The Democrat* Party in Clark County is, at best, flac­cid, at worst, inept.

That is not an indict­ment of the indi­vid­u­als who com­prise the par­ty here, just a recog­ni­tion that the par­ty is a thin specter of what it once was.  And the same is most­ly true of the par­ty at the state level.

Anyone who denies this propo­si­tion is refus­ing to see the com­plete­ly lop­sided com­po­si­tion of our local and state leg­isla­tive bodies.

I refuse to refer to the Democrat Party as the Democratic Party as it so often and lib­er­al­ly is.  For me, the word ‘demo­c­ra­t­ic’ is an adjec­tive that defines a char­ac­ter­i­za­tion that does not exist with­in the con­fines of the par­ty struc­ture.  I believe this was most clear­ly demon­strat­ed dur­ing the 2016 nation­al elec­tion when polls demon­stra­bly showed that Bernie Sanders had a much bet­ter chance of defeat­ing the Republican can­di­date than did Hillary Clinton.  But the nation­al Democrat Party hier­ar­chy was deter­mined to present her as the most viable candidate.

But make no mis­take, the Republican Party oper­ates in exact­ly the same way and this char­ac­ter­is­tic can­not, alone, explain win­ners and losers in polit­i­cal races.

For decades, Democrats over­whelm­ing­ly con­trolled gov­ern­ment both here in Clark County and at the state lev­el, and that was not nec­es­sar­i­ly a good thing because unfet­tered dom­i­nance leads to super­cil­ious and arro­gance, both of which are show­ing up in the delib­er­a­tions of mem­bers of the leg­isla­tive bodies.

After fifty years as a reg­is­tered Democrat, I even­tu­al­ly changed my vot­er reg­is­tra­tion to “oth­er” (there is no “Independent” list­ing on the vot­er reg­is­tra­tion form) because that par­ty, I felt, no longer rep­re­sent­ed my views, or even cared much about them.

I could nev­er con­sid­er becom­ing a Republican, both because the Democrat Party still espoused most of my views and seemed more will­ing to address them, and because the Republican Party has not, for decades, rep­re­sent­ed the ideals for which the Party was orga­nized in the mid-1850s, and which led to the elim­i­na­tion of slav­ery and the elec­tion of Abraham Lincoln.

The upcom­ing pri­ma­ry elec­tions, espe­cial­ly here in Clark County, promise to be very inter­est­ing even though a good many offices are going unchal­lenged.  And here’s anoth­er rea­son to make con­clu­sions about the decline of the Democrat Party here, name­ly that there are so few Democrats vying for local offices.

The race for County Judge/Executive espe­cial­ly comes to mind.  As this is being writ­ten, there are four can­di­dates for the Republican posi­tion and two for the Democrats.  All of the Republican can­di­dates are some­what known here, hav­ing served, or cur­rent­ly serv­ing, in elec­tive office.

The two Democrats run­ning for the posi­tion are, appar­ent­ly, new­com­ers to the polit­i­cal field, and they will be faced with the added dis­ad­van­tage of per­haps not hav­ing much name recog­ni­tion, a char­ac­ter­is­tic which often has a great deal of influ­ence on a polit­i­cal race.

The impor­tant thing to remem­ber is what every can­di­date for every office offers in the way of pro­grams he or she wants to see imple­ment­ed or con­tin­ued or expand­ed here in Clark County.

If there were one ques­tion that should be asked of every can­di­date it would be: “What do you pro­pose to do dif­fer­ent­ly or the same as what is now being done in the office you seek?”  That one ques­tion would prob­a­bly reveal more about what a can­di­date stands for – or against – than any oth­er speech or dec­la­ra­tion they could make dur­ing a campaign.

*WCN&V gen­er­al­ly fol­lows the con­ven­tion of most style guides, fact-check­ers, and the offi­cial DNC pol­i­cy of refer­ring to the par­ty as the “Democratic Party,” but we are leav­ing this as writ­ten by the author because it’s per­ti­nent to the arti­cle. [Ed.]

  • Chuck Witt

    Chuck is a retired archi­tect, a for­mer news­pa­per colum­nist, and a life­long res­i­dent of Winchester.