Caucus Platform Approved

I’m frequently asked, “what does the Progressive Caucus stand for?” In mid-May, the Issues Action Team published a proposed caucus platform in a paper entitled A New Deal for a New Reality: Relief, Recovery and Reform. (See my blog post introducing it.) I’m pleased to report that on June 7th, 2020, the Executive Committee approved adoption of this paper as the Caucus’s platform. This is what we stand for. This is what we will work towards as a caucus.

I hope you will read it. It is long, but there’s a summary at the beginning. You can find it here.

Not everyone will agree with everything in it. That’s fine. We will each want to emphasize certain aspects of it that we’ll want to work on. Probably each of us will find important things missing. That’s why this will be a living document. Indeed, the Issues Action Team is already at work on revising it. If you’d like to comment or join the team, please contact the team chair as indicated on the Action Teams page.

4 thoughts on “Caucus Platform Approved”

  1. who is in charge of the actions team? And who is pushing for Ranked Choice Voting? Did you know that NC had RCV/IRV foisted on us in a pilot program (from 2007 & 2009) and Judicial IRV (from 2006 until repeal in 2013) under special circumstances that came to pass in one statewide election and two Superior Court elections in 2010? It performed so poorly that there was no objection to repealing it in 2013.

    Now we find that 7 Democrats introduced a bill bringing back IRV/RCV along with a jungle primary in 2019 – roughly the same time that the SBOE hired a new Election Director who recently worked for the Center for Ranked Choice Voting. That bill would leave the planning and procedures for RCV to the ED who used to work promoting RCV.

    RCV was foisted on the convention delegates to elect pledge delegates at the district conventions – with no discussion among the Executive Council if that was a good method or not. As it turns out – there were many problems with the Ranked Choice Voting tabulation. It is nearly impossible for a delegate to audit the process without sophisticated knowledge of spreadsheet programming. Which was not necessary – other states used paperless electronic voting through Google docs but used multiple rounds of elimination runoffs to arrive at the winners. A method as easy for most voters to use and to follow along and validate/audit as voting on paper ballots. In fact, Roberts Rules of Order prefers multiple elimination rounds and only favors IRV/RCV where multiple rounds are not possible. And there was nothing about the pledge delegate selection process that would not have allowed multiple rounds of runoffs.

    So why was the choice to implement Ranked Choice Voting forced on the Executive Council? Why was it forced on the delegates? And who in our group is pushing this method that was used and failed not only in public elections but in pledge delegate elections in 2020?

    And then why was there a resolution at the State Resolution and Platform Committee meeting right before the State Convention that pushed RCV – that never went up through the counties and districts in 2020? It was tabled by a 13-5 vote. Who is trying to push this in our party and why?

    IRV/RCV failed to perform when it was used in our state in 2007 and 2010. It was used by our party in 2020 for delegate selection – along with a whole host of other irregularities not in compliance with Roberts Rules and the NCDP Plan of Organization. So why is it being pushed by our caucus now? Along with all vote by mail – which is counted in central locations and is less verifiable than precinct counts. I understand we might want to do more ABM/VBM due to the pandemic, but we need to understand that the gold standard for election integrity is pre-printed paper ballots marked by hand or by a ballot marking device that makes human readable marks – and tabulated by a scanner at the place where the vote was cast until the tabulation is done.

    So why is our caucus have a platform that doesn’t stand for the gold standards of election integrity and pushes IRV/RCV which introduces more not less complications?

    1. There is a lot to unpack in your comment. I’ll get to that. But, first, your tone is unnecessarily accusatory and inflammatory. I suggest that we could have better discussion without that. Your input was welcome but you chose not to participate; your input is still welcome.

      The Issues Action team is co-chaired by Kathy Kaufman and Marguerite Most. Contact information is on the Action Teams page.

      Your second through fifth paragraphs give your history of how you think that Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) has failed in the NC Democratic Party’s internal elections and in some NC public elections where it was “foisted on us”. You ask why RCV was forced on the Executive Council (to be clear, this is the State Party Executive Council, not the Progressive Caucus Executive Committee). You ask questions about resolutions at the State Resolution and Platform Committee. The bottom line from these paragraphs is that you present some NC data points to argue that RCV is flawed. I would argue that your examples could just be examples of poor implementation of RCV.

      But there are other data points that show successful implementation in elections in both the United States and in other countries. The website gives lots of information about RCV, including data on its use in various situations and places.

      Now, to what the Progressive Caucus document states: “Implement ranked-choice balloting for all primary elections.” That’s it.

      That statement is in the document because I wrote that section and believe that our primary system is deeply flawed. And the Action Team agreed.

      The 2020 Presidential primaries are a good example. Votes were split across many candidates with similar positions. Would people who voted for Warren really prefer Biden over Sanders? Would Sanders have won more primaries if we had runoff elections among the top vote getters? We’ll never know because we don’t do runoff elections and we don’t allow voters to rank their choices.

      RCV offers many advantages. It has to be implemented carefully and explained well to voters.
      If you want to advocate another approach to solving these problems, please participate in the effort constructively.

  2. Could someone point me to where we mention “human rights” in this document? I did a search of “human” and nothing showed up.

    1. The section on Civil Rights / Liberties talks about immigrant concentration camps, the vast injustices in the criminal justice system, white supremacy, mass incarceration, and more. The section on Foreign & International Affairs talks about encouraging allies to develop peace accords and negotiations to end wars and conflicts.

      That said, the document’s current focus on this country makes it weaker on global human rights than it should be. As I said in my blog post on the document, “probably each of will find important things missing. That’s why this will be a living document.”

      I think that the Issues Action team would be eager to have your help adding more material on the importance of human rights worldwide. Contact info is given on the Action Teams page.

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