UPDATED: Partisan / Nonpartisan Hackery at the Lazy C

by lewwaters

Columbian FishwrapThe political bias of the Lazy C, the Columbian newspaper has been established several times on this blog and others. In spite of that, Editor Lou Brancaccio still tries the spin that they are not biased and in fact are “friend to nobody.”

We know that is not truthful as all we have to do is look over the many years they promoted the now defunct Columbia River Crossing light rail project while diligently working to hide and cover-up many negatives, if no marginalize them.

They are well known to be little more than a daily newsletter for the Democrat Party and once again, we see their blind partisanship glaring at us from the front page of the Sunday, July 7, 2013 edition with the article Political parties take increasingly active role in nonpartisan elections.

The article claims, “The Clark County Republicans are making endorsements in nonpartisan races this year. And for the first time, the Clark County Democrats will join them in doing so, something that was previously barred by the local party’s bylaws.”

Let’s first establish that there really is no such thing as “nonpartisan,” each candidate running in such races that claim to be “nonpartisan” having their own partisan lean with rarely any actually being a true centrist. Whatever that lean may be, each brings it to the seat they occupy when they win their election.

Many voters want and need to know of that particular political lean so they can make an informed vote and voters have reached out in the past to political parties for their recommendation even when the party makes no official endorsement.

But it is not completely true that only Republicans have done so in the past while we are to believe that Democrats always took the high road.

This very issue came up back during the elections of 2011 by the Lazy C with their article, How ‘Republican’ are nonpartisan local candidates? They ask, should it matter?

The flap then was “Clark County Republicans released a voters guide identifying, as they see it, where on the political spectrum nonpartisan candidates really lie.”

The party did not make any endorsements, mind you, but answered several voters who had contacted them wanting to know the particular leaning of candidates running for a so-called “nonpartisan” office.

That October 19, 2011 article also left readers with the impression that local Democrats are above that with “Clark County Democrats have no plans to make a similar guide, Chairwoman Kathy Lawrence said.”

Quoting then local Democratic Party treasurer Marsha Manning we read, “How a candidate feels about local issues can be completely separate and less political than how they feel about hot-button issues on a national level. For example, I wouldn’t vote against Larry Smith just because he’s a Republican and I am a Democrat. I would vote for him because I support his work on the city council, and I applaud his support of veterans and veterans’ issues.”

The same article makes it very clear that Larry Smith is not a Republican.

But, readers are given the false impression that the Democrats somehow aspire to a higher standard, a notion this blog put to rest back in October 2011 as it was shown that even though “official” endorsements weren’t made (neither were any from the Republicans), the Clark County Democrats have indeed listed partisan views of “nonpartisan” candidates in previous elections in various monthly newsletters sent out.

Left out of the latest article painting Democrats as oh so innocent is the Candidate Endorsement Rules they now list for nonpartisan candidates to gain their official endorsement.

“To be eligible for the endorsement of the CCDCC, a nonpartisan candidate must identify themselves as a Democrat on their questionnaire and/or agree to accept the Democratic Values.”

Does that statement not completely invalidate any “nonpartisan” position of any candidate they may endorse?

I give credit to some candidates who have declined such partisan endorsements from the Clark County Democrats while I also must raise an eyebrow reading in the July 2013 newsletter “incumbent Councilor Jeanne Stewart faces challenges from two progressive candidates, Ty Stober and Alisha Topper,” and “For her Position 3, incumbent Councilor Jeanne Harris, usually identified as a Democrat, is challenged by two candidates who have sought support from Democrats, Galina Burley and Anne McEnerny-Ogle.”

While I have said we deserve to know the partisan lean of candidates, do we want candidates who are willing to openly declare the values of one party, indicating they intend to be completely partisan in their dealings if elected?

I find no similar requirement from the Clark County Republican Party of devoting oneself to the party view in nonpartisan races.

Clark Democrat Party Chairman Mike Heywood gives indication that they will no longer mask their endorsements of nonpartisan candidates, openly stating now that they intend to make any candidate desiring their endorsement as wholly partisan issue when he said, “Thanks to our tradition of staying out of nonpartisan races, we’ve seen a lot of regressive candidates win. So we’re looking at progressive, thoughtful, competent candidates who will be good public servants.”

The obvious canard of course is that they haven’t “stayed out of nonpartisan races” as I showed above and as reflected by incumbent Vancouver City Council Member Jeanne E. Stewart with, “the Democrats have never failed to interfere in my race.”

But take notice, the Lazy C condemned the Clark GOP back in 2011 for just compiling a list of known partisan lean without making endorsements of nonpartisan candidates.

The Lazy C now seems to indicate approval of the Clark County Democrats blatantly making selected nonpartisan races wholly partisan, not even bothering to mention the posted requirement of swearing devotion to Democrat Party, Progressive views demanded by the Clark Democrats.

And Brancaccio would still have us believe they are “nobody’s friend?”

Update: The July 9, 2013 Lazy C is reporting Clark County Democratic Party reverses course on endorsements saying, “The Clark County Democratic Party decided not to make endorsements in nonpartisan races for the primary election after all.”

Since, as shown above, they in effect already have, isn’t it disingenuous to now claim that they aren’t?

This is what we have seen before as Democrats feign neutrality while promoting certain non-partisan candidates in word or newsletters.

3 Comments to “UPDATED: Partisan / Nonpartisan Hackery at the Lazy C”

  1. They always placed their favorites on their website. Stated republican Bart Hansen was on their site in 2011 as the one weird thing for sure… at least it was if you considered him a republican. Most of us realize that he is about as republican as the confederates were.


  2. Why aren’t voters splitting their tickets like they used to? Many theories, backed with compelling arguments, are floating around. But here’s one: As local print-news readership has declined precipitously in the Internet age, fewer voters are gaining exposure to individual candidates’ backgrounds and qualifications, and party labels have become an even-more-salient cue at the ballot box. To win on GOP terrain in 2014, Democrats need to localize a lot of races, but that has become much more difficult than it was just 10 years ago.


  3. While the “fake” candidates were generally seen as protest candidates put on the ballot to give the Republicans more time to campaign, there was a possibility that they could win. Because Wisconsin has an open primary system, voters do not have to be registered to a specific party in order to cast a vote in the primary. Therefore, Republican-leaning voters could have crossed-over to the Democratic primary and vice-versa.


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