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Imagining How A Local Democratic Party Organization Can Help Make Our System Of Democracy Work As It Should

Having read my thoughts on a 21st century Democratic Party, suppose the Democrats in Montgomery County rise up and agree that they want the local MCDP party organization to focus on making our system of representative democracy work as it should. Suppose they labor together, discuss and debate, cry and pounds their heads and suppose, finally, they make this report:

We’ve come to this agreement:

A system of representative democracy that works as it should has the following elements:

  • Nonpartisan civic groups dedicated to making the system work.
  • Transparency in politics and in government
  • A vigorous and open public square where issues are discussed and competing points of view are defended.
  • A citizenry well grounded in civics and well prepared and practiced in civic participation.
  • A competitive and broad-based system of finding the best representative “of the people, for the people.”
  • Political party organizations, structured as deliberative democracies, designed to empower the grassroots.

 

As a partisan political party organization, each of these elements offer a distinct challenge. Here are some of our thoughts:

  1. MCDP should encourage Democrats in Montgomery County who are active in the local party to also be active in helping to initiate and to support local nonpartisan civic clubs — with the goal of creating local clubs of Democrats, Independents and Republicans united in advancing a common mission.
  2. The mission of these civic clubs will be civics education, broadly understood. These clubs will engage school-age youth in after-school civics education projects aimed at increasing in-depth understanding of politics and issues — local to global. These clubs will be debating societies that will provide forums for research, discussion and debate. They will conduct town hall meetings. They will follow the work of elected officials, especially those locally elected, and make that work transparent and easy to understand by the general public
  3. One purpose of these nonpartisan clubs will be to nurture individuals, especially youth, who seek to serve the public in elected office. The goal is that these clubs, over time, will become local institutions of long standing and tradition and that leaders in these clubs will often be elected to public office.
  4. MCDP should establish standards of excellence for elected officials and should develop rubrics for evaluating the work of officials. Candidates who seek election under the party banner should pledge to strive for excellence as defined by the party and MCDP should hold Democratic elected officials accountable to honoring and practicing those standards.
  5. There are 50,000 voters in Montgomery County who consider themselves loyal Democrats. MCDP should engage at least 5% of these voters (2500 individuals) into active voting membership in the MCDP party organization.
  6. MCDP should conduct its general meetings and committee meetings so that they are open for online participation by all MCDP members.
  7. MCDP should encourage primary competition.
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