Ben Boyce


A smart, low-drama guy

Posted on October 24, 2022 by Ben Boyce

 The marquee political race in the regional 2022 midterm election is for the 12th State Assembly District. This is a newly redrawn district, which includes all of Marin County and the southern half of Sonoma County, including Petaluma, Rohnert Park, and the southern half of Santa Rosa. This one is an easy pick. I have worked politically with Damon Connolly for years in my former capacity as a labor-backed nonprofit coordinator for the Living Wage Coalition and its successor, the Accountable Development Coalition. Damon is easy to work with in person, a smart low-drama guy who gets things done and knows everyone who matters.

Damon has served in regional government for two decades and is fully read-in on all the issues confronting the North Bay. He has been with the labor progressives on all the key economic justice issues. He has also been a champion of enlightened environmental policy, serving as the co-founder of Marin Clean Power and consistently voting to protect the coast, build up fire emergency infrastructure, and promote city-centered smart growth that increases the stock of workforce housing while protecting precious open space. We are lucky here in NorCal that a talented attorney like Damon has chosen to work for a fraction of private sector wages and put those talents to work for the public good. Two thumbs up for Damon Connolly for the 12th AD.

As usual, local politics are far more wholesome and encouraging than the raging, chaotic civic nervous breakdown that constitutes the national discourse. As a democratic socialist, my relationship with the Democratic Party is fraught. I have had to come to terms with the fact that the party I am forced to vote for will never adopt a socialist agenda, but the current Republican Party is a menace to an open society and a threat to the survival of the human species. They are a toxic entity that is deliberately poisoning the groundwater of our democracy. They leave me no choice.

So how is this even close? Every day, the mainstream Democrats show me why they are in danger of losing power to the worst people in the U.S. Given the utter mendacity, moral bankruptcy, and comprehensive administrative incompetence of the Republican Party from coast to coast, how can they be within striking distance of regaining power? 

Only political malpractice (including suppressing the Left) can explain why the Democrats have not fractured the Republican Party into a reactionary rump, a regional southern and western Dixiecrat party that will get sent back to the margins, back to the Southern plantations and hollers and the Sunbelt suburban tracts where they belong, in permanent minority status. They have demonstrated that they should never be permitted to govern again. 

The lack of a credible critique by the Democratic Party of the dysfunction of end-stage capitalism, or even a determined conviction to create a 21st-century social democracy in the U.S. that meets EU standards is why the dreadful ghouls who run the Republican Party still have any purchase on national power. That is the Democrat’s fatal flaw, for which we may pay by the end of a functional democracy. 

We keep showing them the way out, but they won’t walk through that door. It looks like learned helplessness combined with ideological capture by the hegemonic doctrine of neoliberalism. The internalized blinders of capitalist realism render their leadership class incapable of reading the moment accurately.

All the caveats aside, the broad progressive coalition (which spans the spectrum of liberals, progressives, and socialists) has a common cause in refusing to accept the cynical mainstream media prediction that this dire political stalemate is a permanent feature of American politics. We must have the will to win. We must win repeatedly and decisively, then use that power to politically marginalize and culturally stigmatize the reactionary forces in American society for good. 


Sonoma Sun | Sonoma, CA