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Slates Aren\’t The Problem

For those of you not involved in the Minnesota political scene, you probably didn\’t realize this last weekend, was the local equivalent of Super Saturday.  Approximately 128% of the BPOUs across the state had their BPOU Conventions, where state level candidates were endorsed and delegates were selected to represent the BPOU at higher party levels.  Those selected delegates actually have a lot of duties, but several stand out.  They pick the higher level GOP candidates such as for US Congress or  Governor, they also amend the party\’s platform and modify the constitution of those organization and other such duties.

So I naturally expected much analysis and punditry about what happened this last weekend.  What I didn\’t expect is a lot of complaining about slates, especially from people who should be used to it by now.  To put it quite simply a slate is a group of people who are running for delegate positions who share a common goal, in this case it\’s who people favor for the MN Governor slot.  You vote for the others on your slate, and they vote for you.  The idea being that you stack the deck with your own people, and try to prevent others from getting a seat at the table.

Quite honestly it\’s one of the oldest and most simple of political strategies.  Sure it\’s slightly distasteful, because even before you walk into the convention you know who you\’re voting for, and it\’s without regard to any other merit than their position on a single issue.  Is it ideal?  No, but it\’s also been part of the world\’s second oldest profession since it started bearing a resemblance to the world\’s oldest profession.  And quite honestly I\’m surprised people still get upset about it.  Especially when those same people show no problem with Get Out The Vote efforts, which anyone that\’s being honest will admit that you absolutely do NOT want to get THE voters out, you want to get YOUR voters out.  Same concept.

Slates are a political reality, but they also reflect the organizational level of a candidate, and a good organization is absolutely critical for any election year.  As a result, slates make sense for more reasons than just getting \”your people\” to the convention.  It also gives the person with the best organization an advantage for endorsement.  And how does one get the best organization?? Volunteers and money.  And both come from having a platform and a set of principles that resonate within the base.

There is a reason that Herwig and Leslie didn\’t have slates that dominated many of the BPOU Conventions this weekend.  They don\’t have an existing organization willing to commit the time and effort to get the work done needed to generate slates.   If a candidate can\’t get a smooth running campaign going in the endorsement process, who are they going to suffer slings and arrows of an election campaign?  Consider it a trial run, and the slate is a report card of sorts.

As to concerns that delegates have more duties than just selecting a candidate in an election year.  Yeah, that\’s true.  What\’s your point?? Are these delegates any less qualified to do that?  Are you implying that because they had the foresight to organize and the political awareness to gain the advantage, they will suddenly lack those abilities when it comes to fulfilling other duties?  No offense but that\’s silly.

And as to protests that the state convention is still two months away, well that\’s true, but again, what\’s your point?  Nobody on those slates have sworn to anything.  They just stated it\’s their current intention to vote for a particular candidate.  Whose to say that doesn\’t change?  Most of the slates were secret, nobody has anything on the line.  It\’s not like they lose face if they switch candidates.  If my current candidate gets caught sitting on a pile of blow next to a dead hooker, guess what?  I\’m switching candidates…and not just because I didn\’t get invited to that party.

Slates are slightly distasteful but they\’ve been around forever, and politics isn\’t a strawberry festival.  It\’s dirty.  It\’s cheap.  It\’s long and arduous and as such if you don\’t have a top notch organization behind you, you\’re in trouble.  Slates don\’t change that, if nothing else they just prove you can handle the most basic of concepts….organizing your supporters.

[Crossposted at True North]