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Democrats Should Write A New MCDP Constitution That Envisions And Structures A Strong Twenty-First Century Party

The Montgomery County Democratic Party’s quadrennial Reorganization Meeting scheduled for June, 2018, will give local Democrats the opportunity to reimagine the party and to re-write the current MCDP Constitution. Democrats need to discuss the future of their local Democratic party organization. What should the party look like in five or ten years? How can we organize to best take advantage of communication technologies?

A good place to start the discussion is to consider the purpose of the Democratic Party. We want to elect a lot of Democrats, but why? What is our purpose? Is it all about passing progressive laws like “Medicare for All”? It seems the main message that the party seeks to deliver is: Vote for Democrats because we advocate for public policies that benefit you. Of course, the Republican Party has the same message, different policies. Campaigns come down to merchandizing.

To imagine the Democratic Party of the future, we need to respond to the fact that, when polled, over 40% of voters now claim to be Independent. There is growing cynicism and distrust within the public about political parties. More and more voters claim they vote for the person — not for the party. Moving forward, MCDP needs to answer these two challenges:

  1. How do we conduct ourselves as a party to establish a brand that will attract Independent voters?
  2. How do we nurture and identify outstanding candidates for public office?

I’m thinking that the brand the party needs to develop is one focused on process and accountability. As a political organization we need to conduct ourself as a model of deliberative grassroots democracy that encourages initiative and leadership in its members. We need to establish a record of holding our candidates, when elected, to a high standard of transparency and accountability.

Here is the message I believe the party should strive to deliver: Vote for Democrats because we are committed to making our system of representative democracy work as it should. Actions, of course, speak louder than words and to deliver this message the party needs transformation. I’m working on a proposal for a new MCDP Constitution that structures MCDP as a grassroots democracy. Here is how it my first draft starts:

 

The Constitution Of  The Montgomery County Democratic Party

The MCDP mission: To prepare, to elect, and to sustain leaders who are of the people.

A vital republic requires talented leaders “of the people” dedicated to advancing the general good. This constitution declares that the mission of the MCDP is to generate and empower such leaders, to shepherd their election to government, and to encourage and support them once elected. It outlines structures and strategies to advance this mission based on the premise that outstanding leaders are not made, but under the right conditions they can be discovered and developed. This constitution structures MCDP as an inviting grassroots organization, a deliberative democracy, a network of local communities where there is a place for everyone to be meaningfully engaged. It offers many opportunities for the expression of creativity and the development and practice of leadership.

This constitution outlines opportunities meant to energize and greatly expand MCDP’s base of active Democrats. The goal is that by 2022 the MCDP will have at least 5000 active members connected and working productively together.

Some Features Of This Proposal:
  1. The membership of the Central Committee will consist of all individuals elected as precinct captains at the Democratic Primary. In addition membership of the CC will include any loyal Democrat living in the county who has voted in at least two of the last four Democratic primaries, who applies for membership, and who agrees to the terms of membership.
  2. The membership of the Executive Committee will consist of all individuals elected as precinct captains at the Democratic Primary.
  3. The Chairperson of the Central Committee and the Executive Committee will be the same person and will be elected at the quadrennial Reorganization Meeting.
  4. Only those Democrats elected as precinct captains at the Democratic Primary will have voting rights at the Reorganization Meeting.
  5. All MCDP general meetings, as well all MCDP committee meetings, will be open to online participation by all qualified members of those committees and will follow the rules established by those committees.
  6. MCDP will be divided into five regional caucuses: OHD-39, OHD-40, OHD-41, OHD-42, OHD-43. Membership in each caucus will consist of Central Committee members who live within the geographic region of the given Ohio House District.
  7. Each OHD caucus will be a standing committee with its own officers, budget, and agenda. Each caucus will be reorganized every two years and leaders elected. The activities of these caucuses will be set forth in the constitution.
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