HOOSER: The myth of Democrats controlling politics, government

Hawai‘i is a blue state dominated by Democrats and the Democratic Party. Conventional wisdom though this may be, it’s only half true. And even the half that’s true is not really true. Dwell on that for a moment.

All too often we hear variations of, “As long as the one party-political mafia gate-holders have a stranglehold on who gets to be a candidate, you will only see more of the same.”

As the former vice chair of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, I will share with you some not-so-secret secrets.

The DPH does not pick and choose candidates. Any individual who is a member of the party can place a “D” next to their name and run in any election as a Democrat. The party has no say in the matter whatsoever.

The DPH does not actively nor officially help any candidate running in the primary election, where Democrats will challenge Democrats.

The truth is the party mostly has nothing to do with deciding who runs and who doesn’t. These decisions are made by the individual candidates.

Yes, there are a variety of players who encourage various individuals to run and who offer support to both new and incumbent candidates. And, yes, these individuals are sometimes but not always affiliated with the party.

More often the core allegiance of the various players and political operatives is based on the needs and goals of special-interest groups — labor, business, environment, agriculture, construction, etc.

Interest groups pleased with their preferred legislator’s performance will continue to support them, and those not pleased will seek to find a challenger to “take out” an incumbent.

The DPH has a strong social, environmental and economic-justice platform. Those serving in public office are expected to support the platform, but there is no mechanism to ensure this happens — none, zero, nada.

Anyone doubting this need only look at the failures of leadership in the state House. Year after year they simply ignore DPH priorities, focusing instead on pleasing various business and tourism-industry organizations.

Think of the party as a brand. The politically preferable brand for a majority of voters in Hawai‘i is the “D.” Consequently, most candidates choose to run as Democrats.

Because of the hard work and relentless commitment by rank-and-file party members over the years, the DPH brand is a stellar one.

Unfortunately, in recent years the brand has been tarnished by incumbent legislators who are essentially corporatists. Working people struggle daily just to survive, our stream waters have been taken over by big business, the houseless have been criminalized, and our economy remains dominated by military spending and tourism.

If real Democrats were truly in charge, the minimum wage in Hawai‘i would be $15 now and headed without question toward a true living wage. If Democrats who actually believed in the Democratic platform and values were really at the helm, luxury second homes and real-estate speculators would be paying the highest taxes in the nation, not the lowest, AND the lack of affordable housing would have been declared an emergency a long time ago.

So the not-so-secret secret is that the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i is not in charge; it’s the corporatists who have hijacked the “D” brand who are actually running the show.

We can change this, of course. It starts with finding and supporting new candidates who truly believe in the principles and values upon which the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i is based. We need to find real “Ds” to run against the faux “Ds” and those who carry water for their enablers.


Gary Hooser is the former vice-chair of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, and served eight years in the state Senate, where he was majority leader. He also served for eight years on the Kaua‘i County Council, and was the former director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control. He serves in a volunteer capacity as board president of the Hawai‘i Alliance for Progressive Action and is executive director of the Pono Hawai‘i Initiative.

  1. Jkh September 22, 2021 2:16 am Reply

    True fact: he for got to mention democrats ruin everything.

    1. Will G September 22, 2021 8:38 pm Reply

      True Fact? That’s what a fact is…Truth. Unless you fall under the republican cloak of Ignorance with your alternative facts.

  2. YuCalJoe September 22, 2021 2:50 am Reply

    Lie #1: “The DPH has a strong social, environmental and economic-justice platform. Those serving in public office are expected to support the platform, but there is no mechanism to ensure this happens — none, zero, nada.”

    The school teachers (including colleges) are programming students to hate America, white people, and God. Need proof? Look at BLM, Antifa, the Squad, Cancel Culture, and the general platform of the Democratic party of promoting that everyone is a victim.

    Lie #2: “Because of the hard work and relentless commitment by rank-and-file party members over the years, the DPH brand is a stellar one.”

    Stellar in becoming wealthy at your expense. Criminal professional thieves are only different in that they don’t occupy the political office.

    Lie #3: “..the houseless have been criminalized..”

    Reality is that far too many of the “houseless” are criminals and drug users. They made they choice to be so, not the law abiding citizens.

