A party without a message

What does the North Carolina Democratic Party stand for?

After being in power for a hundred years, the last two have felt like a whirlwind. Republicans are moving (backwards) on a number of different fronts and they are doing it quickly. After a hundred years of sitting on the bench they knew exactly what they wanted; Amendment One, Women’s Right To Know, Fracking, dismantle public education, etc. Even if what they stand for is hate, sexism and shortsightedness, they at least stand FOR something.

On the other hand, for the last two years Democrats have been pushed against a wall. All we can do is try to slow down the attacks to public education, women’s rights, the environment, ec. The biggest thing in the Governor’s budget? A temporary extension of a sales (read: regressive) tax hike...not exactly New Deal stuff.

What should I tell a voter who is undecided? If you vote for NC Dems, you’ll get school funding equal to 2010. We need to craft a real vision for the future of public education, how we can get better outcomes for our children. How we can train a workforce that can compete globally, with the skills required for the 21st century.

When we talk about taxes, let’s be bold and talk about real reform that will create a more fair state and allow us to invest in the things that help businesses grow. Let’s have a conversation about infrastructure and how we’re going to move people and goods in North Carolina, in a sustainable way, as our population continues to grow.

This isn’t just a problem for the state party, but it’s particularly acute here. Being in power for 100 years made us fat and lazy and we forgot how to govern properly. We use to understand how to persuade independents and inspire our base, but now we’re just observers in the King’s court.

It is more clear than ever that elections have consequences. We know that less investment doesn't lead to growth, it causes stagnation. We know that less regulation doesn't free up capital, it makes our whole society more risky and dangerous. We know that bigotry and sexism should never be enshrined in law. And we know that nothing ever trickles down, our society just becomes increasingly unequal.

We know what works and what doesn't, but being right isn't enough if we can't persuade and inspire. If we don't put forth a vision, a road map to get our state prosperous again, then we'll be relegated to 100 years of being the minority party.

This is why it's important to support young candidates with a fresh vision for NC. People who haven't been stuck in a broken system for decades and aren't afraid to offer bold ideas. It's becoming increasingly clear that the status quo isn't good enough anymore.

How to help

I'll save the platitudes about 'getting involved' and 'voting' for another, less experienced audience. Obviously for our democracy to be successful we need everyone to be a stakeholder.

Moving beyond that, there is a group of young progressives in NC working to bring about a new generation of progressive leadership in NC. You can check out their new website and there you can sign up for more information.

This weekend is also YDNC Day with events happening all across NC. I strongly encourage any young dems out there (or young at heart) to check out the event happening in your area. You can see all the events happening this weekend and sign up to get involved here.

Finally the Grassroots Farm Team is dedicated to helping young candidates with often their biggest hurdle, fundraising. We want to lower the barrier for entry and make it a little easier for young candidates to run and win in NC. You can support our work by donating securely through ActBlue


Excellent post

As an old guy, I'm very clear that the future of democracy lies in the hands of your generation. As boomers get older ... and often take a reactionary turn ... the fate of progressive policy will depend on the more diverse and hopefully more tolerant electorate that is following in our footsteps.

As to the Democratic Party, the old guard clearly owns the muddled meltdown that has happened in North Carolina. Perdue has failed to articulate a vision of fairness for the future, just as she failed to veto disastrous environmental legislation. By choosing to acquiesce in the face of Republican hostility, she has blurred the line between public good and private gain, further strengthening the hand of developers, Realtor Ticks, and corporate interests.

Tax Fairness has to be near the top of any progressive agenda, along with marriage equality, abortion rights, and a ban on corporate spending in elections.

Maybe Democrats could stop

Maybe Democrats could stop nominating Dalton, Elaine Marshall, for example if they want to prove they have a new message.....running re-treads certainly isn't getting progressives ,for instance, to the polls in any sort of yank. And yes I think Elaine is a lovely person and a good solid Sec of State but certainly not Senate timber. As for Dalton, really, who cares....might as well have run a moderate Republican.

Mostly agree

I know many of us wished for better candidates to emerge from the chaos that followed Gov. Perdue's decision not to seek re-election. I'm not going to attack any particular elected, but I think in general that NC has a lack of tier 1 candidates and a serious need for the party to do a better job in recruitment. We have to get folks in the pipeline and maybe the party could look to Lillian's List, which is making real progress in terms of candidate recruitment and getting folks in the 'pipeline'

Lillian's List

Has done a magnificent job, better than usual. (Disclaimer: Jane, my spouse, joined their board this year.)

