A New Approach for Local Democrats

Saturday fundraiser geared towards ‘working people’

By Michael M. Barrick

LENOIR – In the 2016 elections, Democratic candidates in Caldwell County and the High Country were solidly repudiated by the voters, who overwhelmingly chose their Republican opponents. Indeed, the election – which saw some of the widest margins of victory for Republicans in years – arguably made the Democratic Party as irrelevant in local politics as it has been in decades.

MountainBlue

Nevertheless, the Caldwell County Democratic Party is actively seeking to revitalize the local party. One such example is a fundraiser scheduled for this Saturday, July 29. Called “Mountain Blue,” it is a nod to the party’s determination in Caldwell to work with neighboring county parties to strengthen the party in the region. The event will be held at the American Legion in Lenoir from 2-6 p.m. Several popular area musicians will be featured. Also barbecue and beer will be available. Tickets cost $20.

In an email interview with Caldwell County Democratic Party Chairperson Paul Custer, he explained the objective of this event. “This one is designed for working people.” That is because historically, the party has held an annual event that cost five times or more of the cost of “Mountain Blue.” Custer added, “It is also intended to showcase on one of Caldwell’s long-standing strengths, its music scene.” He concluded, “It is also intended to raise the visibility of the Democratic Party: for that, one needs to make a little splash.”

The choice for Caldwell is very simple: if you think Caldwell County is fine, or that we are spending too much on schools and need more uninsured people, vote Republican. If you want to step forward into the long game of renewal and revitalization, vote Democrat.” – Caldwell Democratic Party Chairperson, Paul Custer

Asked to comment on the poor track record of the Democratic Party in Caldwell County historically and why he thinks 2018 will be any different, Custer responded, “First, 2018 is not shaping up at all – the political scene in this country, and in North Carolina, is so crazy right now that any bets made beyond a week out are foolish. This aside, though, 2018 will be different for us because we will field a full slate of candidates, and give them support on the phones, on the pavement, and through social media. The choice for Caldwell is very simple: if you think Caldwell County is fine, or that we are spending too much on schools and need more uninsured people, vote Republican. If you want to step forward into the long game of renewal and revitalization, vote Democrat.”

The timing of the fundraiser aligns with the national Democratic Party’s “Better Deal” roll-out, highlighting the party’s policy positions for the 2018 election cycle. Custer commented, “The national party has, I hope, learned a lesson from 2016.” He added, “Speaking for Caldwell, we are focused on a ‘Year of Listening,’ reaching out to our base: our county platform will be based on what we hear from them, not on the DNC platform. So far, what we’re hearing is (living wage) jobs, health care, and education. Concrete, local proposals in these areas is what we are interested in.”

© The Lenoir Voice, 2017. Home page feature photo by Darren Coleshill on Unsplash