To “Save Democracy,” David Pepper Should Tell How Democrats Can Help Democratize The Democratic Party

Wikipedia says,
“David Pepper is the son of former Procter & Gamble CEO John Pepper.[2] Pepper graduated from Cincinnati Country Day School, earned his B.A. at Yale University, and his J.D. from Yale Law School. …In 2010, Pepper was a candidate for Ohio Auditor, and in 2014, Pepper ran unsuccessfully for Ohio Attorney General.” Pepper has authored four works of fiction — just released, “The Fifth Vote” — and two books about democracy.

I’m looking forward to hearing David Pepper speak at our South of Dayton Democratic Club this evening, Wednesday, January 17. Pepper served as Ohio Democratic Party Chairperson from 2015 to 2020. 

Pepper’s latest book, “Saving Democracy: A User’s Manual For Every American,” offers a lot of good ideas to discuss.  Missing from the book, however, is a chapter about the Democratic Party. Political parties have a big role to play in our democracy and, with Pepper’s background, it seems the “user’s manual” should contain suggestions for what rank-and-file Democrats can do to democratize our Democratic Party. 

I was first elected to the MCDP Central Committee in 2006 and, I was expecting to participate in a democratic community. Instead, I was surprised to find that the MCDP ran as a political boss system, not as a democratic system, and all of the decisions of the organization were made by a core group. I was appalled at the audacity of this group to make early endorsements of their friends and deliberately suppress participation in Democratic Primaries. 

We’ve made some progress. Our new MCDP Chair, Mohamed Al-Hamdani, was elected on the promise of no endorsements for open seats, and, for now, that practice has been discontinued. 

After Pepper resigned, there was a contest for his replacement between Liz Walters and Antoinette Wilson. The winner would be the first woman elected ODP Chair. Eventually Wilson withdrew and Walters was crowned unanimously.  The Columbus Dispatch reported:  Walters had the backing of organized labor leaders, which hold significant sway with the party’s executive committee of about 150 members. Those leaders also hold their own seats on the committee and were pledged to Walters.”

This article points out that the labor leaders — those pushing for Walters’ election — have their “own seats” on the ODP Executive Committee. Of this 148 member executive committee, only 66 members are elected by rank-and-file Democrats — a man and a woman in each of the 33 senatorial districts. Our district, OSD-06, elected Mark Owens and Nan Whaley. 82 members, 55% of the ODP Executive Committee, are non-elected insiders. They have their “own seats.”

The 66 elected members are called the ODP Central Committee. By Ohio law, this is the “controlling committee.” If a majority of this elected group could agree, rather than empowering 82 insiders to vote in the ODP Executive Committee, this “controlling committee” could do otherwise. I have a suggestion below. The next election for the ODP  Central Committee is 2026, and I’m suggesting that Democrats work to elect “pro-democracy” Democrats to the ODP Central Committee so the current ODP Constitution can be amended.

In 2015, Pepper, as the newly elected ODP Chair, along with Nina Turnerm produced a document entitled: “Turning the Tide: Our vision”  They wrote: “Leading the Ohio Democratic Party, our number one responsibility and goal will be to win elections.” To accomplish this goal Pepper and Turner said it was essential to “energize the infrastructure.” I wrote an article in response:

“Turning the Tide” describes the current Democratic Party infrastructure as a “long list of names in a database,” and says it is essential for individuals on these lists to be energized. As it is, these loyal Democrats who volunteer for the party have little, or no, say-so in the party.

To energize the base, we need to reimagine an Ohio Democratic Party that is a democratic community of the rank-and-file. I’d like to see changes in the ODP Constitution implemented in 2026 so that:

      • Any Ohio citizen who has voted in two consecutive Democratic primaries is invited to become a member of the ODP and a full participant in the organization. 
      • In 2028 there will be an ODP Convention, where the full membership of the ODP will be empowered to participate and vote — with both in-person and on-line participation — electing party leadership through a rank-choice process.

I’m looking forward to hearing Mr. Pepper this evening and if the opportunity arises, I’ll ask:  Do you support a change to the ODP Constitution that will provide for the selection of the ODP Chairperson through a process where every ODP member has a vote?


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To Lift Debt Ceiling, Mike Turner Calls On Biden To Negotiate And Make Concessions, Says The House Has Already Voted To Raise Debt Limit

Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and the committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut, recently were interviewed on CNN’s “State of the Union”


Congressman Turner recently appeared on CNN’s “State of the Nation.” I’m disappointed that my representative in the US House, on the matter of raising the debt ceiling,  took a harsh partisan stance and loyally pushed the party line. Turner, in his actions and attitude, obviously represents the Republican tribe, not the grassroots citizens of OH-10.

Jack Tapper asked him if he thought the House Republicans might consider a temporary extension of the debt limit. Turner replied, “The House has already done its job.” He said the House voted to raise the debt ceiling, but President Biden refuses to negotiate. He said, “The President needs to make some concessions.”

