There are loose ends from 2017 to be worked on, such as three recounts, as of last Saturday, in Virginia House of Delegates races. But for most Democrats a laser-like focus must now be on 2018. If elections from school board, to town council, to mayor, governors, state houses and Congress are all on our radar we can win them.
The Democratic National Committee must complete getting its house in order. After seeing the results of the recent elections they can stop talking about Bernie Sanders and let him continue to do his thing outside the party. When he agrees with Democrats he will be supportive but no coddling of him will ensure that. The Virginia governor’s election demonstrated that.
The important thing now is to build the infrastructure and data analysis operation Democratic candidates across the nation can benefit from. Turning the DNC into an organization Democratic candidates in general elections can benefit from every year instead of just gearing up for a presidential campaign every four years.
While there is general agreement the DNC isn’t yet where we all want it, continuing to tear it down won’t get it there. What will is the work being done to form partnerships with other organizations of the kind Jess O’Connell, DNC CEO, reported in a recent press release. “Unprecedented partnerships between the DNC and our sister committees of the DGA, DAGA and DLCC.” Partnerships with “33 progressive groups working in Virginia to get Democrats elected. These partners included: BlackPAC, PFAW, Everytown, CASA, Sierra Club, Giffords PAC, For Our Future, Military Families Mobilize, LiUNA, LCV, Mobilize America, VEA, Let America Vote, IAFF, NARAL, NEA, New Virginia Majority, IBEW, NextGen, AFT, Planned Parenthood, Carpenters, SEIU, CWA, VA AFL-CIO, Painters, Working America, UA, Working Families, UAW, UFCW, AFSCME and Progress VA.” Replicating these partnerships around the nation will win elections for Democrats. One can’t help but notice Sanders’s organization ‘Our Revolution’ isn’t on the list. My thought is where they want to join with Democrats they will but we need to stop focusing or worrying about them.
There are independent groups working to elect Democrats who are totally supportive of the DNC. One is the PAC formed by Hillary Clinton and Howard Dean, ‘Onward Together.’ Another is the new ‘Party Majority’ PAC, a hybrid PAC whose formation was recently announced by Adam Parkhomenko and co-founder Mike Lux. Adam was co-founder of Ready for Hillary and one of the most loyal and hardworking Democrats I ever met. He truly cares about the principles of economic and political equality, justice, fairness and decency that underlie the Democratic Party.
As reported by Jonathan Allen, “Party Majority would act as a parallel structure to Democratic Party committees at the national and state levels while coordinating with them. Its creation comes at a time when party committees are struggling to maintain their relevance as donors increasingly push money to political organizations that can raise and spend money with less regulation.” Lux said, “Democrats are motivated to fight the Trump agenda, but without fully funded organizing operations, we won’t maximize our opportunities next year and every year thereafter. Party Majority PAC will fill in holes to make sure activists on the ground have the resources they need to be successful.” Adam added the problem he sees the new PAC addressing is “Every four years, a presidential campaign builds infrastructure across the country only to see it wither by the next set of elections or as new crews take over leadership roles at party committees.” He wants to see that change.
Both Lux and Parkhomenko understand the need for data but say “Ultimately, Party Majority is designed to address what its founders see as deficiencies in the way Democrats run campaigns right now. Too much emphasis on data analytics, television advertising and raising money for specific candidates and not enough on building the networks of personal relationships that activate voters and keep them engaged from election to election.” Their goal is for Democrats across the nation to have the grassroots resources that helped to win in Virginia last week.
We know Democrats win when people vote. We know women, LGBTQ+, and minority candidates who take the chance to run can win. We know that will happen again if Democrats focus on delivering a positive message because decent Americans will vote to reject the Tea Party and the alt-right represented by the Trump administration and today’s Republican Party.
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.