Saturday, May 12, 2018

Dan Canon: "We Ain't Done"


Dan Canon would have been a game-changer in Congress. But on Tuesday Democratic primary voters in southern Indiana decided to nominate a garden variety Democrat-- not a bad person as far as I can tell-- from DC who's friends with all the DC people. Well, they lost an opportunity... and so did we all. Up top and below were the meager efforts Blue America did to try to help at the very end of a wonderfully inspired campaign. Yesterday Dan wrote a wrap up of that campaign on this Facebook page:
Good morning!

One of the things I disliked about campaigning is that there was plenty of gratitude felt, but never enough time to express it all. And not just time, but my own inability to come up with the right words to convey how it feels to see people wearing my name and working tirelessly for little or no tangible reward. It's a bittersweet dislike, to be sure. Anyway, this is going to be a long post because there's a lot to say. If you care about what we built here, what we're doing now, and what we plan to do in the future, read on.

I'll say "we" to refer to this campaign because I'm just the "pretty face" [extreme scare quotes] of this operation. Candidates get all the credit (and the blame), and we put in a ton of time, but in a race this size but there are people working even harder in the background. Most of you know that by know even if you didn't know before watching this campaign. I couldn't have done anything substantial without these folks. Hell, there was more going on behind the scenes than I ever knew about or will know about.

First things first. My beautiful wife Valerie Canon basically gave up her husband and the father of her kids for a year to do this. She took this utterly thankless job on the chin despite the fact that she didn't ask for it. And she told me she loved me every single day of this. She's basically the best person alive, and in no universe do I deserve a woman like this. Most people have never even had a *friend* like her, let alone a spouse, and I gave up a lot of time with her to try to do this thing. When you get the urge to throw shit at a candidate over some perceived minor policy disagreement, or a gaffe, or their appearance, or whatever shit you want to throw that day, remember that that candidate and their families might be giving up a lot for this. Many politicians (though not all; fuck Ted Cruz forever) are human beings and not just objects for your amusement. Remember that as we go into the generals.

I cannot imagine a world in which I did not know Dustin Collins, but in no universe would this campaign had even a fraction of the success that it did without him. He's a part of my family, my kid brother, my nephew, my son, and somehow my mentor all rolled into one. Had he had a more conventional candidate or a friendlier set of circumstances, he would have won this race; he chose a longshot because he thought we could make real change together. He was right. Not a lot of people his age, or any age, have that kind of courage.

My dear friend Dawn Howard is a kindred spirit in a million ways. We are both only children and like it that way, but if I had a sister, I'd want it to be Dawn. She was somehow both the glue that kept the organization together, and the constant devil's advocate that kept me focused on what was right. She also made sure every t was crossed and every i dotted, which allowed me to focus on the big picture stuff. If some other campaign doesn't pick her up to do something, American politics will be worse off.

I don't know how someone can get the energy and talent of Erin McMahon, but she's just incredible. I've known Erin for 20 years and had no idea she was so amazing. All the social media stuff you saw coming from this campaign was basically Erin's work (aided in no small part by Cassie Johnston, who can turn out professional graphics and video edits on a moment's notice). She has a delightful voice that is an excellent counterbalance to my gruff vulgarity. I challenge anyone to find a campaign with a better social media presence than we had, and it's all because of Erin.

No one works harder than Cory Ray. Period. He wrangled hundreds of interns and volunteers in all 13 counties while making calls and knocking doors. I don't think he ever slept. He did it with a positive attitude and a great sense of humor. He is going to do great thing - mark my words. I want this post to be here so I can say "I told you so" when he single-handedly conquers North America or something. Cory, Michael Gibbons, Joshua Major Howerton, and Paul Bieniek were the backbone of an unprecedented field operation that registered thousands of people to vote and made hundreds of thousands of voter contacts. Watch out for these guys.

Mary Helen Ayres won't admit it, but she's the primary driver of our success in Bloomington. She's also become a member of our family. I hate that she is two hours away because I want to see her face every single day. All the misery of this campaign would be worth going through 100 times if you could get one friend like Mary Helen out of it.

El Wa is one of the very first people I met who was excited about my candidacy, and who introduced me to a whole world of people who changed my life forever. She is equal parts sweet and fierce as hell, and has damn near gotten in a couple of actual fist fights on my behalf. I am trying to talk her into running for Governor someday. We'll see how that turns out.

And of course there's my mom Pat Canon, who has basically made me everything I am, and who endured me talking about her in damn near every stump speech. She very nearly died during this campaign (seriously). She's much better now, and I'm thankful to have some extra time with her, free from the insanity of politics.

If I were to shout out everyone who worked incredibly hard on this campaign, I would be typing this for days. I'll reach out to each of you individually over time. There are literally hundreds of you, and I am overwhelmed by your support. I don't know what I did to deserve it, but I will do my best to pay it back in the future. For now, to my amazing interns and volunteers: I see you, I recognize everything you did, and I appreciate it more than I'll ever be able to say.

