Posted a first draft of my stump speech at flemmingforgovernor.org.
My thinking is this: I’m going after the anger vote. If no major Democrat enters the race, there will be nobody for the anti-recall voters to choose on the second part of the ballot who truly reflects their feelings. In fact, the current Democratic plan is specifically to leave these voters abandoned on purpose. That’s my constituency.
I could never win 51% of the vote in any election. I’m too weird. But in this election someone may win with 10% or 15% of the vote. And if, say, 45% of the voters vote against the recall (and therefore Davis is nonetheless kicked out), and then on the second part of the ballot there is nobody for that 45% to choose…well, that’s where I come in. I might be able to get by with converting less than a third of those people to my point of view. And my platform has enormous emotional appeal.
So I am the anger candidate. Not a good strategy in a general election, but a great strategy in a win-with-15%-of-the-vote election. My job is to appeal to Democrats who are like me–so angry with the right-wing assault on democracy, not just in California but also in Florida and Texas and D.C., that they want a creative way to stick it to the extremists.
It is with this strategy in mind–to make an intense appeal to a core group rather than a broad appeal to the entire electorate–that I crafted this stump speech:
YOU DON’T BRING A FEATHER TO A GUNFIGHT
by Brian Flemming
I am not a politician. And in case that statement was unclear, let me rephrase: I am not a fucking politician.
Which makes me an unlikely candidate for governor. But I want to bring up a key fact: While I may not be a politician, this is not an election.
This is a fight.
And I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of Democrats who show up armed with a feather…at a gunfight.
I don’t like using violent imagery, but there’s a fact staring us in the face that you aren’t responsible for and I’m not responsible for: There is a full-scale right-wing assault on our democracy taking place all over this nation.
They attacked democracy in Florida in 2000, using a puppet governor named Jeb Bush and a puppet secretary of state named Katherine Harris. When that wasn’t enough they used five right-wing puppet U.S. Supreme Court justices, who turned in a decision that utterly mocked the notion that the United States is a democracy.
They’re attacking democracy right now in Texas, where right-wing Republicans have decided to arbitrarily redraw district boundaries seven years ahead of schedule. I don’t know about you, but when I heard that the Texas Democratic legislators had fought this ugly right-wing tactic by actually leaving the state, I almost cried with joy.
Those are my kind of Democrats. They understand that the Republican extremists who have such contempt for democracy and majority rule have not shown up for a polite conversation over tea and biscuits. These right-wingers have shown up armed to the teeth and are willing to do whatever it takes to subvert decency and the rule of law and get what they want, whether a majority of voters wants that or not.
This is not a conversation. This is not a debate. This is a war. It is not a war of our choosing, but it is a war, and in a war you do not draw fine points about theory and politics and try to make everyone think you are a nice person with some really compelling intellectual ideas. That’s what Al Gore did in Florida, and it didn’t work. He needed to fight, and he didn’t fight.
In battle you do not debate–you pull out the best weapons you have and you fight.
Brian Flemming is the best weapon you have in this battle called the recall election. If elected, I will resign immediately after taking the oath of office, and the job of governor will go to Cruz Bustamante, our lieutenant governor.
If elected, I will resign.
Major Democratic politicians have been put in a horrible dilemma by Darrell Issa and his right-wing minions. By cynically exploiting our system, they have instigated a high-stakes game of chicken with our state leaders. Bustamante can either run on the ballot and be seen as betraying Gray Davis, or he can stay off the ballot, and risk letting the right-wingers take over a statehouse they could never access in a general election.
It’s not our fault that these right-wing extremists chose to play this vicious game. It’s not our fault.
But it is our fault if we lay back and play nice and let them win the game.
It is our fault if we do not fight.
We need to be thinking like those Texas Democrats. They didn’t just think outside the box–they thought outside the state.
When faced with an opponent who forces you into a game of chicken, you have to adjust your tactics. You have to say, All right, I know how to fight, too. I’m not just going to lie down and take it–I’m going to give you all the fight I have.
My name is Brian Flemming. I am a Democrat running for governor. And if elected, I will resign.