Sunday, December 18, 2016

Who Will Chair The Democratic National Committee?

Democrats will elect a new Democratic National Committee Chairperson in 2017. The choice is to triple down on strategies of the past 25 years, verses a bold new vision for the future, as advocated by DNC chair candidate Rep. Keith Ellison.

The centrist 3rd way vision of the Democratic National Committee's past leadership, encapsulated by the tenure of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-Fla.) as DNC chair, led to Republicans gaining control of 71 of the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers and 14 governors' offices from the time Pres Obama took office through the 2016 election.

Democrats lost another net 43 seats in legislatures across the country in 2016, after previously loosing 910 seats during Obama's administration. Democrats now hold majorities in only 29 state legislative chambers. Republicans gained 2 more states' governorships in 2016, after already gaining 12 over the last 8 years, increasing its total to 33, a record high last seen in 1922.

Democrats had also lost 69 US House seats and 13 US Senate seats and barely managed to stem further losses in 2016. And now Democrats face a more challenging election map in 2018 than they faced in 2016. All that after Democrats had a 58-seat majority in the Senate, 256 seats in the House, and held 28 governorships when Barack Obama took office in 2009.

Brent Budowsky, aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas):
"Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is right, and certain people close to the Obama White House and the Hillary Clinton campaign are wrong, about the future direction of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

The Sanders vision of the DNC is that it should be a popular-based center of organization and small-donor fundraising that supports Democrats at all levels of national and state politics and government, and promotes an agenda that offers a powerful alternative to the crony capitalism, insiderism, elitism and phony populism of President-elect Donald Trump.

A pure version of the Sanders vision is the new group he inspired, Our Revolution, an excellent organization that champions progressive causes and candidates.

The opposing vision of the DNC would continue the status quo of recent years, when it was far too focused on supporting the Obama White House and largely uninterested in supporting Democrats in Congress and at the state and local level.

The old-politics vision of the DNC was defined by the tenure of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-Fla.) as DNC chair, when it functioned largely as a service organization for Obama and Washington-based consultants.

The mistakes of the old politics vision of the DNC were starkly revealed by the DNC role organizing the 2016 primary debates, which were designed to minimize the national audience for the debates to give an advantage to the Clinton campaign and minimize the insurgent clout of the Sanders campaign.

The DNC debate practices in 2016 not only limited the audience for Sanders, which was unfair, but also hurt Clinton, who would have been far more attuned to the change desire of voters had she participated in more debates before larger audiences.

Not all Obama and Clinton insiders support the old-politics paradigm for the DNC, but many of them do and are working behind the scenes in opposition to the more progressive and grassroots vision of Sanders and other leading progressives such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

What is at stake in this debate is the core vision of the Democratic Party.

The best formula, in my opinion, is an updated version of the Kennedys. Jack, Bobby and Ted all combined an insurgent style of mobilizing grassroots workers and voters behind a progressive agenda that appealed to both minority voters and white ethnic and working-class voters.

They supported Democrats in the Senate and House, but also built networks of alliances with Democrats in state and local politics and leaders of progressive causes such as civil rights. They mobilized grassroots workers and small donors and larger donors who supported the cause.

Where Clinton fell short in 2016, to a large degree, was refusing to even try appeal to white blue-collar voters and never fully understanding the power of small donors and workers who believe in great causes and are mobilized through social media, as Sanders did brilliantly.

Where Clinton succeeded — and let's give her credit for this — is that she defeated Trump by a substantial margin of the popular vote.

But there are reasons that after the old-politics paradigm of the DNC throughout the Obama years the Democrats lost control of every branch of government, while in match-up polls throughout the campaign Sanders bested Trump by landslide margins!

Sanders is right to emphasize the huge and historic importance of small donors and grassroots workers. That should be a prime focus of the DNC, which should organize a huge grassroots fundraiser during the Trump inaugural.

Democrats must reject a DNC model that services a system of a Washington-based consultant industrial complex composed of individuals who often work for big banks and Big Pharma when they aren't working for Democrats, make far too much money even when they lose elections, and overemphasize large-scale television ads paid for by big donor fundraising.

Sanders is right to emphasize a powerful presence on social media to mobilize workers, raise oceans of good money from small donors and bring a powerful progressive message to voters across the nation.

Today I am focusing on the plan, not the candidates for DNC chair. I am friendly to the candidacy of Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and watching him closely, hoping he can succeed carrying a large message to a wide cross-section of voters. I am open to a candidacy of Tom Perez, currently the secretary of Labor, but watching to see if he, or other potential candidates, embrace a new politics grassroots vision for the DNC.

A revitalized DNC would rally all Democrats and Americans against the offensive and insulting presence of President-elect Trump, and the Bernie Sanders way is the best way."
Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.), who is running for chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), laid out his plan to transform the party to one based on progressive values and speaking to the needs of all working people:
"We have got to reset the future of the Democratic Party on a basis of grassroots activism," Ellison told a rally, held at the American Federation of Teachers headquarters in Washington, D.C. and livestreamed to a national audience. "On the basis of working people striving every day to make a better life for themselves. African-Americans, white Americans, Latino Americans, Asian Americans, Jews, and Muslims, and Christians, and Hindus, or people of no faith at all. Folks like you and me. Folks like us need to say the Democratic Party has to be democratic and that starts with getting leadership in there to fight for that."

"We don't need to decide between social justice and economic justice," he said. "We've got to have all of that. If we don't stand up for both, we won't have either one, because they'll use tribalism and manipulation to divide us... raising the minimum wage is winning as a ballot initiative, but Democrats aren't winning. They like our ideas, but they're not voting for our candidates."
The election for DNC chair will be held February 23–26, 2017.

FB live stream of the five candidates running for DNC Chair speaking at the Texas State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) meeting on Saturday, December 17, 2016
  • Minnesota 5th District Congressman Keith Ellison
  • South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison
  • New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley
  • U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez
  • Idaho Democratic Party Executive Director Sally Boynton Brown
Outgoing US Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid tore into the Democratic National Committee (DNC), calling it a "worthless" organization that doesn't do enough to help state parties.
"I believe one of the failures of Democratic Party has been the Democratic National Committee, the DNC, has been worthless," Reid told Nevada Public Radio in an interview published Wednesday.

"We need a full time DNC chair and what they should do — they can take my model if they want — it’s not rocket science. It doesn’t take a lot of brain power to figure out what needs to be done," Reid said.

Reid said he hopes the DNC picks a chair who is "full-time," unlike "that congresswoman from Florida," refusing to say the name of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Wasserman Schultz resigned her post in July after leaked emails showed Democratic party staffers planned ways to assist Hillary Clinton at Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I-Vt.) expense in the party's presidential primary.

"They should take a few states every election cycle, maybe three maybe four, and help them develop the infrastructure for good state party organization."
Texas Tribune: DNC chair hopefuls make pitches with an eye on Texas - Read

Texas Observer: In Austin, DNC Candidates Pledge to Rebuild the Democratic Party from the Grassroots - Read

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