High fidelity

May 26th, 2012

State Democrats may give potential candidates two paths to become eligible to run for elected office under the party’s banner.

The rules committee at the party’s state convention voted late Friday for an amendment to the party’s constitution that would recognize potential candidates who have been party members for at least six months or who demonstrate party fidelity after an interview.

Under the existing constitution, candidates who do not meet the six-month requirement have to request an exception, a process that has been criticized after the party rejected Laura H. Thielen — a former director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources under Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican — who has filed as a Democrat for a state Senate seat.

Democrats can go to court to challenge Thielen’s candidacy or vote to expel her from the party.

Democrats said late Friday that the amendment was a “middle path” between those who wanted to expand the six-month membership rule to 12 months with no exceptions and those who wanted to abolish the rule altogether.

The amendment will be up for a final vote before convention delegates on Saturday. *Update: The amendment was approved Saturday morning.

Bart Dame, a progressive activist who worked on the amendment, said it would be an acknowledgment by the party that the existing rule is flawed and could influence the party’s response to Thielen’s candidacy. Dame also said that the amendment would establish standards and criteria to determine whether a candidate should represent the party, removing the ambiguity in the existing rule over when an exception should be awarded.

Jim Shon, a former state lawmaker, said he was sad that Democrats were even discussing expanding the six-month rule to 12 months. He said the party had always trusted primary voters to decide which candidates were authentic Democrats. “This party is bigger than that,” Shon said. “That’s what the other guys do.”

But Ann Freed, a member of the party’s state central committee, said primaries are used to select candidates who represent the party’s values, not all voters who are eligible to vote in the state’s open primaries. She said the 12-month membership rule would have given the party greater ability to screen candidates.

Democrats on the rules committee, meanwhile, voted to reject an amendment that would have subjected elected officials who failed to demonstrate support for the party’s human and civil rights, labor, social safety net and environmental protection planks to possible expulsion.

The amendment had drawn the concern of several state House and Senate lawmakers and the Abercrombie administration.

Freed and other party activists have been disappointed that elected officials do not follow the party platform.

But Linda Chu Takayama, an ally of U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, said expulsion was a serious penalty for elected officials who may have legitimate differences on issues such as Honolulu rail or the Ho’opili residential development project.

“There are many issues on which we as Democrats disagree,” she said.

7 Responses to “High fidelity”

  1. Goober:

    Thielen is a Rino it seems. lingle is accused of being the same but yet lingle stayed a republican. It seems Democrats don’t want lingle either. For Hawaii and tourism says lingle but she is not.

  2. Gerald de Heer:

    Hawaii Democrats face a moment of truth. Laura H. Thielen must be allowed on the Democrat Ballot. Party Rules must, as a rule, serve to keep elections open and honest. Ms. Thielen deserves a chance to have her political fate decided by the Voters, not party officials. If there is a rule that clearly disqualifies Ms. Thielen, then change the rule By letting the Voters decide, everyone, including the Democrats, wins.

  3. Andy Parx:

    “Democrats on the rules committee, meanwhile, voted to reject an amendment that would have subjected elected officials who failed to demonstrate support for the party’s… environmental protection planks to possible expulsion.”

    That would eliminate most of the Democratic legilators after this year’s fiasco… and make some Republicans eligible.

  4. Time 4 Change:

    People this is how the Na zi Party began contolling their party. They started by contolling who was selected for leadership and only appointing leaders that hen were accountable to the leaders and not the public..

    Look a this quote from a 1940 n
    “Thus the whole organisation of the Na zi Party and the Labor Front ls the most complete negation of demo- cracy. Nobody is elected to. even Ute most humble position: each leader ls appointed by the leader Immediately above him. and ls not responsible to those whom he leads, but to those who appoint him.”
    got trove. nla .gov .au /ndp /del /article /58983181

    Beware people the Demoncratic party is a complete negation of Democracy. Na z ism is alive and well at this weekends convention, no slippery slope it is happpening before our very eyes.
    Even if you are elected they want to control and punish you if you defile the leadership and are not “Assimilated in to their Collective”.

  5. Goober:

    Benedict Arnold and Judas should be a hero to some. Wonder if they were republicans.

    I would not trust some who changes sides. I would assume another “watergate” by someone inside leaking information to the other side.

  6. ohiaforest3400:

    If the Bev Harbin appointment and the Mike Gabbard party switch prompted the rule, why not draft a rule that addresses THOSE situations only. As in, no person who has not been a member of the party for six months prior to appointment may accept appointment to a vacancy created by the departure of the incumbent of that party?

    Not sure what to about Gabbard. If the idea is to use the primary to weed out faux Dems, then require them to prove their creds for even longer while in office before they may run as a Dem, say 12 months. That way, they don’t get to just switch at the last moment for electoral convenience but have to establish a track record in the party regarding its values, positions, etc.

    And, as for Thielen, if memory serves, she was not a member of ANY party before her Dem registration so why not have a shorter or no wait for the newcomers and let the voters decide? If the point is to weed out the opportunists like Harbin and Gabbard, the rule backfired as to Thielen.

  7. Goober:

    Actually got back kicked by a donkey.

    If serving a party than she was a host. If she got to drink the cocktails then she was a part of the party. Either way she was there, in mind and body or just body and mind some place else.

    Ever see a rare white rino?

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