Young Democrat Takes On Party Politics

The New Issue: David Hardt

AB: One thing I’ve noticed about your organization is that you’re 100% for marriage equality. You don’t want civil unions. You want marriage.

DH: Absolutely. And it passed unanimously and I’m very, very proud of that.

AB: And so you should be, but it’s crazy to me that the national party is not, but they have an arm of the organization that is. What’s this contradiction in politics we’re seeing? Why is it alright for the youth to support marriage and the elders, if you will, to not?

DH: I actually look at it as a good thing. It shows that our party is changing. If you look back at what the young democrats have stood for and their platform and then followed the national party a few years after that – it’s always been a parallel. I think a few years from now, we’ll see full marriage equality on the Democratic platform. A lot of that has to do with the leaders in the young democrats and other organizations naturally move up to the larger party and push those same ideals. I wish that the DNC and the Democratic party would change their stance, but I also see it as a good future because of how easy it passed in our organization.

AB: It seems to me that while most Democrats would like to see the campaign be between the Democrats and the Republicans, many of the battles I’ve seen are between the Democrats. How can people have faith in a party that apparently does not have faith in itself?

DH: Believe it or not, I actually support arguing within the Democratic Party. It means we’re actually sharing ideas and that we have disagreements. If you look at the flip side, the Republicans don’t accept arguments. They don’t accept disagreements. You have to follow the party line and nothing else. I’m very proud that we can argue over issues. That’s what makes our party so great.

AB: If I were a voter in Kansas and I were disheartened by President Bush’s administration and Larry Craig’s hypocrisy and I was starting to waver in my lifelong Republican support, but I looked at the Democrats – that doesn’t make me feel confident in their ability to lead this country, to be honest. I mean the exchange of ideas, but imagine a swing voter’s perspective.

DH: In that respect, I think it’s up to the state party infrastructure and the local party infrastructure to reach out to those swing voters and bring them in and make them part of the party. When voters do have those types of questions, [the party] needs to be ready and prepared to answer whatever questions they have so they understand that’s just part of party structure, infighting has to happen to make policy, to make change.

AB: What do you think of Larry Craig?

DH: I think it’s very unfortunate that the Senator lives in a state where it’s unacceptable to be openly gay. I would imagine he is probably internally conflicted. If he chose his life, his path and he chose to be a Senator… It’s unfortunate that he didn’t have an open, accepting environment for gay and lesbian people. I feel sorry for the guy. I don’t mind a conservative Senator go, but it’s really a sad statement on society that a gentleman that’s obviously conflicted has to live with that internal conflict.

AB: I recently wrote an article about how Craig’s fall is going to end the culture wars. A lot of that argument rested on the fact that these men aren’t necessarily gay. We have men who have sex with men who are not willing to buy into the sexual binarisms. Larry Craig is really elevating this social group. I think that if more Americans and, more importantly, politicians, understand that men can have sex with men, but aren’t necessarily gay, it will tear down the sexual segregation the Republicans have worked so hard to keep. It’s going to totally revolutionize the way Americans think of sexuality.

DH: Right. Absolutely. I’ve always been a fan of Dr. Alfred Kinsey’s work and I think sexuality in Western society – because of religion – has put this limitation on how we live our lives, specifically our sexual lives. I think sexuality before the Dark Ages was much more open and much more free. People accepted that sexuality is not limited to one sex or the other. Prime example: of course, ancient Greece. I think that it’s just now starting to come back into the thought process that we don’t have to be limited to one sex or the other. Dr. Kinsey wrote so eloquently about the type of things that naturally occur within us. I think we’re just starting to wake up and realizing that is the case.

AB: The political implications of his foot tap and hand swipe are really going to be incredible for this country.

DH: I think, politically, it’s a losing issue for the Republicans. The only thing they can do is try to hold on to that group of social conservatives they have left, but that’s a dying breed. More of the moderates who see that it’s very hypocritical and they’ll start to believe what you wrote, the more they’ll understand this isn’t an issue that they need to specifically vote on.

AB: Do you plan on going into the national party?

DH: I actually plan on running for office here in Texas.I’ve had my eye on a couple of House seats. We’ll see how the 2010 districting goes, so you might see me in Congress one day!