Philly Dems hit democracy 'outta the park'

Posted 2/15/24

As Phillies fans eagerly anticipate the return of spring training, a wicked curveball was thrown into the political arena.

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Philly Dems hit democracy 'outta the park'


As Phillies fans eagerly anticipate the return of spring training, a wicked curveball was thrown into the political arena, evoking shocking parallels to the divisive tactics witnessed during the aftermath of the 2020 election. Philadelphia’s Democratic Party (City Committee) recently ousted about 17 duly elected committee people, the majority hailing from Mt. Airy’s 22nd Ward.

Foul play, indeed!

The City Committee’s decision to boot elected neighborhood representatives, allegedly for supporting non-Democrats in city council at-large races last year, extends beyond enforcement of party bylaws, sparking profound questions about their commitment to democratic values and operating principles.

The parallels with the GOP's attempts to subvert democracy are striking and, in the city that birthed this nation, offensive. City Committee Chairman Bob Brady, abetted by 22nd Ward Leader and City Councilmember Cindy Bass, took a page from a similar playbook, placing about 17 out of over 100 committee people who allegedly endorsed Working Families Party candidates, in the crosshairs, via a politically charged and targeted purge.

The dispute over Democrats endorsing Working Families Party candidates exposes a broader ideological struggle within the City Committee, paralleling the GOP's attempts to invalidate election results based on unfounded claims. Expelling individuals based on perceived political affiliations undermines the essence of democracy, contradicting the very values that should be celebrated and not silenced.

The epicenter of this controversy lies in Bass' 22nd Ward, breeding suspicions of political vendettas and raising disturbing comparisons to the GOP, where loyalty to party leaders supersedes democratic processes. The allegations of supporting non-Democrats, akin to the GOP's unfounded claims of voter fraud, seem more like a smokescreen for eliminating dissenting voices within the party. Power grabs overshadow democratic fundamentals. A healthy democracy thrives on openness, accountability, and due process, elements that seem to be in short supply in the City Committee.

The 22nd Ward, a hotbed of progressive activity, is ground zero of this power struggle. By targeting members of the ward’s progressive caucus, the party is suppressing dissenting voices, mirroring the GOP's tactics of censure and eviction. The City Committee should champion diverse perspectives and inclusive debate.

Is the City Committee trying to emulate the very political party it tirelessly works to defeat? Is guilt by association the new standard they seek to uphold? If the City Committee is inclined to run a closed-door country club with its own set of arbitrary rules, one must question the very purpose of holding elections for committee people in the first place.

Engaging in a democratic process only to reverse results based on inaccurate claims is a blatant contradiction.

Blacklisted committee members rightly question the validity of their ouster. Elected democratically by voters in public elections in their neighborhoods, they claim accountability to the people, not to party leaders with questionable priorities.

So, back to my Phillies gearing up for spring training and the 2024 election on the horizon, Philly Dems need a serious reassessment of their political game plan. If they genuinely aim to champion democratic values and progressive ideals, they must reconsider their actions that mimic the divisive tactics of their political adversaries. The future of the party hinges on its ability to uphold the principles it claims to defend, even in the face of internal disagreements and differing ideologies. The party's swing for the fences should be for democracy, not against it. The true test lies in its reach toward progressive values, inclusivity, due process, and adherence to democratic, transparent, and fair processes.

Lila Bricklin