Wayne Goodwin: How NC Democrats can move forward and fight back

Make an ally of the middle class, while it still exists:

First, we must return to our roots as the party of middle-class opportunity. Growing up in rural Richmond County, I saw how far too many North Carolinians had been left behind, even as the state thrived economically. But I also saw how smart investments by the government – especially in our world-class schools and universities – could level the playing field and create economic opportunity and mobility, regardless of a person’s background or circumstances.

If I was writing this, the above would probably be my second step, with the first being: We must set aside our cynicism over politics, and work together as if those negative aspects are the exception to the rule and not the rule. That cynicism serves no purpose other than to divide us along narrow ideological confines, and the end result is always a scattered collection of small groups, actually competing with each other instead of pooling their resources. Just a quick test: If you read Wayne's first paragraph above and found more that you dislike than you like, it's probably because you were looking for things to dislike. Ergo, cynicism. Strengthening the middle-class is not just a political ploy, it's critical in maintaining our democracy, and our consumer-based economy. You want examples of what can happen when the middle-class fails, I can provide dozens, but I don't think that's something that needs a data-driven argument. Enough from me, here's more from Wayne:

Second, Democrats need to embrace the party’s diversity. For decades North Carolina has rightfully been seen as a progressive beacon in the South – open and welcoming to all who wanted to work hard and make a good life here for their families. But that image has been tarnished in recent years by misguided and discriminatory legislation from Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly.

The N.C. Democratic Party, and the state’s politics, should reflect the state’s rich diversity – not reject it. That’s why I was so proud when I was elected chair in February that it was alongside the most diverse party leadership in the party’s history. Democrats must continue to strive to embrace and represent the incredible diversity – in race, religion, class and sexual orientation – of the state. And we need to continue to fight back against hateful legislation, like House Bill 2, that discriminated against fellow residents.

Finally, Democrats need to compete for every vote. Too many North Carolinians, from rural towns to the biggest cities, have felt ignored or taken for granted by both parties. This is particularly true among the countless middle-class families who are being squeezed by higher costs and stagnant wages. This was evident last November when so many people either opted not to vote or cast a ballot for Donald Trump out of sheer frustration with the status quo.

As chair, I’m committed to reaching out to those voters, hearing their concerns and explaining how Democrats are fighting for them in Raleigh and in Washington. That’s why I’ve been traveling across the state in recent months, connecting with voters in towns big and small. And it’s why the N.C. Democratic Party is organizing in all 100 counties, with committed activists helping to revitalize grassroots efforts, even in traditionally Republican areas.

As you can see from his order of progression, Wayne put diversity ahead of reaching out to the rural vote. We can do both. We have to do both. And we can't afford to sacrifice the second thing to accomplish the third thing. It's part of what I was trying to say with my "do no harm" observations a few days ago, although I pulled a Steve and went off on a few tangents. We can do this, folks.

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Comments

Normally Wayne would probably pop in

for a few minutes and talk with us, but the Senior Dems are having their convention in Salisbury this weekend, and I saw where he was headed that way earlier this morning. Maybe later.

I'm here & thank you for the post!

Thank you for posting about my Op-Ed in the Raleigh News & Observer. Yes, I was attending & speaking for the NC Senior Democrats convention in Salisbury at the time of the posting and comments. Now that I'm online here with BlueNC I'm happy - as always - to take comments, suggestions, critiques, etc. etc. Later is also good, because I will keep checking in.

One more thing Wayne can do

Move as many functions as possible from "in person" to online. There are a whole bunch of us who cringe at the thought of meeting in person with a bunch of other people, no matter how admirable goal. 90% of what the party does in North Carolina could be easily done online. The world is changing Wayne, let's make sure the party is changing with it.

Thanks for the suggestion ...

We have been doing more and more online meetings & conference calls with Democratic activists, precincts and counties.

Recently I did a Skype session with Democrats in western NC (Caldwell & neighboring counties) about the Affordable Care Act and what was anticipated to take place as the GOP repeal efforts were in stop-go-stop-go mode, and the impact on consumers. We also took Q&A a good bit of the time.

I am encouraging Democratic county chairs, along with precinct chairs and perhaps Dem auxiliary organizations, to collaborate with Indivisible and other similarly-aligned groups to hold town hall meetings, both in-person and online.

James is right on another point: We must make sure the Party is in-tune with the technology of the times and go where The People are. (Meantime, I will go to the next comment about the Plan of Organization to reply further.)

Meetings, in-person or on-line?

James, moving meetings on-line would require a change in the Plan of Organization. Making a change to the Plan of Organization would require hours and hours of 'discussion,' all held according to Robert's Rules of Order. We would be asleep in our chairs. Whoever stayed awake longest would win.

The possibility of getting meetings streamed on-line might be more likely. That would allow many Dems who are not SEC members to hear what happens at meetings and is probably the plan most likely to result in lowering the membership numbers of the SEC!

I agree with Vicki on those various points

While I've tasked the Plan of Organization Review Committee to look at ways to streamline matters & improve our SEC meetings, I do agree that we should stream online as many parts of our meeting as we can.

Of course, I'm very pleased with the number of Dems who have been posting running commentaries on Facebook and Twitter during meetings, and doing Facebook Live posts when Dem meetings are happening, too.

Back to my Op-Ed

While the vast majority of folks have been very receptive and in amen mode with my Op-Ed, others asked why I didn't include one topic or another (like promoting an independent redistricting commission, which I heartily concur with, by the way; etc.) or go into further details about the plan for what we need to do. The answer is simply that the newspaper only allowed so many words for the column. If given unlimited space in the newspaper, there'd be a great deal more to write! :) Notwithstanding that impossible dream of unlimited print space, we do have both this wonderful medium of the Internet which provides practically unlimited space ... but we must counter that with the fact that a great many people will not digest everything posted ... It's vital that we provide memorable but brief action items founded upon our beliefs and principles and convictions, while also having available for those interested few the greater details. It's a balancing act. But enhanced messaging is key: It's presence is vital to our victory; it's absence is essential to our defeat.