This weekend, the Obama Campaign (Transition?) held a series of local meetings, hosted by volunteers. The intent was to keep the Obama team active, generate some local community service action before the inauguration, and to get the local teams to think about connecting with local elected officials.
I attended three of these meetings, one in Raleigh, one in Cary, and one in Fuquay Varina. Interestingly, they all focused on different parts of the agenda.
Some groups were very interested in hooking up with the local Democratic Party activities, and were almost party-building meetings. Others spent lots of time sorting out the logistics of their service event. Some were very non-partisan, avoiding any discussion of party and focusing simply on advancing Obama's agenda.
While running for local office as a Democrat, we had to keep clear lines between our Campaign and the Party. I understand the reluctance of some volunteers to embrace party activism as a follow-up to the campaign, even with the real desire to keep building on our successes.
Some Obama supporters will go on to tackle specific issues, maybe joining environmental, labor, or educational advocacy groups. Others may simply lose steam, and expect they can pick up again in 2012 for the re-election campaign.
I think that the onus is on the Democratic Party at the National, State and especially County levels to attract and ease the entry of those Obama volunteers who want to continue to change our country. I think they can even think of it as infiltrating the party and taking it over with their idea of change.
I am really looking forward to the activist base of the Democratic Party expanding with energetic Obama supporters and fresh, new ideas.