More On the DCCC, DNC and the Future of the Democratic Party
Since the post on Sunday about the national Democratic Party, the DCCC, and Congressman Ben Ray Lujan’s cultivation of corporate contributions, I have received almost universally positive responses with all but two of the 50+ emails affirming that the post resonated with their own concerns about the direction of the Party. But the thought occurred to me: what next? Ok, the DNC and the DCCC are still raising money from the corporate sector. That likely surprised no one. But what do we do?
I bring encouraging and discouraging news. First the encouraging news. From a DPNM leader, I was given information about how Rep. Lujan has been working to shift the way the DCCC operates. Under Rep. Lujan’s direction, the national Democratic Party and the DCCC, has been working to cultivate more grassroots small donor funding, to train a grassroots local activists and initiate ongoing local outreach and education, and to begin identifying and grooming new leaders who could run for local, state and national office. This is not throwing Wall St out of his office, but it is a very good thing. Click here for a Washington Post report. In part, due to this shift in focus, the DCCC generated a significant increase in donations under $200 with the DCCC claiming: “268,000 gifts of $200 or less received in January and February — a major increase not only over the same period in the last non-election year (125,000 in 2015), but also over the 2016 election-year numbers (146,000).” And from the National Journal: “The DCCC touted its online fundraising, which vastly outpaced its GOP counterpart. House Democrats raised a record $13.6 million online in the first quarter, compared to the NRCC’s $1.7 million online during that same time.” According to a third source, Chairman Lujan and the DCCC have made it a top priority to improve how the committee works, reaching out to grass root supporters for their ideas–changing how the committee has raised resources from the previous election cycles. All of this is a welcome shift in the DCCC efforts.
- Come to City Hall tomorrow night at 7pm. Ranked Choice Voting will not change the face of NM. But it is an important step toward demonstrating that progressive Santa Feans mean business, that we will do more than get angry and frustrated and that we will work with our local government to advance progressive change. It starts here at home. If we have 10-15 of the usual suspects at the meeting on Wednesday, that will say something, but if we pack the room, the message will be much, much stronger. So I challenge you. Reach out to 3-4 friends, tell them about RCV and take 90 minutes out of your lives to come to City Hall, testify in support of RCV or just show your support for others who testify. But be there. We don’t change things from our living room. And Wednesday is an opportunity to make a statement. Trust that if there are 200 of us there tomorrow night, Rep. Lujan will know. Click here for more information on RCV and contact information for your City Councilors. Let them hear from you today and let them see you tomorrow night. Maria Perez of FairVoteNM has done a tremendous job lining up speakers to advance RCV, now we need to have her back. Wear your Retake button and we will have some on hand for those who don’t have one. Show the Council we care about this issue and be there to celebrate an important win.
- Share this post with your friends. Some of you routinely send out emails to a few dozen folks you know, others of you could. Share this post, tell those to whom you write that you are going to City Hall tomorrow and ask them to come with you. Again, we don’t have many opportunities to show our strength. Let’s do this. Send an email and include the link to this post.
- Monthly Retake Town Hall. Sat. Aug. 19, 3-5pm, 1420 Cerrillos. Center for Progress & Justice. From now on you can calendar the third Saturday of every month, 3-5pm at 1420 Cerrillos. Retake will be there to continue the conversation, to plan actions, to present speakers, to build an activist community. Details on the 19th coming.
- Identify an Action Team that Feels Right for You. It has taken us some time to build the infrastructure to sustain our work, but we currently have the following ongoing opportunities for involvement and please do RSVP as this makes it MUCH easier for us to plan for each meeting.
