Democrats trying to screw Buchholz

The Democratic Party is no stranger to screwing its own base, and they’re at it again.

Myron Buchholz, Democratic challenger to Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse), has evidently been shut out of the Dems’ Voter Access Network (VAN), the database of identified Democratic voters that campaigns rely on to reach potential supporters.

According to a post on Buchholz’s Facebook page, Kind maintains monopolistic access to the VAN by cutting a big check every year – he can afford it, because his special interest-funded fundraising haul tops $1 million every year. He’s also being denied out of fear that progressive primary challenges could put the integrity of the data at risk.

But the Democratic Party at all levels has a history of screwing its own grassroots to protect its establishment candidates. The existence of “superdelegates” at the national level is one piece of evidence. Bernie Sanders also got into a kerfuffle with DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz for being similarly denied data access.

At the state level, the DPW potentially screwed Kathleen Vinehout out of her nascent bid for governor in 2014, when they were grooming statewide nobody Mary Burke to be their hand-picked nominee. DPW didn’t want a contested primary (i.e., giving their own voters a choice). Despite the back-room machinations, Burke, of course, lost.

At the more local level, DPW and then-Senate minority leader Chris Larson inserted party establishmentarian Pat Bomhack to run against local activist Ernie Wittwer for the state Senate seat now held by Republican Howard Marklein. This caused outrage – Bomhack turned to raising most of his money from outside the district. And while Bomhack eventually won by the tiniest of margins, he lost by a wide margin to Marklein in a leans-Democratic district.

Welcome to Democratic politics, Mr. Buchholz. Your biggest challenge will be getting the party to allow you to give your Democratic voting base a choice in this primary. It’s a challenge others have failed to overcome – maybe a third party run would be easier.

The following is Myron Buchholz’s Facebook post in full.

“The “F” Word.

Many times during my history teaching career I had the opportunity to use the “F” word. What, you say? Did Myron Buchholz really use the “F” word in class? My answer to that has always been, #1: Get your head out of the gutter, and #2: The truly destructive “F” word in history is FEAR and the mongering of it.

Longtime Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neil, famously said, “All politics is local” and I watched first hand last Thursday night at Democratic HQ in Eau Claire.

There is a controversy over the DPW denying the Buchholz campaign (me) access to the Voter Access Network, a database that is said to be vital for a Democratic Candidate running for office. It turns out the same thing is happening to Tim Canova’s campaign against Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida. Bernie supporters will remember Schultz trying to deny the Sanders campaign access as well. A lawyer and Democratic Party member has given an informal opinion that the best place to sort this out would be a courtroom.

At the meeting Thursday it was implied that the VAN might be hurt if I left a computer on. Seriously. I was told that Kind gives $30,000 to the DPW implying he shouldn’t have the VAN used against him. Most incredulously, I heard that incumbent Democrats would stop improving the VAN if they thought it would be used against them. Fear, Fear, and more Fear.

I tried to calm the Fear by saying that, 1. I would not hurt the VAN and I promise to shut my computer off. 2. I said I could cover a check for $40,000 if it was a money issue. 3. Lastly, why would Democratic incumbents, standing on a truly Democratic Platform, Fear a primary from a Democrat in good standing?

Are Kind supporters really afraid of me contacting Democratic voters and telling them about a powerful, 18 year incumbent with millions and his Fear of Republicans, Fear of Syrians, Fear of Iraqis, Fear of people getting health care, Fear of workers filing bankruptcy, Fear of Corporations withholding campaign cash, Fear of his support of the TPP being exposed, Fear of a retired history teacher?

The Democratic Party was once led by FDR who said, “The only thing we have to Fear is Fear itself.” I agree. Let’s stop being afraid.

About the writer: Chris Rochester is editor in chief of Morning Martini. He’s an armchair politico, veteran of several campaigns, and communications specialist. He's the communications director for the MacIver Institute. Commentary here is strictly his own.