    Bottom line, the respectable Democratic party of the past is long gone. Kennedy was the last good Democrat President. The Democrats are now the Socialist Party. And they have the schools, the news media, and large “woke” (mentally ill) corporations in their pocket to help spread their manure agenda to divide and destroy America.

    “D” no longer stands for “Democrat”. It stand for Dung.

    And yes, I would say much of the same about many of the Republican party members as well.

    I’m tired of the lies from all sources.

    1. Guy September 23, 2021 12:04 pm Reply

      That’s a lot of non-sequitur rambling you got there. And what you’re calling lies, from this 3rd party perspective of mine, I call opinions. Some more based in fact than others, but you do little service with all the hyperbole in your post…

  3. No Make Cents September 22, 2021 3:56 am Reply

    Blah blah blah…
    The fact of the matter is tht this is a failed administration.

    the Democrats hated Trump so much that they were willing to put in two people were not qualified for the job as President and vice President.

    And don’t get even get me started on pelosi.
    She held the people hostage with the stimulus checks because she didn’t want Trump to get credit for it.
    the Democrats held off on the vaccine because they didn’t want Trump to get credit for it.
    until today I still believe that it was a stolen election I refuse, refuse to believe that 90% of the mail in votes went to Biden.
    You made your bed Democrats, now lie in it.
    take credit when it’s time to take credit but take the blame when it’s time to take the blame.

  4. James Kuroiwa, Jr. September 22, 2021 5:05 am Reply

    Gary, “The myth of Democrats controlling politics, government” is fact and true anytime one political party controls 50% plus 1 of any political body between each election year. Also, your misdirection as to the political party selecting candidates who seek any political office is a political classic you present.

  5. nothings free? September 22, 2021 5:32 am Reply

    Here’s a little exercise for you Hooser. Get smarter, study more, learn History better, and then realize that the Democrat Party, and all it stands for, is Socialism, killing children, and Greed. At that point you go ahead and register as a Republican who believes in honesty, efforts in order to get rewards, and the American Dream. At that point you’ll have some idea about the Democrat Party of Hawaii, good ole boy networks, and a population of locals who are sheep marching in flocks because education, independent thought, and Common Sense are lacking. What a pathetic attempt to hide the reality of Politics in the Peoples Republic of Hawaii!

    1. Citation needed September 23, 2021 12:06 pm Reply

      Please show proof of your claims.

  6. USAF Brat September 22, 2021 5:39 am Reply

    “Conventional Wisdom” WTH is tHat?

    1. Guy September 23, 2021 12:05 pm Reply

      oh, the irony

  7. don September 22, 2021 6:10 am Reply

    Mr. Hooser
    By your line of reasoning then it would seem more appropriate for candidates to run as an I
    Independ, with no affiliation to ether of the two dominate parties.

  8. KauaiFarmMan September 22, 2021 7:12 am Reply

    Great point Gary. Time to start voting Republicans in. These do nothing Democratic politicians are destroying our state and further oppressing our native populations through the same welfare tactics Democrats use in Washington. We live in a total welfare state where success is punished with the highest taxes in the country, for a state with an infrastructure comparable to a third world nation. And you being formerly at the helm of this corrupt party are to blame for its failed policies. Hawaii is the gold standard of corrupt local politics. But you already knew that. Thanks for continuing policy that was established by colonialists. Great job, with Democrats at the helm of our state politics we will surely have a continued future of oppression and deception. The plan all along.

  9. whattodo... September 22, 2021 8:11 am Reply

    The political class, and it is a class, on either side of the aisle cares little for ‘the people’, i.e. the rest of us. Sure there are a few that try to uphold the values and ideals of the nation, but for the most part, well, forget-about-it. The divisions in this state and the country are exactly what the political class want and even need to continue to do the bidding of the corporations and the ever darker military/industrial/intelligence complex.

    The GQP continues to play footsie with fascism and the Dems, still beholden to the Clinton-istas in the DNC, continue to play foos ball in their gilded garages with democracy for the sake of their donors and neo-liberal economic measures.

    It will take a generation of concerted activism to sort all of this out. Rome is burning, despite what the ‘luminaries’ want us to believe. It’s a slow burn and their winning, for now, but the whirlwind will find them eventually.