- Community Conversations Canvassing Begins Sunday, 4pm, 1420 Cerrillos. Community Conversations Canvassing is different. It is not trying to persuade anyone about anything. It is about listening to your neighbors concerns and talking. We have researched a number of approaches to canvassing and landed on this. We have piloted it with three teams of canvassers and each reports having remarkable, deep conversations, nothing like the robotic campaign canvassing where you ask two questions, click two boxes and move on. And you start with your own block, getting to know neighbors you have never really met or may barely know. You will be provided an easy-to-follow script, guidance as to how to do this well and a canvassing partner if you do not have one. After a brief orientation, you will be off meeting your neighbors. If we are going to build a base, this is one important way to start. There is a long-range plan to use this work to focus a growing base on a list of policy priorities we develop together and use those priorities to hold our local elected officials accountable. Again, building a base; growing our strength. Canvassing launches will be held every Wednesday and Sunday at 4pm and once oriented, you can canvass on your own schedule. Click here to RSVP on Facebook or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Activist Research Team. Aug 3 and Aug 17, 6-8pm, 1420 Cerrillos. We are using the Chainbreaker Collective’s ten-point People’s Platform as a point of departure. Participants have divvied up the platform policies and we are researching how other communities have successfully implemented effective models related to the goals in the platform. If we are going to lobby with our local elected officials, we have to come with solutions, not complaints. This team is identifying the solutions and writing up one-page summaries to share with you and our elected officials. Join us. Click here to RSVP on Facebook or email us at email@example.com. Click here for more on Chainbreaker, Equity Summer, and the People’s Platform.
- Statewide Roundhouse Activist Team. Aug. 7, 6-8pm. DeVargas Community Center. Details on the precise location in the mall in next post. Future meetings will be on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month at 1420 Cerrillos. The team is starting by interviewing progressive lobbyists to find out more about what happens behind the scenes, how do bills move or stall and who are the key players. If we want to advocate effectively, we need to understand this. From these conversations we will identify the key GOP and Democratic legislators who are impediments to passing progressive legislation and we will reach out to activists and progressive Democrats in those districts and ask them to seek conversation with those legislators. We will work to build power in those communities, as we are in Santa Fe and we will use that power to encourage more responsive work on the part of elected officials or we will consider identifying more progressive candidates for the 2018 primary. From those conversations with lobbyists we will also identify the highest priority bills in their focus area and from this we will work with activists in other regions of the state to create a specific set of legislative priorities. We will work with DPNM to incorporate these priorities in its platform and we will work with our Democratic leadership in the Roundhouse to find a way to make these bills the focal point for a legislative agenda in 2019. Click here to RSVP on Facebook or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Retake has some other developing strategies related to food security, community gardens, and working in partnership with the City to improve our parks. But for now, the above represent some very important opportunities to translate your frustration, anger and fears into action. Let’s build our base, let’s develop power and let’s do it together. Starting tomorrow night at City Hall.
That is the good news. But the discouraging news is that one of the two critical comments I got about Sunday’s post came from someone very important in DPNM. I don’t want to name names, but it was very disheartening to hear his response be that the post Sunday was based upon fake news and lacked any credibility. This is the same kind of knee-jerk, defensive, circle-the-wagons, you are either with us or against us mentality that has undermined any kind of thoughtful reflection within the Party. I have been told that this person has sent emails to others asserting that the post was based on unreliable sources. And since it appears that the mainstream DPNM response to Sunday’s post is that the report was false and based on fake news or sources that were not viewed as credible, I would point out that the thrust of the report is contained in the bullets below; that they were all derived from highly credible news sources and they are unambiguously true.
- Quote from Pelosi indicating that the Party did not need to shift course after the Nov catastrophe;
- Quote from Pelosi that Party leadership did not see Single Payer as part of the 2018 campaign as it didn’t have support from the base;
- The lack of DCCC support for progressive candidates in Kansas and Montana;
- The strong DCCC support for a centrist candidate in Georgia; and and most importantly
- The unassailable truth of the Democratic Party’s loss of the House, the Senate, dozens of state legislatures and now the White House….suggesting that some kind of new direction is essential—despite Pelosi’s inability to see this.