Longtime local blogger (Peace Tree Farm) and HA regular N in Seattle has a post over on Washblog, announcing the 43rd Legislative District’s experiment in “open platform building.” During the week prior to the March 4 precinct caucuses — the Dem’s official first step towards building a party platform — the 43rd will be holding a series of three platform forums to invite more open and direct grassroots participation in the process. As N explains:
The hierarchical structure of 2004 — precincts elect delegates to the LD and county, LDs elect delegates to the Congressional District, CDs elect national delegates — worked well when the ultimate goal was to choose a presidential candidate. But when we’re trying to work on specific points of the party platform, to refine proposed positions on a dozen big issues, starting the process with a couple hundred tiny groups in front of a couple hundred blank slates doesn’t sound like the best way to start.
What N is trying to politely say is that the platform portion of traditional caucuses sucks. Usually, each precinct is just dominated by some loudmouth like me with a bug up his ass about some issue or another, and the LD ends up debating an OCD-like manifesto that reads more like a hijacker’s list of demands than a practical political agenda.
So I’m really looking forward to seeing how the 43rd’s experiment works out, and while I don’t live in the district, I’ll probably stop by the Feb. 26 forum, if only to hear the keynote speech by Congressman Jim McDermott.
For more information, including dates, locations and forum agendas, please read N’s full post at Washblog.
Writing in the comment thread, Emmett O’Connell informs me that Thurston County is planning similar platform forums. More information here.