To all of you who put your energy, your time, and/or your money into this campaign, I want you to know that it wasn't wasted. We managed to get more than 11,000 votes from people in Indiana in a primary election where only 15% of registered voters showed up. I do believe we earned every last one of those votes-- in other words, I don't think very many people showed up and said "eh, I just like this guy's name the best" and checked a box. People showed up to vote for genuine, homegrown progress. Each of those votes is a rejection of the status quo. Each of those votes is an embrace of a brighter future. Each of those votes is a demonstration that we can make a world for our kids and grandkids where people who have been victimized by the pharmaceutical industry get real treatment, not just thrown in jail; where they have clean water to drink, clean air to breathe, and clean soil to grow food; where they can send their kids into a classroom and know they will come out again; where they can get an education without having to be saddled with debt for the rest of their lives; and where they don't have to go bankrupt or die just because they can't pay a medical bill. Each of those votes inches us closer and closer to the possibility of governance by real people who understand real problems, not just the wealthy. And that base of voters is going to grow.

Those ideas did not originate with me and are not anyone's intellectual property. Please don't make the mistake of tying them to the wins and losses of any one particular candidate. The important thing is that we're talking about a positive agenda for the future of America, and we're doing it in a way that is equal parts compassionate and fearless. If I can do that, anyone can. If we inspired even one person to go change the world because of this campaign, it was all worth it.

In fact, I know we inspired more than a few people to run for office-- people who will be on the ballot in November. There are several examples, but a big one who could use your support is Cindy Reinert for Indiana House 58. She's out there pounding the pavement, grabbing new voters, talking about the stuff that matters. She put in countless hours volunteering for us before she decided to run. Indiana needs her, and she could use your support.

I've written and spoken quite a bit about how the world of the law can be a nightmarish hell. It’s true, and probably worse, of the world of congressional politics. But that's not a reason for good people to stay out of law schools, the courtroom, party politics, or government in general. To the contrary-- if there are no good people on the inside of government, there is no possibility that government will be good. Ugly as it is, we can't leave politics to wealthy, disconnected sociopaths that are so often attracted to positions of power, lest all our complaints become self-fulfilling prophecy. If you're thinking about running, run. It turns out that even when you lose, you can win a lot.

This campaign was able to unite people who were already involved in various movements: environmental, racial justice, health justice, labor, reproductive rights, criminal justice, and all points in between. That galvanizing force is going to continue, if we have anything to say about it. A united, progressive front could be unstoppable here in Indiana, and elsewhere. Organizations that took a chance on us include Justice Democrats, Blue America, Soindivisible : Southern Indiana Indivisible, Floyd and Clark County Stonewall, Teamsters Local Union 89, and what I believe were the first ever endorsements from Democratic Socialists of America: Southern Indiana Chapter and Democratic Socialists of America-- Louisville. These groups and their candidates are the future of the American Left. We were (and are) the tie that binds those organizations and people together from coast to coast, and that feels pretty good. To the journalists that took note of what we were doing here (I'm looking at you Sean A McElwee, Michael C Powell, Jim Higdon, Sam Miro, and Adam James Oppenheim): thank you. We started national conversations about marijuana, a guaranteed jobs program, and the abolition of ICE-- which more than 15 candidates now support. When you're movement building, you have to start somewhere, and I think this was a pretty good start. As Pete Seeger said, anything worthwhile takes a little time.

As for my immediate future, it's still unknown. This is the first time in my adult life that I've been functionally unemployed. I am hatching new schemes to build a better world, of course, but your suggestions are welcome. I'm not yet sure how I can be the most useful. For now, the next thing I have coming up is arguing a case at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals against Donald Trump and some of your favorite white nationalists over whether the President has the right to incite violence against protesters at campaign rallies. That's on June 6. Out of fire, back into the frying pan. Other than that, it's all undiscovered country.

All in all, there is almost nothing bad I can take away from this experience, and there's very little I would do differently. I've learned a million things I never would have been able to learn otherwise, I've made lifelong friends, and I've come away with a renewed sense of optimism about the fundamental goodness of humankind. If you ever get tired of screaming at people through your television, phone, or computer screen, go knock some doors. Connect with people face to face. Talk about their dreams, their aspirations, their hopes, their fears, their kids, their dogs, whatever. There's not much that separates us.

Long though it may be, this post doesn't begin to cover everything I want to say about this experience or everyone who needs acknowledgment. I will probably add stuff in the comments, but my intention is to walk away from the Facebook brain parasite for a few days and get back in touch with the outside (and inside) world. If I missed something or someone, please don't hesitate to point it out. But if you don't get responses right away, it may be because we are taking an extended break to regroup, reconnect, and get focused. In the meantime, throw your support behind any of the amazing candidates we have running all over Indiana and Kentucky. They need your time, your money, your hands, and your love.

TL;DR: We ain't done. Love you all.

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At 6:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I told you, it's fucking Indiana. Even an anti-red tsunami like this one (which is petering out quickly apparently) can't make IN voters smarter in such a short time.

And one person CANNOT be a 'game-changer'. Pelosi and the cabal of oligarchs who rule the caucus as tyrants won't ever allow one (or 100) good people to be 'game-changers'.

Your final epiphany, if it is ever to come, must be preceded by this one.

At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan Canon may not be done, but it's increasingly clear that the DxCC is.

At 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The same people who are going to take over the Democratic Party from within are the same people who can't beat a corporatist Democrat in a primary in FKN Indiana.

Wake me up when you figure out it's time for a third party. I'd like to donate and help you organize... but not for the Democrats.

At 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen to 4:27. I'm in, but not for the 'craps.


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