The Considerable Power of a Primary Challenge

A few weeks ago I wrote about how 3rd congressional district Rep Ron Kind had abruptly decided to co-sponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act after ten plus years of refusing to do so. . The Act would protect 9.5 million acres of Utah wilderness from mining, and oil and gas exploration. A good friend and former treasurer of the Chippewa Valley chapter of the Sierra Club emailed Myron Buchholz, Ron Kinds progressive challenger in the Dem August 9th primary, and thanked him writing ” apparently all it took ( to convince Kind to do the right thing ) was a primary challenge.” Indeed.

In what is nothing short of a stunning development, on Wednesday, May 18th, Kind joined a gaggle of progressive democrats in the House and voted for California Rep Barbara Lee’s amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have restored congressional oversight to our ongoing wars in the Middle East. The amendment would have repealed the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which gave President Bush the authority to launch the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Why is Kinds vote a big deal?

Just last June Kind earned the dubious distinction of being one of only 14 House Dems to vote against all three NDAA amendments that would have checked limitless, unaccountable war. In less than a year Kind has done a complete turnaround. Long time Veterans for Peace member Tom Chisholm, a Retired US Army Colonel/physician who lives in Chippewa Falls, had this to say of Kind’s vote last week:

I guess it’s better late than never. I’ve called and emailed Mr. Kind many times over the last ten years on this issue. I’m glad he’s finally come to his senses. Maybe what it took was a primary challenger.

Hmmmmmm. Seems to be a pattern developing here?

So what’s next for Mr Kind? Well, he’s been President Obama’s main Dem ally in the House when it comes to advocating for the Trans Pacific Partnership, the largest trade deal in history, even as everyone from Hillary Clinton, to Russ Feingold, to Bernie Sanders, and the undoubtedly execrable Donald Trump declare their opposition to the agreement. What would it take to change Mr. Kinds mind?

If you haven’t yet made a donation to Myron Buchholz’s campaign, please do. It might be the best $50 you spend this election season.


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2 thoughts on “The Considerable Power of a Primary Challenge

  1. At the risk of being branded some kind of DPW heretic, I have not responded to this blog much since April 5. My experience with “discourse” has been with college classrooms as an English major, as well as worldly experience having worked as a researcher in Washinton, DC in the mid-1990s for a traditionally-minded Democratic group that fell out of favor with the Clinton socio-economic views. Discourse is all about the appropriate language you have to use to fit in with the current politics, as if that qualifies you as being a “civil” participant as a citizen. It has a lot to do with knowing what side of the bread that must be buttered.

    Historically, primaries have opened up democracy, empowering voters so they can decide who can be the Party nominee. It’s troubling that suddenly we have to protect incumbants, using the rigged voter registration/ID apparatus, to limit the participation of voters. Candidates make a huge, life-changing decision in running for office.

    Marvin Buchholz here is getting the same snub as Sanders is with the DNC. Having known politics–I’m not just another 20-something–I heartily agree with what Buchholz stands for, but I’m not wealthy as a donor. I expect, as a democratic citizen, that he will get media coverage and an honest public debate before the primary election, but we shall see.

    Previously a DPW member, I have let that lapse because of what I’ve observed with the way the Party has acted: it’s not very inclusionary. With the state convention coming up, hopefully there can be real discussion about the way our state Party has gone. Courting Jeb Bush supporters is not the way to go, and presenting new ideas would help open up pathways out of the predicament it now has as a Party.

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