As former Speaker Tip O’Neill once said, all politics is local. But it’s also true – perhaps even more so – that all politics is people. No one should know this better, or should know, that more than our Democratic Party. We are made up of people from all walks of life, who live on every continent on our planet.
So if our party is made up of people, how is it that we’ve found ourselves trapped in a world where campaigns are controlled by analytics and data, and this is costing us elections?
We need to start with a deep-dive and assessment of each of our state parties. The responsibility of the DNC should be to strengthen state parties, not starve them. We demand that the DNC and state parties are more than a pass-through to elect a president every four years.
We must move past the days of a top-down approach; decisions should be made collectively by the committee, we should be part of a true discussion instead of told what to do. This means collaborating with our allies and focus on community engagement, recruiting, and training, and messaging to show voters what we stand for.
I believe this collaborative, bottom up approach puts us on the path forward to RISE UP, ORGANIZE, and WIN.
- Empowerment and respect – We need DNC members to be actual stakeholders in decision making. The DNC needs to function as a true committee.
- Recruitment – We need to rigorously recruit strong new talent for office. There are many incredible and diverse men and women waiting in the wings, and we need to do a better job of creating a pipeline for minorities to leadership positions.
- Training – Training must go along with recruitment. We need to be doing everything we can to make sure that we are supporting our candidates with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed.
- Development – We have a lot of talent working and growing in our state parties. But there is too much turnover at the state party level, and the DNC must find a way to hold onto our greatest talent.
- 50 State Plan and Beyond – Grassroots organizing works. We need to do a better job at engaging the state parties, and be more inclusive with the District of Columbia, territories, and those abroad. We should also have a rural advisory counsel made up of state parties and rural legislators.
- State Partnership Program – We must figure out how to use the SPP FOR the state parties, not use it as a bargaining tool AGAINST them. And state parties need to be funded.
- Collaborating – The hard work to move our party forward must be a unified partnership and message with input from our allies in the DGA, DCCC, DSCC, DLCC, DMO, and our brothers and sisters in organized labor.
- Expanding Voter Rights – The DNC should be working with individual states to create model legislation that goes on the attack and helps to expand voter rights.
- Addressing the Role of Data – We can’t let data completely take over our decision-making – we also need to respect the knowledge that comes from our communities on the ground.
Messaging – Democrats need a clear and compelling message of what we stand for, not just what we’re against. This requires an immediate reform of our comms strategy to better connect with Working America.
Digital Communications – We must elevate our attention and resources on this increasingly critical area on which campaigns can be won or lost, and as importantly, help our state parties do the same.
We must have leadership that knows what it takes to win through listening, bringing people together and running smart campaigns that expand and build our party for years to come.