The Republicans are making demands. On CNN, Turner failed to tell that the Republican legislation that extends the debt limit also spells out what the Republicans’ demands. From, according to summaries of the GOP bill, the legislation:

  • Repeals certain renewable and clean energy tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act,
  • Blocks Biden’s executive actions canceling student loan debt,
  • Reclaims some of the unspent COVID-19 funding,
  • Rescinds funds designated for the Internal Revenue Service, and,
  • Creates new work requirements for Medicaid beneficiaries and
  • Expands work requirements for those enrolled in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program


From CNN:

Tapper: “Do you think House Republicans would consider a temporary extension  so that President Biden and Speaker McCarthy had more time to try to hammer out some sort of a deal?” 


Mike Turner: “As Speaker McCarthy said, The House has done its job. We voted to raise the debt limit. The President is doing this unrealistic position where He is saying that spending has nothing to do with debt. Of course you don’t get debt unless you are spending more than you are bringing in. President needs to come to the table and negotiate with the Speaker and come up with a plan that the American people want overwhelmingly, the polls show,  the American people want Washington to rein in spending and the President needs to make some concessions.”   


Tapper: “Do you agree with your colleague, Congressman Himes, that this is a national security threat not solving this problem?”


Mike Turner: “If the President fails to negotiate with Congress and has continued out-of control spending that threatens our economy, it is a national security threat and he has the ability to sit down and do that and for us to do that and come to a deal and agreement that is what the American people want and that is what I think they are going to require from the President and Congress and he needs to get on with it.”

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Dear Neighbors: This Election Is Not About Personalities — It is About Stopping A Dangerous Republican Party

I have modest goals. Kettering has over forty precincts. I hope to distribute my letter in only the precinct where I live. My goal is for my precinct to make a good showing for the Democratic candidates and to have an outstanding turn-out of registered voters.

I have prepared a letter, 647 words, one page both sides — lots of information that I hope is not too much to be read. My goal is to print this one page and to distribute it to the voters in my precinct — Kettering 4-K. This is what it says:

Dear Neighbors In Precinct Kettering 4-K

This is the first time I’ve written and distributed a letter to all of the voters in my precinct and I have lived at 3808 LeFevre Dr for 45 years!


About this election, I’m sure many of you have made up your minds. I have. This note is for those who are still undecided and, especially, for those who are not sure whether, or not, you even want to vote.


I’m making this effort — and wearing out my printer — because I fear what is coming. The best hope to save our republic is that rank-and-file citizens will become awakened voters, and this note is my effort to influence voter in the precinct where I live.


My message is that all citizens of good will — especially citizens who usually vote Republican — should reject the Republican Party as it is today. I grew up in a Republican home. My Mom and Dad stayed true to Nixon to the very end. The change from the Eisenhower Republican Party to the Trump Republican Party has been astonishing and, I’m afraid, the trend points to a terrible future. I fear what is coming.


Trump is trying to ride his Big Lie back to power. The Big Lie is that the 2020 election was stolen from him and that he was stabbed in the back — by leftists, Democrats, devil worshipers, etc. Trump keeps repeating and exaggerating his lies and grievances. This is a dangerous man. He has shown how it can happen here that a “Dear Leader,” a Fuhrer, could arise in America as part of an authoritarian nationalist “Christian” movement.  Rank-and-file Republicans must reject Republican radicalism and bring the Republican Party back to the mainstream.


    • Reject the election denier Republican J.D. Vance. Vote against Vance.
    • Reject the loyal Republican incumbent, Michael Turner. Vote against Turner.
    • Reject the the radical actions of the Ohio House.Vote against Andrea White.


This election is not about personalities. I’ve met Andrea White, our Ohio House incumbent, and she is a nice person. But, she is a nice person who reliably votes with the radical super-majority in the Ohio Assembly. White voted for:


    • A “Constitution Carry” law.Now, everyone in Ohio is welcome to carry a concealed gun, without training, and without registration.
    • A tax give-away to the wealthy. White voted to reduce Ohio income taxes by $1 billion each year — The richest 1% of taxpayers on average will save $5400 each year in taxes. The bottom 80% of taxpayers will save about $45.

ADDISON CURUSO would be a good replacement for Andrea Whitein the Ohio House. Addison is a good-hearted 26 year old who graduated with honors from Duke School of Law and is now working at a non-profit as an advocate for the poor.


TIM RYAN would make a great US senator.J.D. Vance won the Republican Primary by championing Trump’s Big Lie and getting Trump’s endorsement. We are in big trouble if we empower election deniers.


DAVID ESRATI would keepKevin McCarthy from becoming Speaker of the U.S. House. McCarthy has threatened that, as Speaker, he will use his majority to default on the US debt — UNLESS President Biden agrees to spending cuts, including cuts in Social Security and Medicare.


STEVE ABSHIRE would make a wonderful Juvenile Court judge. Steve is a long-time friend of mine andhas been preparing for this opportunity his whole life.


My message is that all citizens with a deep concern about the future of our republic — especially established Republican voters — should reject the candidates of today’s radicalized Republican Party. You can disagree and we can still be good neighbors and friends. I’d like to start a Kt 4-K Civic Community. Send me an email and I’ll explain. Finally, if you are considering not voting, please reconsider. I hope it will help to know that you have a neighbor who really, really, cares and is encouraging you to vote.


Sincerely,  Mike Bock

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