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At The Reorganization Meeting, A New Constitution Could Transform the MCDP’s “Political Boss” Structure

Every four years, according to state law, the Montgomery County Democratic Party (MCDP) is required to  “reorganize.” This is the year: a “Reorganization Meeting” is scheduled to be held in June. The deadline to register to become a delegate is February 5.

At a “Reorganization Meeting,” changes to the MCDP constitution and changes to its leadership are determined by the majority of delegates voting. Historically, a majority of delegates simply reaffirms the MCDP constitution and the MCDP leadership.

If delegates at the Reorganization Meeting fairly represented county Democrats, certainly there would consensus at the meeting that the MCDP needs major changes. The MCDP constitution, for example, empowers a small “selection committee” to make endorsements — invariably rubber stamped by the “Central Committee.”  Last year, in the contest for Mayor of Dayton, the “selection committee” endorsed one popular Democrat, Nan Whaley, over another popular Democrat, A.J. Wagner. Whaley had more friends on the “selection committee.” This endorsement was a display of illogical favoritism — needlessly dividing and weakening the party — and is only one example of many that could be cited.

The Whaley endorsement aptly illustrated that the MCDP is operating under a “political boss” organization structure — written into the constitution — that gives insiders a lot of authority. These insiders like this authority and can be counted on to resist any change to the constitution that would diminish their power. The problems is, “political boss” structure has failed to create a vitalized grass-roots party. To be effective, the MCDP needs to create an organization structure that will empower all county Democrats to fully participate in an active small-d democratic community.

At the Reorganization Meeting, the MCDP could transform its “political boss” organization structure, but shamefully, by deliberate strategy, the June Reorganization Meeting has been kept a big secret from rank and file county Democrats. Every precinct in the county can be represented by a delegate. In 2010, almost half of the county precincts had zero candidates. Anyone interested in being a delegate can contact me at mcbock@me.com. Include your name and address and I will send you the forms and information that you need.

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