The New MCDP Constitution Sets Forth Big Pro-Democracy Goals For The Democratic Party County Organization

Glad to see that the MCDP Constitution approved last year at the June MCDP Reorganization Meeting has, at last, been posted on the MCDP website. It’s great that Kurt Hatcher, the new MCDP Executive Director, is bringing the website up-to-date.

The signing of the United States Constitution at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787.

The new MCDP Constitution sets forth some big pro-democracy goals for the Democratic Party county organization:

  • The new preamble says that the MCDP should seek to be “a strong party organization that empowers representative democracy within our party and throughout the county.”
  • The new statement of purpose says: “The purpose of the Montgomery County Democratic Party is to represent and to serve Montgomery County Democrats. The MCDP advances this purpose by connecting Montgomery County Democrats within an extended MCDP community where every member has a voice, and by advancing candidates of the people who are dedicated to public service, and whose values align with the principles of the Democratic Party.”

Another big pro-democracy change included in the new constitution is the name of the MCDP organization. As indicated in the expired MCDP Constitution, the established name for the organization was “The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee.” The new name is “The Montgomery County Democratic Party.” This is a huge difference. The old name indicated that the MCDP was an exclusive group — the membership of the Central Committee. The new name is more inviting. The new constitution calls for the creation of a MCDP organization, with membership open to all Montgomery County Democrats. Members of the Central Committee would be participants and leaders in this larger group.

The new MCDP preamble / statement of purpose set the MCDP apart from Ohio’s other 87 Democratic party county organizations. The new MCDP Constitution establishes a mission and statement of purpose that, if followed, will result in the transformation of the MCDP organization. It provides a powerful foundation for building an exemplary 21st Century Democratic Party organization in this county.

I wrote the first draft of the preamble and statement of purpose. Members of the Constitution Committee, chaired by Mark Owens, made minor changes but pretty much accepted my wording. The newly elected Central Committee, at the June, 2018 Reorganization Meeting, without debate affirmed the recommendation of the Constitution Committee and the new preamble and statement of purpose were included in the finalized MCDP Constitution.

I started making posts on this website in 2007. It has been a useful journal, a record. The following are excerpts from previous posts that relate to the development of this preamble and statement of purpose:

Imagining A Transformed Montgomery County Democratic Party — It’s A Systems’ Problem, February 18th, 2014

The purpose that should animate the MCDP must be one that transcends simply winning elections. The purpose of MCDP that will inspire and motivate the action that is needed must be one that is more than simply acting as an advocacy group focused on marketing certain issues. We need to focus on something more fundamental. I believe we can find a source of motivation and civic action by focusing on democracy itself. The MCDP should see its transcending mission as promoting and empowering democracy. If we could actually fulfill such a mission — by educating the public, by facilitating opportunities for political participation, by creating community — then, of course, Democrats would win elections in droves.

Here is one suggestion for how the purpose / mission for the MCDP should be stated: To empower democracy to work in all aspects of Montgomery County.

To accomplish such a mission, the MCDP should encourage the growth of grass roots democratic structures throughout the county. Brainstorming what such structures might look like is the next step. For one thing, the MCDP, itself, should be structured as a democracy empowering organization. As I said in my DDN letter, “Democrats now are looking for a 21st century organization that is democratic and inclusive, and that welcomes them into a meaningful and connected community.” Not only Democrats would support such a transformed party, but such a party would have wide appeal to many who currently are disengaged from the whole political process.

Note To David Pepper: Go For the Big Win — Invite All Ohio Democrats To Become Voting Members Of The ODP, February 11th, 2015

The ODP is a political institution consisting of only 148 voting members. This small group stands apart from the Democratic base. In the 2014 May Democratic Primary, there were 1,307,000 Democrats who voted. These active Democrats are the ODP “Infrastructure” and success for the party depends a lot on whether this group is “energized.” Very few of these Democrats feel they have any voice within the Democratic Party. To energize this base we need to expand opportunity.  We need to reimagine the Ohio Democratic Party as an extended Roberts Rules online community of Democrats who commit to working together, to listening and communicating with each other, and to making positive impacts in their local communities. Even a participation of only 10% of those voting in the last Democratic Primary would bring 130,000 Democrats into community, but even a start of only 10,000 would be very energizing. I’d like to see changes in the ODP Constitution so that:

  • Any Ohio citizen that votes in two Democratic primaries is invited to become a voting member of the ODP and a full participant in the ODP website.
  • Every four years the state leadership, the state party chair, via an online convention, is elected directly by the entire expanded ODP membership.
  • An “Executive Committee,” chosen through election, determines many issues but for some key questions, the entire expanded ODP membership is invited vote.
Message to Tom Perez: The Democratic Party Is An Oligarchy — It Must Reorganize and Be “The Party of The People”, March 6th, 2017

