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Put the Personal Attacks Aside for the Primary: We’re Still One Party

By Rep. Darrio Melton

March 1 is right around the corner, and Alabama’s primary races are heating up. We’ve seen contentious rhetoric in the presidential elections, but the same tone is trickling down to our local primaries and communities.

The primary process has received a lot of negativity, especially with how closely Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders are performing in early states. It’s easy to sit back and throw rocks at the super-delegates and talk about “party insiders” when both candidates are campaigning for a job that is, by definition, a “party insider.”

What people might forget is that the Democratic primary is the most democratic that it’s ever been, and that speaks volumes about our Party and the way that we choose the top of the ticket.

Some readers may remember one of the biggest shake-ups in Democratic National Committee history, when a lady from Mississippi addressed the Credentials Committee to challenge Mississippi’s all-white, all-male, anti-Civil Rights delegation to the DNC Convention in 1964. Fannie Lou Hamer chastised Party leadership for failing to give African Americans a seat at the table, saying her now-famous line, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Four years later, the Democratic Party adopted a clause demanding equality of representation in state’s delegations, which we still see in our delegate selection today.

Today, any Democrat can run to represent Alabama at the DNC, and many strong Democrats are on the ballot. The Alabama Democratic Party is encouraged to recruit delegates to make our delegation reflective of Alabama, especially so that young people and other under-represented groups are present in our delegation.

With only two candidates in the Democratic presidential race, it’s easy to pull away into segments–to say “I’m with Her” or “I’m feelin’ the Bern” and lose sight of the things that we all have in common and the values we all share. When we go to Philadelphia, we’ll be going as one Democratic Party, and when we go to the polls in November, we’ll be casting our votes for one Democratic candidate.

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For eight years I have vehemently supported the President’s policies in a deeply red state to little avail. But I’m fired up, and I’m ready to go four or eight more years in the White House with the next Democratic President, whoever he–or she–might be.

Rep. Darrio Melton is a Democrat from Selma. He was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2010 and currently serves as the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus.


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