The DFL and Media (ptir) are focusing heavily on the current “battle” between the MNGOP’s “establishment” – more on that in a bit – and the “Grassroots”.
This pops up most frequently in situations like the 2006 Sixth District caucuses, where the “establishment” got exercised because Michele Bachmann flooded the caucuses with “her” people – which elsewhere in politics is called “getting elected”.
Ditto 2008, when the Ron Paul crowd flooded the caucuses. The big story was the newbies’ passion and, er, numbers, versus the “establishment”‘s ire at their purported party (in both senses of the term) being crashed. The Paulbots complained, then and now, about the welcome they got from “the Establishment” – not realizing that had they stuck it out a few more years and put some of their passion into organization and longevity, they just might be the GOP “Establishment” today.
Anyway, whenever things like candidate insurgencies, waves and tempest-in-a-teapot controversies befall a party, there are inevitably calls for “Unity”.
Grassroots activism is absolutely necessary to keep the establishment honest – wherever the line is drawn. To Mr. Ewing’s point, effective grassroots activism eschews the ad hominem attacks and vindictive searches for conspiracies and scandals and focuses on issues of principle, and a wise establishment takes grassroots criticism as the opportunity for some soul-searching reevaluation of their own commitment to the Party’s common vision and objective that starts with winning elections.
That’s the key – and hard – part; having a disagreement and a debate that matters without having the circular firing squad for which the MNGOP is so very famous. “Disagree without being disagreeable” is the line (all too often coming from people who then go on to be extremely disagreeable, but them’s the breaks).
But unity has it limits:
However, contrary to Mr. Ewing’s conclusion, the relationship between grassroots and establishment remains, and should always remain, tense and somewhat contentious. Good leadership exploits that tension; it doesn’t waste time trying to negate it with pleas for “unity.”
Consider: Lemmings personify the ultimate unity.
That’s the real challenge; the “divide” between the “Grassroots” and the “Establishment” can be a very, very good thing. You just have to have people, and a party, that’s smart enough to use it.