Bringing ‘small d’ democracy to the ‘big D’ Democratic Party

What does real change look like?

I have a vision of a bold Democratic identity that focuses on our shared values. That sends the message to voters statewide that we are a welcoming, inclusive party, whether you’re a grassroots activist or a member of an underrepresented community. And that is committed to serving and representing the people who comprise it—a true “party of the people.”

So how do we achieve this vision? We do this by being honest with ourselves about how our current practices keep certain groups and individuals from participating, and we hold ourselves accountable for making positive changes. When we don’t share information across the party, when we discourage innovation, and when we consolidate power at the top, we exclude people who are an important part of our success. We need a new strategy for the future, and that strategy revolves around communication: disseminating information throughout our party, increasing our transparency, and empowering our membership at every level.

We need a solid communications platform to broadcast our values-based message and to restore trust among our members. We can’t let Democratic and progressive values be unconscious and unspoken any longer. Our values are what make us Democrats, and they will help us transform into a party that is representative of all of our members. No matter what our differences may be, our underlying values are a powerful unifying force, and we must share our message far and wide.

Communication also goes beyond just “branding” or messaging. We know knowledge is power, and we need to train our members to take on the important activist roles that help us engage with voters and win elections. We can’t continue to believe that our power lies only in the people at the top when our grassroots organizers are so vital to our success. We need to share the knowledge and resources we have across the party so we all feel like we’re a part of the bigger picture and so we can harness our collective energy to win.

Finally, we must be transparent. This means keeping our membership up to speed on what our party is doing and how our leaders spend both time and money. It also means following our own bylaws, so we know we’re all playing by the same set of rules. We can start by disclosing finances to State Central Committee members and listing everyone’s bylaws online. Additionally, to ensure we can all participate, we must believe in and support every Democrat’s right to run for office. No putting our foot on the scale during the primary.

We have to bring ‘small d’ democracy to the ‘big D’ Democratic Party. The definition of democracy is rule by the people. We must make the Democratic Party a party of the people, a truly grassroots organization of political activists. We must remain a party that has space for everyone.

United we are Democrats, but this only happens when we actively build bridges in our Party. Not acting is an action. I won’t be afraid to face issues head on, and I’m not afraid of change either - especially when it means making our party work better for each of us.

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