The agenda for this evening’s MCDP Central Committee meeting is the approval of a new MCDP Constitution. The focus of this meeting will be a proposed MCDP Constitution developed by a Constitution Committee chaired by Brandon McClain.
This proposed Constitution calls for a radical change in the structure of the organization. It calls for the newly elected MCDP Central Committee to transfer the power and authority granted by Ohio law to the Central Committee to a greatly expanded MCDP Executive Committee. The elected members of the Central Committee will be members of the new Executive Committee. What is radical is that in addition to these elected members, the proposed Constitution allows for a huge number of Democrats to be appointed to the Executive Committee — up to a 75% increase!
This big increase is radical because it changes the character of the organization. In the traditional structure, when the party makes an endorsement it was by vote of a representative legislative body. The proposed change will mean that the group making endorsements can contain a huge number of appointed unelected members with no obligation of representing grass-roots Democrats.
I’m OK with a new structure merging the Central Committee to the Executive — except for the matter of endorsements. I believe the Central Committee should have one function — debating and voting on endorsements — and the Executive Committee can make other less important decisions. I think it is a big mistake to undermine the legitimacy of the endorsement process, because it is endorsements that the public is most keenly interested in.
Below is a copy of the document that I am distributing at the meeting this evening — asking support for the four motions that are outlined.
Dear Fellow Member of the MCDP Central Committee:
I appreciate the work of the Constitution Committee, however, I disagree with the radical change outlined in the proposed new MCDP Constitution.
The current 2018 Constitution — in ARTICLE V — empowers the Central Committee as the sole authority to endorse candidates.
ARTICLE V. ENDORSEMENT. (Current Constitution)
The Central Committee shall be the sole authority to endorse candidates for public office and issues which will appear on the ballot. Any candidate or issue brought before the Central Committee for endorsement must receive two-thirds (2/3) of the votes of those present and voting. The endorsement of the candidates and issues may follow the procedures outlined in the Bylaws of this Constitution.
The proposed Constitution makes a radical change by empowering the Executive Committee with the sole authority to endorse candidates.
ARTICLE VII. ENDORSEMENT (Proposed Constitution)
The Executive Committee shall be the sole authority to endorse candidates for public office and issues which will appear on the ballot.…
According to state law, the Central Committee is meant to be the “Controlling Committee” with each of its members representing the Democrats in the precinct in which the member lives.187 of us were elected in the May Primary to represent our precincts.
It is clearly the intent of state law that the “controlling committee” should be a group democratically chosen, representing the rank-and-file — not a group appointed as insiders, family members, and money contributors, etc. Our Democratic Party is facing a crisis of legitimacy. Our democracy is in deep trouble and most voters and many Democrats see the “Democratic Party” as an organization that is a big part of the problem — part of a rigged system controlled by money and “insiders.”
It is of key importance that the MCDP Constitution establish the rules and guardrails that will give us legitimacy and will build confidence in rank-and-file Democrats and in the general public.
The proposed Constitution creates an Executive Committee where 75% of its members are appointed and this proposed Constitution indicates no obligation of these appointees to represent rank-and-file Democrats. This means the Executive Committee voting on endorsements will consist of the 187 of us elected in the Democratic Primary, plus as many as 140, or more, new members who are appointed.
I appreciate the motive to meaningfully engage 140, or more, Democrats in the work of our organization. But we must guard our legitimacy — particularly concerning endorsements. Imagine the outrage if the Ohio Assembly proposed an Ohio Constitution that called for increasing the voting membership of the Assembly by 75%— by unelected appointees! I believe the expiring Constitution has it right — the Central Committee should have the sole authority to endorse candidates.Please consider the following motions.
Thank you. Mike Bock
- In the proposed Constitution, Section 2-4, add the words,“With the exception of the authority to make endorsements, the Central Committee shall confer upon the Executive Committee all power and authority …”
- In ARTICLE VI change every use of the term “Executive Committee” to the term, “Central Committee” to read, “The Central Committee shall be the sole authority to endorse candidates …, etc “
- In paragraph 13, 16, 20, 22 of the BY-Laws change the term “Executive Committee” to the term, “Central Committee”
Strike paragraph 15 in the proposed BY-LAWS and replace with:
Vote on endorsement by shall be by roll-call that records each member’s vote. This roll-call may be by ballot with the member’s signature. This record of vote will sent to every Executive Committee member and will be available to county Democrats upon request.
Strike paragraph two and three of the proposed BY-LAWS and replace with
“The MCDP will make no endorsements for candidates in a Democratic Primary until after the deadline for filing candidacy with the Board of Elections has passed and after the Board of Elections has certified who the Democratic candidates are.”
Add this to the BY-LAWS:
All Executive Committee members will receive notice of Selection Committee endorsement recommendations at least one week prior to the Central Committee meeting where these recommendations will be voted on. Along with this notice of endorsements, all Executive Committee members will also receive a copy of all written material supplied to the Selection Committee from candidates.