Last week the Dog wrote a post about laying out the difficulties of starting a new political party to the Left of the Democratic Party. If you want to read it you can find it here. The challenges are extensive to say the least. Since the Dog thinks that is a bad idea he urged those who might be thinking of this path to stay and work within the Democratic Party. While not everyone agreed (we are all Liberals after all) there were a couple who pointed out while the Dog was showing a problem, he did not really offer the means to a solution. This is a fair observation and so the follow is some practical advice for those who want to take over the Democratic Party and move it more to the Left.
So you have decided to take over the Democratic Party? Great! Let’s start with a reality check. You are not going to take over the national Party in one fell swoop. Unless you have about 1 million fellow travelers who all are on the exactly the same page this is going to take some time and a lot of work. However, any attempt to influence the national policy of a nation of 305 million is going require both of those things, so don’t let that get you down, just focus on where you can be effective and grow you efforts.
Now, let’s be really clear, what you are about to embark on is to become a politician. You may not be facing the voters in general, but you are getting involved in an organization that operates on democratic principals. This means majority rules voting and in many cases hard core parliamentary tactics. You are going to have to be able to persuade and be ready to compromise from time to time to move your point of view forward. This is going to be true no matter what party you get involved with, new or old, so again, don’t let that deter you, just recognize it.
In order to have the fastest level of effect, you want to start actually outside the Party. You are going to try to get elected to the County or State level Executive Committee, to do this you will need supporters, especially if you are not well known in the Party now. What you need is a group of folks who have the same desire you do to change things and you need to be organized. On the internet it is easy to find folks who think like you do, but how do you find them in your neck of the woods? The Dog has a couple of ideas that might help you.
First off, don’t reinvent the wheel. Look for any group which labels itself as a Liberal or Progressive Caucus in your County Party. There may or may not be one, but if there is they are the folks you want to hook up with. If there is not one, well that is probably the first thing you need to do, found one. Still it does no good to found a Caucus of One, so you have to find like minded folks. Luckily there is a place where you can start!
Use the Social Media sites like Face Book and the DFA site to find the folks in your area. They are simple to use and they are a great place to get a feel for how many folks think the way you do in your area.
Drinking Liberally was founded to get like minded Liberals together in the days when it seemed like the entire country had gone all the way to the Right. Many large and not so large cities have more than one branch of this group. Go there, buy a drink and start chatting up the Liberals and Progressives about the changes you want to make. See if you can find folks who are ready to do some real work to change the Democratic Party. You are likely to find those who are already involved, but there are always some who are ready to be activated and become activists. Start getting them to coalesce around the idea of taking over the County Party. Yeah, that’s right, you are going have to start at the County level to get to the State level.
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