Here is a daring thought: Suppose the Democratic Party becomes dedicated to actually being the party of the people. Right now, the notion that we are the party of the people is contradicted by the fact that the Democratic Party is still organized like the Republican Party — as a “political boss,” oligarchic system. In Ohio our party chairmen, David Pepper, was elected by a committee of 148 insiders — only 66 members of the group were directly elected in a Democratic Primary — regardless that 1.3 million Ohio Democrats regularly vote in Primaries. It’s pretty laughable that the Ohio Democratic Party wants to send every Ohio Democrat who donates money to the ODP a “membership card,” but this card gives the holder no vote, no say-so, in the party organization.

Rather than saying, “The DNC’s mission has to be to elect people up and down the ballot,” I’d like the leader of the party to emphasize that the DNC’s mission is to strengthen the structure of our democratic republic. I’d like to hear our leader say that political parties have a big role to play in empowering citizens so that their government is truly of the people, for the people and that the Democratic Party is changing its organization structure so that ordinary Democrats are in charge of the party — not the insiders, not the big-money people.

Oligarchy was once defended as the only practical method of making decisions because difficult transportation and slow methods of communication hindered the effective use of large groups. But now, Ohio could have a Democratic Party of thousands or hundreds of thousands of individuals all connected through the internet and this party could function as an on-line deliberative democracy.

Imagining A Twenty-First Century Democratic Party, October 23rd, 2017

To imagine a 21st century Democratic Party is to realize that the Democratic Party has a huge responsibility to produce the leaders of extraordinary character and wisdom that will help bring us to our best future.

We need a 21st Century Democratic Party built on this mission: To prepare and to elect leaders who are of the people and who demonstrate exceptional leadership skills and civic virtue.

Such leaders emerge from a bottom-up, grassroots process, rather than a top-down hierarchical process.
They are known by their connection and service to meaningful broad-based communities and by their capacity to deal with conflicting points of view to find an avenue for consensus.

I like the TV ads for “Buddy” the carpet salesman who declares, “We don’t want to make money, we just love to sell carpet.” The 21st Century Democratic Party we need is one that can say, “We just love to make the system of representative democracy work as it is suppose to work.” By focusing on making the system work as it should, Democrats will be elected in droves.

Montgomery County Democrats Should Debate Competing Visions Of The Future of The MCDP Organization, December 7th, 2017

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.

The MCDP Must Transform Its “Political Boss” Structure — To Engage / Empower Loyal Democrats, April 3rd, 2018

MCDP Reorganization must address the fact that regardless that the county has about 60,000 Democrats — maybe 3% of whom periodically work for Democratic campaigns — only a tiny percentage of county Democrats are engaged in the party organization (maybe one-half of one percent). Many loyal Democrats have never been inspired to be engaged in the MCDP. How can MCDP be reorganized to engage and empower loyal Democrats?

Looking honestly at the present MCDP structure is to recognize the traditional “political boss” organizational structure that emerged from the nineteenth century — yes, the nineteenth century. At one time this system was effective, but now it is not working and has not worked for some time. What made it effective at one time was the elaborate system of patronage that empowered local party leaders to reward party workers with all kinds of government jobs. At one time, some Democrats were eager to work for the party because they hoped to get a patronage job. The power of patronage that supported the political boss system has largely vanished, but the system remains.

The Big Hairy Audacious Goal that The Montgomery County Democratic Party Should Focus On: “We Choose To BE BEST” Jan 9, 2019

Request for Proposal: The Very Model Of a Modern MCDP

The MCDP, the controlling committee for the Democratic Party in Montgomery County, is in need of a five year plan for system transformation. The Montgomery County Democratic Party seeks a plan that will implement the ideals affirmed in our MCDP Constitution and will, over time, transform the MCDP into the Democratic county organization that is widely considered the best organized and most successful in the nation, one that other county organizations will want to emulate. The MCDP is seeking to become the very model of the best that a Twenty-first Century Democratic Party county organization can be.

The MCDP is accepting proposals in response to this RFP in order to find a qualified source to write a five year plan that shows a vision of a fully actualized MCDP and shows the steps and process for bringing that vision to reality.

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1 comment to The New MCDP Constitution Sets Forth Big Pro-Democracy Goals For The Democratic Party County Organization

  • Helen L Hronec

    I like everything I read so far, except for this one phrase: “We Choose To BE BEST” . While I agree with the meaning, it brings to mind Melania Trump’s slogan “Be Best” and sends a chill up my spine. I am sure I won’t be the only one who will react the same way.

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