Heck, why couldn't Lillian's List itself become a political party! Women don't have an absolute corner on sanity and reason, but the odds definitely tilt in their favor.

All that said, I don't know what the NC Democratic Party has been up to in terms of methodical recruiting. The best that can be said is that "the proof of the pudding is in the tasting."

Tastes kind of bland to me, but then I don't like food in general.

A surprise

Sometimes it seems as though the filing deadline surprises folks every year

The party is not worth saving.

The federal party was long ago lost to reactionaries and their enablers.

After the past 3 years, the state party has finally finished the slow march to completely serve their reactionary federal party masters.

May something new and better rise from their ashes.


Howard Dean and Jerry Meek had the answer...

...but did not see the problem through to the solution.

We the rank and file Democrats need to take the Party BACK from the big money donors, the consultants, and - yes - even the electeds and the candidates.

When we take the Party back, we can win elections and get people into elected office who will work to turn our Party platform into public policy.

I have a feeling there will be a metaphoric "blood-letting" after this election. In fact I hope and pray for it.

I see it taking place right now. The refusal to accept the resignation of David Parker by the SEC members in the face of the push from the "electeds" (and their consultants) is a sign of things to come. We won't be told what's best for our Party by people who take money from big money donors who buy off both sides.

The folks who were responsible for the galactic fuck-up of 2010 both in our state and nation need to go - and if they won't go they need to be pushed out with enough force to get them out and keep them out. And then we the grassroots need to be vigilant and not let them push that "rock-star candidate on a pedestal" nonsense on us again!

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

If it was up to me, I'd say

If it was up to me, I'd say their basic platform should be boiled down to "Standing for the people, not corporations." And then they really should make the most rigorous efforts to finance their political campaigns through individual, citizen donations only. Sure, they'd lose more often than not for a few campaign cycles (which they're already doing anyway), but after a while, they'd make the indelible impression that corporate political financing is dirty money, and that anyone who takes one dime of corporate money, either directly or indirectly, is beholden to corporations instead of the people.

Democrats have tried to play the political financing game the way the Republicans do. It hasn't worked.

Reality Bites

What is the state of the play for progressives? At this point they are sort of like Independents, there to be used by those who want to use them. NC Democrats do not know what or where they are. The Republicans, declaring themselves by word and deed the "White Peoples Party" have distinctly defined the Democrats nationwide as the "Party of Color". We might not think that bad, but it is being sold sub rosa to the rest of the body politic! Our so called leaders did not see a Republican strategy of attacking broadly across the states to take governorships AND legislatures, despite Tom Fetzer telling us where they were going. It is insufficient for Democrats to define themselves by what they may or not be against. It is insufficient to rely on a term, "progressive" as the end all, do all, be all to rescue us.

It has been only a full generation since Democrats celebrated Jesse Helms, segregation, apartheid, suppression, judicial persecution and economic isolation of blacks. For a long time, people voting consistently for social and racial persecution registered Democrat and voted Republican, still got some of those. Only now the lines are really clear. Republicans are white and Democrats are mixed - and most of the white business people went with the Republicans. Also, note that about 60% of the Democrats are women. The business people who went with the Republicans were the problemsolvers, the funders, the movers and shakers in their own community. Note that McGrory took $175K from my county whilst Dalton got only $1700. That friends is the face of the fight. And no, this magical "progressivism" is not going to block that reality. Neither do I think that the "third way" of Blue Dogs is the answer. If you want a Republican, why settle for Republican "lite". And, the Democratic Party has not addressed the issue of "unaffiliated" and their strong growth over the past 20 years. What precisely is the policy and strategy for claiming their votes even if we do not get their registrations? Huh? I have asked this question directly to all of the Democratic Poo Bahs and gotten naught but puzzled looks and wave offs.

Go ahead and rattle on about progressives all you want, but you better deal with these stark realities with which I present you.

