Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today moved California's presidential primary from June to February, giving the nation's most populous state a greater stake in selecting nominees and shaking up the 2008 political calendar.
"Now California is important again in presidential nominating politics ... and we will get the respect that California deserves," Schwarzenegger said during a bill-signing ceremony.
Hopefully, all of us will now use this opportunity to truly SHAKE THINGS UP. Now that California voters will now be "The Deciders" in who gets the party nomination, let's get out there and tell our family, friends, and neighbors why their votes matter. I know I'm excited about the change, and I'll explain to you why I'm so excited down below...
(Cross-posted at Calitics)
For far too long, California has been left out of the national conversation. And especially as Democrats, we have not had the chance to let our voices be heard on issues that we care about. We have not been able to speak out, as the candidates have asked for our money but not for our opinions. Perhaps it's time that the party and the candidates appreciate us for more than just our money. And come to think of it, the Democratic Party would most certainly benefit if they let California Democrats have their say on these issues.
So why not allow us to let our voices be heard on Iraq, health care, climate change, transportation, land use, water use, and other important issues? After all, these are not just California issues... These are national issues, as well! Why not open up the primary process to some real diversity? What's so bad about shaking up the process, and allowing a big urban state like California, with big issues to tackle and big dreams to share, to have a say alongside the small rural states? Why not let ALL OUR VIEWS be heard?
And for all those who are worried about an early California primary meaning the "end of democracy", I have this to say: Why not take advantage of this real chance to revitalize the California Democratic Party? I am hoping that we in the progressive movement here will take this unique opportunity to breathe some new life into the Democratic Party here, as well as to get our neighbors excited about voting again. There's nothing like telling someone that his or her vote really matters... And now that our primary will be early and important, ALL OF OUR VOTES REALLY DO MATTER AGAIN!
We can continue to bitch and moan and whine and complain about everything that's wrong right now, and just see more of the same...
Or we can get up and take action to change this! If we really care about building a grassroots movement here, then why don't we use this primary as a way to start growing it? If we're so concerned about the "media ad buys" and all the consultants, then why don't we get out there ans start growing some real grassroots? No, the candidates cannot meet all of the voters in California... BUT ALL OF US WORKING TOGETHER CAN! If we don't like the status quo, then why do we keep whining about it? Why not just get out there and CHANGE IT?!
The opportunity is now here... We just have to get off our duffs and TAKE IT! : )