OP-ED: Stephen Bannon is Going Local
By Stefan Jones, Washington County Democrats PCP
A few years back I wrote an essay about the importance of off-year elections (titled, um, “The Importance of Off-Year Elections”). If I were paranoid or egotistical, I might think that the wrong people read the piece and took it to heart.
Last Sunday the New York Times published an editorial piece by Ezra Klein, “Steve Bannon Is Onto Something”. It concerns the hardly-noticed big story of political activity since the 2020 election: The focus on local races — school boards, county commissions, mayors — by far right operatives.
You should read the whole thing, but the essential core of the essay is this:
‘I’ll say this for the right: They pay attention to where the power lies in the American system, in ways the left sometimes doesn’t. Bannon calls this “the precinct strategy,” and it’s working. “Suddenly, people who had never before showed interest in party politics started calling the local G.O.P. headquarters or crowding into county conventions, eager to enlist as precinct officers,” ProPublica reports. “They showed up in states Trump won and in states he lost, in deep-red rural areas, in swing-voting suburbs and in populous cities.”
The difference between those organizing at the local level to shape democracy and those raging ineffectually about democratic backsliding — myself included — remind me of the old line about war: Amateurs talk strategy; professionals talk logistics. Right now, Trumpists are talking logistics.’
When right wing extremists control local government, they control school curricula, police forces, and who runs elections.
What do we do about it? Pretty much the same things I suggested in the op-ed piece I posted up above:
- Be aware of local elections, and the positions at stake
- Become familiar with the candidates! (The WashCoDems don’t pick favorites among Democratic candidates, but we make endorsements for candidates in non-partisan races.)
- Donate to campaigns
- Volunteer for campaigns
- RUN FOR OFFICE if you think you can contribute
- VOTE. In every race in every election.
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