  10. Rev Dr Malama September 22, 2021 8:35 am Reply

    Wrong again but I presume that the garden island news needs filler in order to print this 4 page rag that barely suffices as a journalistic issue….
    I had the unpleasant experience of having to go through a lot of red tape to “resign” from the Democrats party after joining to cast my vote for Bernie…. anybody else remember that primary debacle????
    I then wrote off the private 2 party system as faces for the demise of the people and the environment….
    I have since been a strong supporter of the International Green Party and the Hawai’ian Kingdom Subjects Protect of Unlawful occupation by the Insurgency of the United states of America.
    Why haven’t you done the same thing dear writer and readers????
    Mahalo KE AKUA for the future generations of the
    HAWAIIAN KINGDOM and all Nations in Treaty with us!!!

    1. Rev Dr Malama September 23, 2021 6:38 am Reply

      Typo…. protest the illegal occupation.
      Please take the time to be akamai, not lolo!!!!


  11. hutch September 22, 2021 9:10 am Reply


  12. KauaiFarmMan September 22, 2021 10:55 am Reply

    Haha . Looks like the people see through your outdated propaganda techniques Gary.
    Democratic politics are the main reason native populations are continuously oppressed. Poor education, over taxation, debt building, failing infrastructure, limited opportunities, and perpetual welfare. You’ve done well to raise successive generations who won’t have the mind or wallet to challenge their masters. Classic Democratic policy. Good ole boy politics at its best. Ironic that in a Democrat controlled state we are dominated by good ole boy politics where a few select families control the majority of wealth and business on each island. You’ve made it almost impossible for the people to ever have the tools necessary to change a broken system. Your plan is working masterfully. Modern day slavery at its best.
    Hmmm, we should rename our state the People’s Republic of Hawaii. That’s more in line with the desires of our Dear Leaders.

  13. Sam G September 22, 2021 3:29 pm Reply

    Gary wrote, “If real Democrats were truly in charge…” Yes Gary and real communism has never been tried either.

  14. Dt September 22, 2021 7:30 pm Reply

    Please use economic responsibility and do your research before listening to Gary on any subject. What he calls corporatism are small businesses giving feedback to our politicians. Gary is a majority whip who like a lot of other elected officials fails to do due diligence when voting. Using your heart instead of the brain will hardly end in a good outcome and will likely cause some backlash. When did we get so complacent that we were willing to give government power over our lives and possessions. If government can decide who can and cannot own a house, then whats next? How about we tax all the retired people on the island higher, they are just consuming house space and don’t contribute to jobs. That sound outrageous, but how far is that idea from the ones Gary is proposing?

  15. Imua44 September 23, 2021 6:57 am Reply

    Hawaii Dems have a stranglehold on everything in Hawaii. From the unfunded Pension Plans, Rail fiasco, HPD corruption, lack of housing, poor schools, roads and highest taxes.
    The Dems also knock out any candidate that isn’t a blind follower of far left ideals. Look no further than Sens hirano and schatz.
    The Dems also, as exemplified by Mr Hooser, talk down to people and think anyone who disagrees is stupid.

  16. Tooindependent September 23, 2021 8:11 am Reply

    There might be enough good comments here that we won’t need to hear from him again for awhile.. amen

    1. Doug September 23, 2021 9:44 am Reply

      “There might be enough good comments here that we won’t need to hear from him again for awhile..”

      One can only hope, but then again I think it’s a pipe dream!

    2. KauaiFarmMan September 23, 2021 3:09 pm Reply

      Let’s hope they stop giving Red Gary a platform to spread his propaganda. But I think we all really enjoy to see that no one is falling for his poor attempts to sway public opinion with not so cleverly crafted jargon.

  17. David Sigala September 23, 2021 10:09 am Reply

    Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and the non elected ruling bureaucrats of Washington DC are all democrats who are enacting the proposals that Gary Hooser says are ideal. Afganistan, open borders, fiscal madness ,
    tyrannical vaccine mandates and support and collusion with the Chinese Communist Party.

  18. No Make Cents September 23, 2021 11:01 am Reply

    The comments section is speaking volumes.
    The people have spoken Gary and they don’t believe you

    1. themint September 23, 2021 12:08 pm Reply

      A few anecdotes do not make data. Welcome to the Internet.

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