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From The Vaults

Montgomery County Democrats Should Debate Competing Visions Of The Future of The MCDP Organization

In the business meeting for the Montgomery County Democratic Party this evening, I’d like to see the formation of a committee that is charged with establishing a long-term plan for the vitalization of our local party organization. I’d like to see the coming Reorganization Meeting approve a six year plan — call it “Project 2024” — so that the culmination of the plan aligns with the Montgomery County’s total eclipse on April 8, 2024.

  • What would MCDP look like in 2024, IF we achieve our highest goal — our BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)?
  • What is our year-by-year plan for achieving our BHAG?

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Democrats should have discussions and debates that will lead to consensus concerning what such a six year plan should contain. The goal is that the newly elected Central Committee will approve a new MCDP Constitution at the Reorganization Meeting that will formalize a consensus six year plan.

I’m writing a proposal for such a committee to discuss and improve. I’ll soon post it on DaytonOS and hopefully this will inspire some online discussion and debate.

In my view, the party needs a big reorientation of purpose.  In many ways the MCDP is stuck in the same thinking and organizational structures as at the time of the last total eclipse in Dayton in 1918.

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 Facts:

  • At present Montgomery County has about 58,000 voters who are designated as Democrats by the Board of Elections. This is 16% of registered voters. About 89,000 voters are designated Republican, about 24%. This means that 60% of registered voters never vote in Democratic or Republican Primaries. This non-involvement goes along with polls that show that 40% of voters now claim to be Independent or Nonpartisan.
  • In 2014, the newly elected MCDP Central Committee had only 132 members.  This is about 1/4 of one percent of Montgomery County’s registered Democrats.

 

Conclusions:

  • A vitalized MCDP must productively engage many more Democrats than are now engaged. In my view, rather than MCDP being an elite representative body, we need to structure MCDP to be a warm and inviting community where every participant has a voice and a vote.  Here is a mind experiment of sorts: Suppose in 2024 that 10% of registered Montgomery County Democrats — 5800 people — are active in the party. Suppose on average each person gives at least 20 hours per year in action. What is the motivation? What is the activity?
  • A vitalized MCDP must establish itself as a brand that appeals to Independents / Nonpartisans. In my view, our opportunity to appeal to Nonpartisans is by structuring MCDP as a connected and inviting deliberative democracy that is focused on preparing and advancing candidates dedicated to acting as public servants. Nonpartisans often say that they choose the person, not the party. It should be part of our brand that we are committed to processes where the cream can rise to the top and that the candidates chosen by our party came about through an admirable process.  We need to find venues to build relationships with nonpartisans. We need to build nonpartisan communities centered on civics education.

We need to build a local Democratic Party that is structured as a 21st century grassroots organization. Such an organization would effectively use technology to advance its mission. Its organizational structure would be flat rather than pyramidal. It would generously empower its members with leadership opportunities. It would re-frame its purpose and mission so that inspires and thrills the youth.

In my view, the party must put its confidence in this premise: When democracy wins, Democrats win.  We need to focus on democracy winning. Our purpose as a party should be defined as electing individuals to public office who are of the people and for the people.  As a party we need to walk the walk and structure ourself as an inviting deliberative democracy — the party of the people, the party that empowers the people, the party that works to build harmony and community.

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