If you want the County Party's support on the day of the primary, you have to win that support through the mechanism that the rules state: a vote of all precinct committee people and ward chairs at the slating convention.
Don't want to pass out the slate? Don't work for the County Party on primary day. Want the County Party to support your candidate instead of Andre Carson? Win the party's endorsement at the slating convention. Don't like slating? Change the rules.
But before people get too carried away with their slate-busting, I'd just like to remind everyone that there are many good slated democrats--not just Andre Carson--facing primary opposition who paid their slating fee with the expectation that precinct committee people would honor their word, do their damn job, and physically hand out that sheet of paper. Every time a precinct committee person fails to pass out the slate because of their commitment to someone in the congressional race, they are actively betraying those down-ballot democrats who are counting on County Party--who trusted precinct committee people to faithfully honor their words. People are entitled to their opinions and folks can have reasonable disagreements about who should be our Congressperson. But slate-busting will have innocent victims: people who paid out of their own pockets at the slating convention with the expectation that Democratic precinct committee people were honest and trustworthy.
More after the jump.
Remember: the superior court judicial slate is being challenged by Kim Brown. Mary Catherine Barton is challenging slated Debra Jenkins for County Surveyor. In both cases, the slated candidates are substantially more capable than their opponents. If Mary Catherine Barton, a disastrous incumbent, appears on the November ballot because of slate-busting in the primary, she will be targeted by Republicans to "cut" the ballot. In other words, Republicans will focus their attacks on Barton and, in the process, damage all county-wide Democrats who are below her on the ballot.
Regardless of Mike O'Conner's political preferences in the IN-07 primary, he's bound by the slating process to support slated candidates. Whether you like it or not, the County Party, according to its rules and bylaws, endorses its candidates through the slating convention. Those rules and bylaws stipulate that by virtue of being slated, candidates can expect to receive the full support of the County Party. That's what everyone agreed on at the beginning of this process. That's what the rules say. That's why people pay slating fees and try to get slated. Slating fees don't line Mike O'Conner's pocket: they provide the money to print and distribute the slate.
Candidates are free not to pay the slating fee and they're free not to participate in the slating process. They get to keep thousands of dollars to spend on signs or ads or whatever else they like if they opt out of slating. That's a benefit to them. The cost is, come primary day, they don't get to complain that the County Party is trying to prevent them from winning in the primary. If they wanted the County Party to support them, they needed to win that support at the slating convention.
Incidentally, David Orentlicher's supporters would be hard-pressed to argue that slating is a corrupt or anti-Democratic process. When pressed to explain why he did not seek to be slated in the May primary, Dr. Orentlicher did not express a principled objection to slating in general. Instead, he suggested that he didn't want to create an awkward situation in which the slated candidate in May was not the party's candidate in the special election. Fair enough. Indeed, Dr. Orentlicher would be an obvious hypocrite if he tried to claim slating was corrupt or anti-Democratic: he sought and received the County Party's endorsement at the slating convention in his prior state house runs and he voted in the February slating convention as a ward chair.
If people really believe that slating is corrupt or anti-democratic, they are free to argue that the rules should be changed. But until they do so, people should honor their words and play by the rules. The idea that people aren't bound to play by rules they find disadvantageous, is situational ethics at its worst. We started this election cycle with one set of rules. Candidates and precinct people don't get to invent new rules just because they happen to inconvenienced by the existing set. It is exactly that kind of mentality that has the Clinton campaign arguing that, even though Michigan and Florida blatantly and obviously violated rules that every other state played by, those states should be counted all the same. Hogwash. We play by the rules until we change them through the established democratic procedure.
The only thing Mike O'Conner is trying to do is make sure people honor their words. I'm pretty comfortable with that. How 'bout you?
Crossposted at BlueIndiana and Tyrion's Point