Having gone from shock, to panic, to sadness, to calm resolution (with alternate periods of panic and sadness), I can finally put together some words on the path forward. As a member of the Democratic National Committee during a time when the Republican Party has the Presidency and Congress, I feel a special responsibility. And I want to hear your views on how to proceed. You can reach me at Frank@demrulz.org, @DemRulz on twitter, or Facebook.
The DNC will meet on February 23-26, 2017 in Atlanta Georgia to elect a new National Chairperson, five Vice Chairpersons, a National Finance Chair, a Treasurer, and a Secretary (and to conduct other business). The approximately 447 DNC members will elect the officers. Here, in no particular order, are my thoughts on our new Chair and DNC priorities.
- Our new Chair needs to be someone who can both be a strong party spokesman and someone who can oversee the organization’s operations. With a Democrat in the White House, I was leaning towards someone who can focus on party building. But we may need a strong national leader now. Ideally, we want someone who can do both.
- We need a Chair who will listen to all Democrats with respect, provide a unifying focus, take a hard look at how we got here, and help us figure out the path forward. I am skeptical of someone who has all the answers the day after the election.
- The new Chair must balance the critical need for obtaining sufficient resources to maintain and build the party and elect our candidates with the need to restore public confidence in the process. In other words, we need to raise money, while avoiding charges of corruption.
- I am confident that the new chair will be a champion of progressive values. Fundamentally, we need to support our fellow Americans. I don’t need to remind you of the hateful statements from Donald trump and his people, about women, minorities, immigrants, the disabled, the LGBT community, and others. We will fight for the rights of all Americans. And we need to support workers and their unions. Beyond that, we will need to develop our own agenda and figure out how to deal with the Republican administration policies that offer opportunities.
- It’s better if the chair is not an elected official, in particular not a House member who has to run every two years. Being in Congress is a full time job and a Congressperson may have conflicts between the role of national leader and representative of constituents. For example, Debbie Wasserman Schultz supported the Iran Deal, and was attacked in her primary for doing so. (Not a hard and fast rule though.)
- Our Chair should treat everyone, including current DNC staff members, with respect, and build a strong team.
- People need to understand the limits of the DNC’s role – the path forward starts with you, local committees, state parties, and local state and national elected officials. It needs to be a coordinated approach, but its up to each of us.
- The DNC should do a much better job of communicating what it does, and what it does well (e.g. State Party support, data management, and voter protection). Operations should be much more transparent, the website should offer more available resources.
- The 50 State Strategy developed into the current State Partnership Program – due to the leadership of Ray Buckley and the Association of State Democratic Chairs, the DNC provides considerable financial and other support to State Parties. That effort will continue.
- The DNC’s voter protection efforts have been terrific – in Virginia, working with State Party and our voter protection director, we have been able to build a year round organization, an ongoing Hotline available to the public, extensive pre-election troubleshooting, and an election day with 80 boiler room staff, 1500 poll observers, 40 litigation counsel on call, and thousands of voters assisted. The DNC has also supported litigation lead by Marc Elias, that has successfully challenged voter suppression laws around the country and that work continues.
Let’s get to work.
VA DNC Member
I am proud to represent Virginia as one of our five elected members of the Democratic National Committee. This site features my regular reports from the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Party of Virginia , occasional news and comment regarding Virginia politics, and useful links and references. More about me, click here.