Opinion

Internal Chaos Roils San Diego County Democratic Party

Fake Clubs’ Have Led Local Democrats Into Turmoil

Politics and the power of free expression have long been staples of our good Republic. The idea that even the poorest or most unfortunate individual can have their say is one that the United States. Even for us, however, there have been terrible exceptions to this rule. During the darkest times for our political processes, the now infamous political machines ran roughshod over these same values.

Thankfully, those dark times are largely behind us as a combination of citizen outrage and legal reforms addressed or at least ameliorated the most egregious of these affronts. The bad news is that these same reforms mostly touched on public positions and actions. Being that political parties are private entities, the law understandably cannot have any influence over their internal affairs. As Bernie Sanders and his sycophants learned years ago, so too do many local San Diego Democrats now understand that ideas of fairness and equal expression do not apply within the confines of the party.

The issue at hand? If the accusers are to be believed, an individual by the name of Jesus Cardenas has utilized the support of over a dozen clubs to exert disproportionate political control over the party. While this would not necessarily be problematic by itself, opponents further claim that these same clubs under Mr. Cardenas are largely ‘fake’ in the sense that they are the political equivalent of a shell corporation which have effectively no actual supporters and minimal public presence and exist only to further his agenda by serving as free votes.

Cardenas and his supporters have denied the allegations. They have countered by saying that these organizations have helped young men and women of color express their opinions. What is more, they say that Cody Petterson (himself a fairly prominent figure among the Democrats) is a white man who does not understand their plight, going so far as to compare him to Trump (which in liberal circles, is an insult akin to an expletive).

While we can’t be sure whether Cardenas is actually guilty of what has been said of him, and a decision by the Party is not likely to come soon, a few things can be assumed. First among them is that this dispute is perhaps indicative of a divide between South Bay and other parts of the Party. Regardless of who is right, it is clear that the idea that there exists a united front within the Democrat Party is optimistic at best.

Second, if the accusations against Cardenas are true, then the problems that the SDCDP face are rather troubling. It would mean that Cardenas’s actions are only the beginning and that an ‘arms race’ of individuals running front groups could emerge for control of local party politics. This is but one possibility that potentially awaits as a consequence of this ongoing internal conflict between members of the party.

Time will reveal whether this is a case of corruption within the ranks of the Democratic party. Even under the most charitable of words though, the best that can be said of the members of the SDCDP is that they have become victims of their own incompetence and poorly devised party rules. Whatever the truth is, what is undeniable is that the path forward will not be a simple one.

 

Photo by Georgia Democrats via Flickr