Democrats Rebuild Party from Bottom Up
Who rigged the voting machines in Ohio? Why were people of color and college students forced to wait in such long lines across America to vote? What evil tricks was Karl Rove up to? Where's the cream filling?
These question and others plagued the minds of the base of America's Democratic Party, but only briefly. After the 2004 election, most Democrats accepted defeat, not because we like losing, but because we knew we could and we must do better. Since then, a series of structural changes have been made in the way Democrats do business. Hey, when you control a total of zero branches of the federal government, there isn't much else you can change besides your internals.
50 State Strategy
A large debate grew out of the run-up to the '04 election—where should Democrats focus in order to win back the Presidency? Pundits and politicos were all over the map on this one; some said to write off the South and camp in the Midwest, others said to go into the heart of deep south and the Bible-belt and talk to voters in a way they hadn't been talked to by Democrats in a long time and others still suggested building up in the fast-growing, demographically changing West. It appears that John Kerry chose to select "none of the above" as his campaign strategy. But when the race for DNC chair was beginning to take shape, all of the candidates stressed this idea of a fifty-state strategy, built on the notion that if you want to win and anywhere, you have to compete everywhere. Former Governor and one-time Presidential candidate Howard Dean was eventually selected party Chairman, and has since come through on his promise to compete everywhere. Organizers are being hired to build the party in every precinct in America, starting with some which have been out of the grasp of the party as of late. Organizers have been hard at work in Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Alaska. As the President and the Congress continue to lose popularity across the nation, these organizers will be crucial to help bring voters back into the Democratic Party.
The most innovative, progressive idea to come out of the Democratic Party is "Democracy Bonds." Democracy Bonds are pretty much exactly what they sound like—an investment in the future of the Democratic Party. Rather going to corporation on their hands and knees (if you are a Republican, much time is spent on your knees), Democrats are aiming to recruit average folks to buy the bonds, which are a monthly financial commitment to the DNC. The idea is to make average Americans, the small dollar donors, a more central piece of the political process. Democracy Bonds can be purchased at nearly any amount, so long as the total contribution does not exceed campaign finance laws.
Democrats have surely wasted no time recruiting strong candidates in races around the country. More importantly, they are well financed. With Congressional approval at an all-time low, Republican incumbents are more ripe for the picking than ever before, and Democrats do not intend to miss this opportunity. Some of the candidates are running for the second time, so they are well seasoned in the process. Others come from new perspectives than voters are used to hearing. Already Democrats have seven Iraq War veterans running for Congress across the country—wait, which party actually supports the troops? Democrats even have former Washington Redskins QB Heath Shuler running for Congress in North Carolina. It is an impressive list which continues to grow and gain momentum and as the corruption of the GOP oozes out of every district.
The campaign to take back the Senate is also looking mighty fine for Democrats. With well-known, well-liked and often well-thy candidates running in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Rhode Island, Arizona, Ohio, and others, the Senate may very well be back in play. The balance of Governors Mansions across America will also swing back to the Democrats in 2006 thanks to early and effective recruiting. Gains will be made in New York, Ohio, California, Maryland and our very own Massachusetts, to name a few.
All in all, Democrats are most certainly on the right path to recovery. They are by no means perfect, and the fruits of this labor remain to be seen. Much can still change, and in the world of politics, it often does. But given where the Party has been and where it was after the 2004 election, many Democrats are ready to work to bring back the glory days of the USA.
Front Page (October 3, 2005)
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