be sure these issues have all been treated moderately well by the General Assembly, but no one of the main issues that the progressive movement values is the state a leader on; instead the state party tends to achieve less dramatic progressive change such as some great consumer protection statutes, a model land buying program (the state receives $12 worth of land for every $1 that they spend on conservation research), and couple of other achievements.
The lack of bold initiatives tends to increase the natural tendency of voters to focus on national elections. We love Larry Kissell because he shows us a true populist front and Brad Miller because of his understanding and appreciation of science. These personalities are no where to be found on the state level in North Carolina. Progressives do not rally around Mike Easley because he comes across as just a good old boy, we do not enjoy having Jim Black as a leader because of the numerous accusations regarding his integrity and ethics, we do not care for Richard Moore despite his plea for a higher minimum wage because he sells that plan as a way to help business rather than the right thing to do for the workers of our state.
This dichotomy of more interest in the national races than the state races is certainly apparent in scanning our blog posts. When I initially agree to help start this project with Lance and Anglico, I was envisioning a forum that focused almost exclusively on state level issues, but the truth is that there is more for us on the national to be excited about. However, the added excitement of winning races on the national level should not distract us from the fact that we need to also take care of our own turf. Certainly we would like to see more progressive candidates, but the only way that we can demand movement from the state's Democrats is if we show them that the progressive citizens are a force on the state scene. That means we need to get involved.
I still believe that the best way to get involved is through this site. Anyone with an issue to bring to light or a candidate to promote should do so. In fact this is a call to action to do so. Tell us about a candidate to be excited about, tell us what we can do to help, and tell us where to find out more about them. I myself have a candidate that I would like to brag about and will posting on him in the near future. Until then, think about why we need a Democratic General Assembly (could you imagine if the state were run the way Republicans are running the nation), and come up with ways that we draw the Democrats to more progressive positions.
Here is a hint: Pope is influencing the Republicans with vast amounts of money and a full time team of paid Conservative warriors. We do not have money, and whether we can find people who will work for a better state is going to depend on what our readers decide to do.