Why am I getting a mailer that I completely agree with from the Goldwater Institute? It’s not that I never agree with conservatives (it happens on those rare occasions when they actually talk like conservatives), it’s that I wish liberals were better at choosing to advocate issues that could have significant appeal to independent voters. If we understand and talk about issues that matter to undecided voters, framed by our values, those voters are going to give the Democratic Party another look and consider voting for those candidates that speak to those values.
Nothing boils my progressive liberal blood quicker than a bunch of fat-cats getting massive tax subsidies from my local government. I’ve bitched about this issue before, ironically also in the context of the Goldwater Institutes advocacy on this issue. I consider the practice to be deeply corrupt and counter-productive to sustainable economic development. Strangely, I know the conservative Goldwater Institute agrees with me – they’re telling me so – but I haven’t any idea where the Democratic Party stands on this hot-button issue that is extremely salient to local and state elections. You won’t find a word about it in the Arizona Democratic Party’s platform;
if anything, some parts of the document could be read creatively to
support such tax subsidies – not that anyone reads the bloody thing
By our silence we are allowing the Goldwater Institute to dominate this issue, raise money with it, and divert that money to wing-nuttery like private school vouchers and non-existent eminent domain abuses that mask a ‘regulatory takings’ agenda.
We could be using this populist rocket-fuel to power local Democratic candidacies. Consider the campaign of Salette Latas for Oro Valley town council. She is staking out a strong position on this issue. She’s running in a traditionally very conservative area, building her grassroots organization in conjunction with a campaign opposing a massive give-away of local revenue to a developer who promised the moon and delivered green cheese.
We should be using opposition to tax subsidies to raise awareness on important Democratic values like strengthening local communities, supporting local entrepreneurs and small businesses, sustainable growth, and tax fairness. Hell, a fairly explicit ban of such subsidies is even in our constitution: you can’t get much more politically orthodox than upholding the constitution.
We should be running more of our local candidates on this winning issue. Instead, the Goldwater Institute is being left to own the issue to such an extent that they feel free to send fund-raising letters to Democrats like me and my wife.