There is a reason I abandoned party politics – openly rejecting the drama, dissention, and disunity – opting instead to become a free-thinking “NPA” – with no party affiliation and a growing contempt for the lockstep stagnation of partisan politics, a malignancy that I believe is doing exponential harm to our nation.
I am not alone.
Statewide, research indicates that unaffiliated voters rose from 3,089,929 in 2016 to 3,753,286 this year alone.
That said, the real reason I ran like a scalded dog from either of the two polarized political parties is because the power-crazed people who run them typically tend to be contentious assholes.
Am I wrong?
For instance, I believe the late Tony Ledbetter, who ran the Volusia County Republican Party with an iron fist for years – flagrantly skirted the rules whenever it served his political purposes, including highlighted “guides” unfairly endorsing one party candidate over another, throwing sharp elbows at the polls, puffing and grandstanding for the faithful, always the center of attention – helped lower the bar on what passes for political campaigns in Volusia County and beyond.
During the 2018 Volusia County Council race, candidate Tom Laputka summed it up when he said, “Some people are born assholes. There are others who try really hard to be one. Ledbetter is both.”
Anyone want to be associated with that?
Trust me. It is equally disastrous on the other side of the aisle. . .
This week, we learned that Richard Thripp, a 29-year-old wet-behind-the-ears political newcomer who earlier this year ran for a Congressional seat but lost in the Democratic primary to Clint Curtis (who was summarily trounced by Rep. Michael Waltz), has clawed his way to the pinnacle of the local Democratic hierarchy – using a self-described “ruthless” leadership style – then immediately set about making autonomous decisions – like who wins elections, and who loses them.
How democratic, eh?
According to Mark Harper, writing in The Daytona Beach News-Journal, “Richard Thripp, the newly elected party chair, on Thursday certified the winner of the state committeewoman race as Valerie Duhl, one day after saying he had intended to hand that decision over to a committee to be determined in January.”
As it happens, Ms. Duhl is “…aligned with Thripp’s slate,” which apparently comes from the “My way or the Highway” school of party unification. . .
To her credit, Duhl’s opponent, Susanne Raines, a 2016 delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Ormond Beach, is not taking the intraparty chicanery laying down.
As I understand it, due to “technical difficulties” during a Zoom call between committeemen and committeewomen who were deciding local party leadership – coupled with an error by the Volusia County Supervisor of Elections that left a candidate off the ballot – it was determined that internal provisional votes would be used to determine a winner the following day.
Raines claimed she took the race by one vote.
That resulted in internecine challenges questioning who was eligible to vote, the rejection of provisional votes, muscle flexing, power moves, quibbling party bylaws, blah, blah, blah.
It was eerily similar to. . .well, you know.
Most interesting, Ms. Raines released a transcript of an ominous telephone message attributed to Chairman Thripp which said:
“Hi Susanne, it’s Richard Thripp. I had an interesting call from Mr. Harper at The News-Journal today. I just want to ask you … it’s sort of a rhetorical question. Do you think that a 29-year-old becoming chair of the Volusia County Democratic Party is something that just happens, or is that something that happens by being ruthless and tough-as-nails? I would encourage you to consider your decision to do whatever it is you’re doing over there, very carefully. Please have a Merry Christmas. Take care.”
Again – how democratic, egalitarian, and inclusive?
Clearly, Chairman Thripp is not that politically savvy.
First, he recorded not-so-veiled ‘mansplaining’ against a strong, politically active woman for all posterity – then, he committed the one mortal sin no millennial/uber-liberal can ever live down by using the verboten term Merry Christmas – which, as all self-absorbed super-progressives know, is a damnable “tool of demagoguery.”
Richard Thripp has a lot to learn.
Until then, save me a ringside seat to the shit show – and pass the popcorn. . .
Photo Credit: Richard Thripp for Congress
Editorial Note: An earlier version of this post erroneously noted that Thripp had lost to Rep. Michael Waltz in the District 6 US House race – he didn’t. Mr. Thripp was beaten by Clint Curtis in the August primary.