Also, when I try to have a dialogue with the PTB about the role of the omnipresent (24/7) media assault on Obama, Democrats and the "left" by corporations, the wealthy and others - I also get the "lost in limbo" look. The impact of Faux alone is staggering and the total may be $2 billion annually before campaigns are lit up and rolling. Now dear hearts, all that advertising and propaganda, all pro business and pro corporation, descends upon us all lightly like the dew permeating everything, rendering its victims unaware of its oppressive impact and neutralizing those of truly good will and intent. The message: Wake the hell up.

And, as for some "childrens' crusade" to save us, get real, again wake up. The "chilluns" are enthusiastic but do not have the money and the experience -- bright as they are.

Oh, and lets write a real platform, not some inane idiocy which claims us to be the party of 200 years of benign government and not driver of the slaveocracy, Jim Crow, peonage, racial and economic suppression etc. Give me a break.



What does the NC Democratic Party stand for?

It's easy - we stand for our Party Platform. Or we should. But those who ask the question "what do we stand for" should be asking "why aren't our ELECTED public leaders who are Democrats standing behind the Party Platform"?

I don't think that young candidates with a fresh vision for NC are going to be any better at getting behind the Party Platform than older candidates. I've seen younger candidates get sucked into the whole "campaign money game" just as fast or faster than older candidates.

So WHO decides what the Democratic Party stands for - the members of the Party or the candidates? The candidates (even the younger ones) will go were the money leads them, then they hire consultants who push all this "rock-star candidates on pedestals" nonsense that pull the wool over our eyes and get us to ignore the fact that it's the rank and file Democrats (and Republicans) who have the real power in this state.

Think I am dreaming? Go ahead and find me the part of the NCDP Plan of Organization where it says that the candidates get to decide who the Party officers are, or even decide what's in the Party Platform? Even for those candidates who are automatically elected as delegates to a convention or to their county or state Executive Committee, they don't have any more say than I have. At the DNC level, the President is not a member of the DNC - meaning he doesn't have a single vote on who the DNC Chair is, or what goes into the Party Platform.

Problem is, we have a bunch of sycophants who decide that we have to give the President, or the Governor what they want even though it's not what the rank and file want. Why do we stand for that?

We should start thinking of the Democratic Party like a union. Organize more precincts and then more people in each precinct. Flex our muscles, and then see what happens. When you can show people that you can get results, the money will flow in.

I get tired of being asked to contribute $3 or $5 here and there to the DCCC, DSCC, DLCC, etc. And for doing what? Or attend all these "Meet-Ups" and pay $20 to hear some candidate or congressman talk about stuff that most people should already know about it they pay attention. What good does it do to give the venue $20?

What do you think the state and county Democratic Parties could do with $20 a month - as long as the county parties weren't pissing it away by giving it to consultants who can't even promote the right contest?

We have 2769 precincts across NC. Based on SBOE figures, it would take 45 volunteers in each of our 2769 precincts to canvass 20 Dems and UNA voters in each precinct. If we even had had 10 people in each precinct giving $20 a month to the Part that they knew was working for them - that would be $6,645,600 per year for an operational budget. Along with Party officers who know they were elected to work for the rank and file and NOT for the electeds and the consultants - that would give us quite an edge.

Here in Wake County, we have 200 precincts. We had 145 precincts organized in 2008 with a decent organizational structure based on House Districts. If we really spent time organizing precincts from the grassroots up, and got the same 10 people to kick in $20 a month - we could raise $480,000. Do you have any idea what the Wake County Democratic Party could do with half a million a year?

We could stop with the nonsense of having to dial for dollars to beg rich people to write checks to sponsor and attend functions where they get to dress up and get their pictures taken with electeds or candidates. We could still do those things for fun - but then we wouldn't have to deal with the underside of that process: selling-out everyone else!

Even with Wake's somewhere around 120 precincts, if we tried to raise the same amount from the same number of people per month, we'd have $288K per year. But the problem is we'd actually have to listen to the rank and file and do what they want the candidates to do - which is to work hard every day to turn the Party Platform into public policy. No other excuses about what the lobbyists or non-profit advocates want them to do.

So I'd like to know what the Farm Team is doing to encourage younger voters or candidates to strengthen the NC Democratic Party as the sort-of "Union" of rank-and-file members that could take back our state from the Republicans AND the business interests that corrupted even the Democratic Party when we were in the majority? Because if you keep telling me to vote for people because they are young and have fresh ideas, I'm not buying it. I have my eyes wide open and I see the consultants corrupting the younger candidates just like they do with the older ones.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting