Talking to several people at Drinking Liberally yesterday, there’s a real question of where the local netroots should be headed. A lot of people are glad that the netroots got involved in the Burner-Tom primary (moreso than I was, as I was still undecided if leaning). And there is some discussion of primary challengers to entrenched Democrats in the legislature who aren’t pulling their weight.
Many Seattle Democrats and other Democrats in safe seats aren’t doing their part. It’s not just about liberal issues; most of the caucus from safe seats votes correctly most of the time. But too much of the leadership is coming from some more suburban swing districts. I’m not sure, for instance, why the impeachment resolution had to come from a suburban first term Democrat. I’m not sure why the leader on drug policy reform is a suburban first term Democrat. I’d like the safe Democrats to do more of this, and if they aren’t willing, I’d like to see them replaced.
That said, I’m not as convinced about the netroots’ ability to turn a primary as some people. We’ve still got a fairly small audience, and while we can raise some money, we aren’t enough on our own. We can maybe influence some media, but we’re still only writing to a small number of voters. We’ll also almost certainly be more divided than in a general election contest, as some people will inevitably take the side of the incumbents who got elected for a reason, and more bloggers will stay out.
Finally, there’s the question of who to primary. Ultimately, it would be the choice of whoever is willing to run. But given the problems above, we couldn’t support it if all the deadwood got challenged at the same time. Some will be better candidates, and some will run against worse incumbents.