My Email To MCDP Central Committee Members Will Ask Support For Three Motions Planned For December 6 Meeting

From the “Autopsy”: “The depressed turnout that cost Hillary Clinton the 2016 election was due to both voter suppression efforts by Republicans and the Democratic Party’s own inability to mobilize its base. The party has made some progress on both counts in the past year. However, party leadership still does little to energize voters to turn out for candidates running credible campaigns for genuinely progressive policies.”

We mobilize our base, I believe, by walking the walk of being the party of the people. We energize the voters by acting as the party of the people. This must start at the grassroots and the Democratic Party county organization is as grassroots as it comes. I am working on an email to send to all of the members of the MCDP Central Committee. After a long introduction, it outlines three motions planned for the December 6 meeting and asks the members for support. I want to encourage these new members to envision how they can contribute to make the Central Committee an effective deliberative body. This is what my first draft looks like. Suggestions for improvement are welcomed.

This image is from October 2017, when a team of progressive researchers published “Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis,” which probed the causes of the disastrous 2016 election defeat. The report came in the wake of the party leadership’s failure to do its own autopsy. In a cover story for The Nation, William Greider wrote that the Autopsy is “an unemotional dissection of why the Democrats failed so miserably, and it warns that the party must change profoundly or else remain a loser.” La Opinión reporter María Peña summed up the findings this way: “To revitalize its base for future elections, the Democratic Party has to clean up the rubble of its defeat in 2016 and develop a strategy beyond condemning the actions of President Donald Trump.”

Greetings fellow Central Committee member,

After the 2016 election, many of us were overcome with the conviction that we personally must do something to make a difference. One year later as we headed to 2018, I realized I had not done much. In anticipation of the 2018 MCDP Reorganization meeting, I decided to to try to fill the 240 empty seats in the Central Committee with as many young Democrats as possible. I looked through the data file for registered Democrats ages 21-32 with good voting records who lived in those 240 precincts. I found 300 candidates and I spent a week writing and rewriting a letter to these young people urging that they seek election to the Central Committee to represent the Democrats in their precinct.

Christmastime last year, I stuffed 300 envelops and attached labels and a 50 cent stamp on each. I thought I’d have at least a 15% response — at least 45 young people — and imagined there would be many more. My wise brother-in-law told me to feel lucky if I got a 2% response and I explained to him why I thought a lot of young Democrats would be interested by this challenge and opportunity. As it turned out, I got 12 young people to contact me — a 4% response. Of those responses, seven are now members on the Central Committee. So, my vision of a transforming wave of young people didn’t happen but there are seven new young Democrats on the Committee. The time and the $200 I spent on the project was time and money well spent. In addition, I found nine additional Democrats to seek election for unfilled precincts in Kettering, Centerville, and Washington Township.

We’ve had a huge increase in the membership of the Central Committee. My effort is a small part. The big increase in Central Committee membership occurred after the Reorganization Meeting through the work of Tim and Alison Benford. They have worked tirelessly and have shepherded the appointment of over 85 new members to the Committee. I don’t have the latest numbers. I very much appreciate their efforts.

Because of this big increase in the membership of the Central Committee, we have a big opportunity to walk the walk here in Montgomery County and to make the MCDP the very model of what a party of the people looks like. The election of Trump demands a push back. Our best way to push back is by making the Democratic Party effective.  Our best way to push back is to do the work needed to be effective members of a body that represents all of the 40,000 Democrats in Montgomery County. How do we make this a stronger and better party? How do we move ahead? I think it is all about coming together as a community. It is our challenge and opportunity to make the MCDP Central Committee a deliberative and thoughtful — and effective — legislative body.

 

These are the motions that I will be making at the December 6 meeting. To go forward, I’m hoping fellow members will rise to second the motions and to speak in their support — and, if they wish, to suggest amendments and changes for improvements.

Motion #1

Mr. Chairman, For the Central Committee to be a connected and strong community, it would be helpful if each Central Committee member had a register showing the contact information of each fellow Central Committee member.

My motion is for the Executive Director to email to each Central Committee member a register of the names, addresses and telephone and email address of each member of the Central Committee, and, to those members not equipped with email, to send a paper copy this Central Committee list by regular mail.

Motion #2

Mr. Chairman, To be effective members of the Central Committee, members must have a good understanding of the MCDP budget and finances.

My motion is that the MCDP Treasurer prepare a thorough written report of the MCDP budget and finances and provide a digital or paper copy to each Central Committee member and that the Treasurer schedule a time to present this information to the Committee and to take questions from Committee members.

 

Motion #3

Mr. Chairman, The statistics are clear that Democratic turnout in strong Democratic precincts in Montgomery County in this 2018 election was a disaster. Mr. Chairman, how can we increase voter turnout in dominant Democratic precincts? This is such an important question, I believe it deserves an in-depth discussion within the Central Committee. I believe we should make preparations for a good group discussion in January.

My motion, Mr. Chairman — and I hope you will like and support this motion — that as a foundation for an informed discussion at the January meeting, that the Central Committee urge and encourage you, our chairman, prior to the January meeting to email each Central Committee member a copy of your responses to these questions:

  1. What was the strategy/plan in this election for Getting Out The Vote in strong Democratic precincts?
  2. What is your evaluation of this strategy/plan and what is your evaluation of how this strategy/plan was implemented?
  3. How much money did the MCDP spend on GOTV efforts? How was that money raised, and how was it spent?
  4. What is your evaluation as to the root causes of low voter turnout in strong Democratic precincts?
  5. In your judgement, what would a two-year effort look like that would address the root causes for low voter turnout in strong Democratic precincts?
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