Lancaster Stands Up
September 17, 2018 9:50 AM   Subscribe

“In Manheim Township, a historically conservative area where Weaver canvassed for LSU, Democrats won all 6 school board seats. Dianne Bates, a progressive millennial, won her Borough Council race in arch-conservative Millersville. Elizabethtown hadn’t had a Democrat on the town council since the 1970s, but last fall they elected an IBEW member, Bill Troutman.” A Grassroots Uprising In Amish Country Begins To Find Meaning In Politics.
posted by The Whelk (15 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
Lancaster County has never been represented by a Democrat in Congress, not ever. Before the GOP existed, it went Whig. So, a nascent Dem movement there is exciting, especially to this former resident.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:18 AM on September 17 [4 favorites]


Jess King is outstanding, and I hope she wins, but as great as these "progressive candidate succeeds despite lack of support from the Democratic party" stories are, I'd really like to see more "progressive candidate succeeds with substantial support from the Democratic party." Who knows how many winnable seats have been / will be left on the table because progressive candidates are put in a position of fighting the incumbent and the party machine?
posted by tonycpsu at 11:44 AM on September 17 [3 favorites]


Featuring mefi's own fundraising juggernaut Maciej Cegłowski
posted by riotnrrd at 11:56 AM on September 17 [5 favorites]


I'd really like to see more "progressive candidate succeeds with substantial support from the Democratic party."

I was with you until I got to the parts about how most of the money in well-funded campaigns goes to Washington-based consultants, and how energetically they're organizing in Lancaster without that help.
posted by clawsoon at 12:16 PM on September 17 [2 favorites]


Go, Jess!
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:40 PM on September 17


Note that whether the Dems court the Amish or not... the other side is.
posted by delfin at 12:43 PM on September 17


Note that whether the Dems court the Amish or not... the other side is.

"Trump... just like you!" makes my brain hurt when the "you" in question is Amish people.
posted by clawsoon at 1:11 PM on September 17 [3 favorites]


Amish PAC, from Open Secrets. Treasurer: SWINDLE, TAYLOR O.

Jess King's run, from The Mennonite.
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:14 PM on September 17 [1 favorite]


Featuring mefi's own fundraising juggernaut Maciej Cegłowski

Maciej talked about his journey, since your last election, at Webstock this year.
posted by maupuia at 1:18 PM on September 17 [2 favorites]


Great article, but the democrat bashing is really misplaced I think. Locally in PA there is tremendous energy and enthusiasm to turn previously red districts blue. I’ll drop my favorite organization, Turn PA Blue, in here again. The mission is to turn districts blue. They are organizing state wide.

After the 2016 there were organizations popping up everywhere, and the progressive groups have done a lot of coordination since. The Democratic Party is running a coordinated campaign for all democrats to get out the vote and is focusing in canvassing everyone (not just reliable voters). With Turn PA Blue we are texting voters, calling voters, sending postcards. Our local democratic committee runs an amazing absentee ballot program. People are registering voters through Next Gen America and other groups. There’s a lot of energy here and it’s not a “progressives vs. establishment” story. It’s all of us against the republicans.
posted by rainydayfilms at 3:29 PM on September 17 [8 favorites]


Everyone is always trying to frame everything as progressives versus the party machine. I'm sure that's accurate in some places, but it isn't everywhere. And people really need to watch out for, "when you have a hammer, every problem becomes a nail."
posted by Chrysostom at 4:00 PM on September 17 [6 favorites]


Lancaster has also become the new home of 1,300 refugees since 2013, about 20x the rest of the country per capita, done with lots of church support. Refugee resettlement in Lancaster started in the 1970s, and influenced the local quilt industry in interesting ways. Church World Services, one of the resettlement agencies, has been holding events and encouraging people to lobby in support of allowing more refugees into the country.
posted by sepviva at 8:54 PM on September 17 [4 favorites]


Lancaster has also become the new home of 1,300 refugees since 2013

One outcome of that population growth has been the creation of Bridge, a group dedicated to bringing together Lancaster together over food: Bridge's monthly meals build bonds with Lancaster County's refugees. Lately every meal has sold out.

"Bridge started with meals made by refugees for five to 10 people. Each small group shares a meal and conversation.

"The meals introduce the culture and food of each refugee chef. For the chefs, these meals are a chance to share and an economic opportunity that has also led to jobs, mentors or business connections."

Admittedly, the city of Lancaster is blue, surrounded by a lot of red in the county, but the county is also home to lots and lots of Mennonites, and to the Mennonite Central Committee, and to Ten Thousand Villages (an old FPP from me); there's a long tradition of mission travel, and of immigration as a value to be upheld (Welcome Your Neighbors is a church initiative). The Mennonite women I've observed are fabulous organizers and hard workers, so Jess King makes total sense to me here, talking to prospective voters in the county: “I grew up Mennonite, and in that tradition what I learned is this isn’t survival of the fittest or everyone of us out for ourselves. The whole Bible is loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself. I’ve taken that pretty seriously,” King says on the campaign trail. “My faith led me into action.”

Her campaign is fitted to its context. Go, Jess!
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:17 AM on September 18 [5 favorites]


Everyone is always trying to frame everything as progressives versus the party machine. I'm sure that's accurate in some places, but it isn't everywhere.
Yeah, I've been watching similar stuff happen semi-locally, and the "progressives versus the party machine" framing doesn't really work. A lot of the people involved are long-time active Democrats. It works because in part because it's bringing together longtime grassroots Democrats with people who are new to politics and people who have been politically active but not focused on electoral politics. And that's actually a pretty potent coalition.

Another thing that I've noticed locally is that the national media, when it picks up on this stuff, doesn't always understand local context. So, for instance, I have an acquaintance who won a seat on her town council and got some national attention as an example of Indivisible making inroads in small-town America. But the context is that her small town is increasingly becoming a suburb of the nearest (by local standards) city, and she won in large part by appealing to new residents, who want things like increased investment in infrastructure and for government to be more responsive to the needs of families with kids. It got played as a story about rural American becoming progressive, but it should have been reported as a story about demographic change as urban/ suburban areas encroach on formerly rural areas. But it's hard to see that nuance from far away. It may even be hard to see it if you're a reporter from New York or Chicago who comes here for a day or two.

Anyway, the Lancaster stuff is interesting!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:51 AM on September 18 [1 favorite]


I don't want to endorse lazy jamming of diverse local situations into one narrative, but it's worth noting that Jess King was NOT first choice of the Democratic establishment (prior to the redistricting, which admittedly weirdened everything)--it was centrist Christina Hartman.
posted by praemunire at 9:20 AM on September 18


« Older Royal D. Suttkus Fish Collection: swamp bunker...   |   New study released for effects of ACE (adverse... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments