Transforming the Democratic Party
By Wade Lee Hudson
With sustained effort, Party activists can transform the Democratic Party into an activist organizaation dedicated to implementing the goals of its platform. The Party is already a multi-issue, inclusive, relatively democratic, national coalition. Building that kind of coalition is not easy. We need not try. We can transform this one. The Party’s structure includes bottom-up representation, and can be amended to make it even more democratic.
The Party, however, is geared to elections – supporting Democratic candidates and backing or opposing ballot measures. In between elections, the Party forgets about its platform.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) could regularly recommend to all Americans that they communicate a specific message to their Congresspersons, Senators, and President on a top-priority, timely issue. At the local level, the Party could engage in year-round precinct organizing, build face-to-face community among its members, and ask them to address the DNC’s monthly recommendation.
The more Democrats see that the Party means business, the more they will get involved in shaping its direction. And the more involvement there is, the higher the quality of the DNC’s recommendations.
A broad range of organizations that employ a wide variety of political strategies could supplement the DNC’s activities by participating in their own actions. There’s no need for everyone to use the same method all the time. But we could unite to advance a winnable reform, with each individual choosing his or her own method (such as writing a letter, visiting their Congressperson’s office, or engaging in civil disobedience).
Turning the Party into an activist organization that fights for its principles year-round will not be easy, but this urgent goal is achievable, especially if candidates who call for “movement” building support this project.