February 2008

Let’s congratulate the following individuals who will represent the District as pledged delegates for Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado:

Pauline Chapman
Jerry Clark
Maria Corrales
Kierra Johnson
Cynthia Kain
Eugene Kinlow
Anthony Muhammed
Darryl Wiggins

A special congratulations to our own Jerry Clark (Political Director) and Eugene Kinlow!

Also congratulations to DC for Democracy members Betty Smalls and Juan Manuel Thompson, who will serve as alternates for Obama. DC4D Chair, Kesh Ladduwahetty, is also very honored to serve as an alternate.

We got the news recently from the DC Democratic State Committee, which held the Pre-primary Caucus where the delegate candidates were voted on. The official results were contingent on the results of the February 12th DC Primary. Of the 13 pledged delegates and alternates, a full 11 will represent Senator Obama due to his landslide victory of 75.3%. DC4D is extremely pleased that the candidate we endorsed last October is the overwhelming choice of our fellow citizens living in the District of Columbia.

Senator Obama has also won over the entire DC Shadow Delegation. Shadow Representative and DC for Democracy member, Mike Panetta, endorsed Senator Obama before the DC Primary. Mike will be running as an “unpledged add-on” delegate; there are two such positions, to be voted on by the DC Democratic State Committee.

From Mike Panetta:

“The torch has been passed to Senator Obama as the vanguard of a new generation of leadership, and I know he’ll use that torch to light the fires of democracy here in the District of Columbia. It’s clear to me that Senator Obama can bring hope to our nation, and hope to those fighting for full citizenship right here in America’s capital.”

Also, Shadow Senators and superdelegates Mike Brown and Paul Strauss endorsed Senator Obama just this week.

From Mike Brown:

“I wholeheartedly give my endorsement to Senator Barack Obama with the audacious hope that the change he brings to America will include the full restoration of rights to the 600,000 good citizens of the District of Columbia. I proudly stand with my constituents in supporting his candidacy…”

From Paul Strauss:

“We feel strongly that we should use our vote to uphold the will of the people who by decisive margins chose Barack Obama in contests across the country and by our region’s voters in the Potomac Primaries.”

From Senator Barack Obama:

“I thank Senators Strauss and Brown for their support. Even without the vote, they have always been strong advocates for the rights of DC residents — rights I will continue to support as President. And I look forward to working with them and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and Mayor Adrian Fenty in the months ahead to bring about real change not just in the District of Columbia, but all across this country.”

We heartily thank DC’s entire Shadow Delegation for their endorsement of the candidate who has the overwhelming support of the people of the District of Columbia!

[From right to left: Emily Lamia (Executive Assistant to Chairman Dean) and DC4D members Susan Meehan and Jesse Lovell. Just delivered to Emily on the table are eleven folders containing 60,000+ signatures from DFA members in every state and the District of Columbia.]

The right to petition is one of our most cherished First Amendment rights. It is also one of the sacred obligations of citizens: for without communicating our opinions to elected officials in a reasoned and dignified manner, how do we expect them to know and respond to our concerns?

Which is why, on a beautiful spring-like day, eight members of DC for Democracy (Julia Clones, Keith Ivey, Jesse Lovell, Susan Meehan, Howard Park, Karen Rose, Carol Waser, and Kesh Ladduwahetty) visited DNC Headquarters on Capitol Hill, sporting our DFA and DC for Democracy buttons. Emily Lamia, Executive Assistant to DNC Chairman (and uber-delegate) Howard Dean, came downstairs to meet us. We introduced ourselves and explained that we had a petition for Chairman Dean. We thanked Governor Dean for his efforts in rebuilding the Democratic Party, our hopes for the 2008 election, and our concerns that anyone other than the popularly-elected winner be the nominee. We explained our concern that superdelegates may choose someone other than the winner of the popular vote and declared that we had every confidence that Governor Dean respected basic principles of democracy, such as the sanctity of the popular vote.

Then on behalf of the 675,000 members of DFA, we read the description of the Let the Voters Decide petition, and presented eleven folders containing more than 60,000 signatures from every state of the union, plus the District of Columbia.

Emily graciously accepted the petition and explained that Chairman Dean’s expectation is that in the upcoming weeks, Democratic voters will establish a clear winner in the primary. He is hopeful that the nomination will not be decided by superdelegates, and that the popular vote will prevail. We enjoyed an informal Q&A session with Emily after our presentation and departed, satisfied that Governor Dean is committed to the principle of a popularly-elected nominee. Can we expect anything less from the man who inspired our organization to form three years ago?

While we visited Chairman Dean, DFA groups around the country delivered the petition to superdelegates Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton in an nationally coordinated action. Hats off to DFA for taking the leadership on this important issue!

On February 12th, Barack Obama carried the District, winning at least 62% in every ward of the city (and 70 - 85% in some).

We voiced a resounding NO to the politics of racial and class division that some have tried to stoke in our party. In all our neighborhoods, whether white or black or Latino, rich or poor, native or immigrant, we chose Barack Obama. And in doing to, we chose unity over division. With turnout in the range of 140,000, we also chose hope and civic participation over cynicism and apathy — of course it helps to feel like our vote counts! The biggest winners last night were unity and democracy.

For all those who worked hard on this campaign in the District, Maryland, and Virginia, we wish warm and joyful congratulations. Many of us endured miserable cold and freezing rain all day yesterday after a campaign of many months, that took us from Iowa to New Hampshire, Nevada to South Carolina. So let us take a much needed rest! Let us also take satisfaction in the foresight and judgment that we showed in endorsing Senator Obama last October, when it was far less certain that he could defeat the declared front-runner.

So let’s bask in this moment for a while, and rebuild our energies for the work that awaits us!

Who would have thought that by the time the DC Primary rolled around, that we’d still be lacking a clear front-runner? Turnout in almost every state that has held a primary or caucus to date has been at a historic high, and I hope that the District (and our neighbors Maryland and Virginia) will follow suit. In the 2004 non-binding Presidential Preference primary, just 16% of Democrats voted. No matter how committed we are to a party, and no matter our willingness to work on behalf of a party’s nominee in the general election, primaries do matter. And while Democrats can rightfully say that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are fine candidates, one of them is clearly better — depending on what you value.

At DC for Democracy, we value nothing more than civic engagement on the part of ordinary people, especially people who have never been involved in political activism. This was the fuel behind the Howard Dean campaign, and it is an ever-renewable energy source. It has reached a new fervor this year in the Obama campaign. Check out Laura Flanders’ Nation article “The Grassroots Reseeded” to find out why. For me, this is the most compelling reason to support Senator Obama, because nothing less than a mass mobilization of civic energy can remake our politics and our world. It is frankly more important than the candidates’ policy positions (which are quite similar, especially on domestic issues), because only transformative politics can expand the policy options available to us.


Polls in the District open at 7AM and close at 8PM. If you are not sure where to vote, please click here to find out. If you cannot vote on Tuesday, you can still vote early in person at the DC Board of Elections and Ethics at 441 4th Street, NW, Suite 250 North side of the building (Judiciary Square metro). DC voters can only vote in the primary of the party of their registration, i.e. Democrats can vote in the Democratic primary, Republicans in the Republican primary.