HOW DO WE REBUILD?
The problems we as a party face are many and daunting: Superdelegates need to be removed, communication from bottom to top and top down needs to improve, we need a more centralized organization, etc. But, these things are not insurmountable. The first problem we face is the feeling of elitism that has become prevalent and synonymous with "Democrat" and "Liberal". We are no longer the "party of the People," if people don't feel like they are included! Re engaging with the People is the first thing we must address and redress.
My goal as DNC chair would be to not simply "take suggestions" from folks up and down the political spectrum, but to actually listen to them and incorporate their ideas. It's the stratification of those ideas that can sometimes be overwhelming for some who wish to be inclusive. Rest assured, all ideas will be heard, all will be considered. Those ideas which represent the best and brightest WILL be implemented!
How would such a task be accomplished and what would the criteria be? The good news is I am in the very unique position of bringing forth a fresh perspective! I am firmly entrenched in the popular ideals of the people! With this down to earth approach I will be capable of standing with the People as I have voiced some of the same concerns and levied some of the same opinions as my constituents.
The problem isn't that there aren't viable alternatives, or that those alternatives aren't being taken seriously, it is that they are powerless and their voices are being drowned out by special interests and party elites! This is predominantly why Millennials, and "Berniecrats" felt so put out during the last election cycle and unfortunately they are correct to feel this way. You cannot have a robust and thriving political party if you shrug off the next generation of leaders. Being this dismissive is an impossible way to run the party and an ineffective way to further our ideals! Therefore, my efforts as DNC Chair will improve the recruitment and retention of young people and first time Democrats.
THIS SOUNDS GOOD ON PAPER, BUT HOW DOES IT WORK?
I can sit here at my desk and write all of the fancy verbiage and make all of these lofty promises but at the end of the day it's the results and actions that matter! As much as writing a plan seems silly and redundant, it is the simplest way to understand how such a massive undertaking would take place. Luckily, much of the groundwork has already been laid out!
I used the terms Millennials and Berniecrats earlier in this discussion largely for the sake of perspective, but also because these are very real demographics that we need to address, not just as a party, but as a society. Millennials are the generation of men and women between the ages of 18 and 35 who are entering the quagmire of adulthood and who will take up the reins of leadership sooner rather than later. Berniecrats are a specific branch of Democrats much of whom were drawn to the party due to the extreme popularity of Senator Bernie Sanders and his Democratic Socialit platform. Both Millennials and Bernicrats were very poorly handled and utterly brushed to the side during the entire presidential election. This strategy is no path towards victory because these demographics were the single most energized group of voters this country has seen in decades!
Our primary focus as a party moving forward will be to involve both demographics, and court this type of energy and enthusiasm across the spectrum up and down the ticket. Millennials have a lot to lose and a lot to gain in the upcoming election years so they should most definitely have a place at the table. Berniecrats span the generations, and have very strong beliefs that can bring the Democratic party left of center. Some of these core beliefs are Single Payer Health Care, free tuition at Public Colleges and Universities, and a livable minimum wage. Many people who support these ideas are energized but they are absolutely furious with the Democratic Party for their indifference. So, the question becomes how to soothe those tempers?
Simply put, we owe them, and the nation, a big apology. With that, we must show sincerity by involving them with the party going forward an implementing their agenda. It is my intention to encourage all Party Chairs, at all levels, to groom their replacements from the Millennial or Berniecrat mold because we need fresh eyes in the party and because Millennials haven't been given the credit they so richly deserve. The younger generation of this country has so much untapped potential. It would be utterly disastrous to turn the other cheek as we move forward.
This strategy doesn't mean we alienate long-time Democratic loyalists. It means that we take what has worked in the past and augment with the virtue of youth. Party loyalists need to act as a mentor and guide for the new blood. I firmly believe that these next 4 years can be 4 years of growth and success by instilling a sense of pride and duty in the new class of Democrats through guidance and mentorship. It is time we work together as a party for the greater good and put our values to the test. If we are truly to be the party of the people, then shouldn't our primary focus be to ensure that those that follow have the skills to lead?
The bottom line here is this: Party Loyalty will no longer be the sole measuring stick of who gets what position or who gets the support to run for office. Our premise will be very simply: People, Country, Party. Always.
People first politics second.