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Food for Thought Re: Lenihan's Departure

20 Jul

Erie County Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan is leaving, and a reorganization meeting will take place in mid-September – shortly after the primaries – to elect his successor. 

Several candidates have come forward seeking that office, and I’ve already seen quite a few bitter, angry comments about them all from a variety of people. As if any of it matters. Really, as if any of it matters

Well, I should qualify that. If you rely on the party boss for your job, I suppose it matters. And smug Republicans should look around, because they’re no different on this point. Next GOP hack who tells me how bad Obamacare and socialism are while collecting a state check with state benefits and state pension will be invited to go expletive himself. 

But to average western New Yorkers, it has very little bearing on anything. Our byzantine election law and ballot-access systems will remain the same. The way in which candidates are selected will remain the same. There will continue to be dealmaking and secrecy and quids pro quo inherent in the job of party committee chair. The only difference will be whether the new chairman will be able to hand out enough gimmes to splinter factions to ensure more frequent loyalty.  And even on that point, an operative who is aligned with, or who appeases, a faction led by someone who actively supports Republicans or regressive homophobic Democrats is not a chairman Democrats should want. 

I’m absolutely not looking forward to the next few months, because there are a handful of important races for Democrats that can do without clumsy, hyper-nerdy gang warfare between party factions. But it would behoove the various faction partisans to set aside past hatreds and insults and select someone who can at least have a chance to unite the party, elect Democrats, and raise money to do so. 

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