How Do We Build Our Party?

The 2016 election taught us a painful lesson: we can’t keep relying on the same strategies to win. We can’t afford to just focus on blue areas or established Democrats anymore. Success in the future is going to depend on our ability to grow our party and attract voters in both red and blue districts. As a political organizer, I know that devoting our party’s attention and resources to our local caucuses, clubs, districts, and counties is just as important as supporting the candidates at the top of the ballot. Losing in 2020 is not an option, but if we’re serious about dominating the election, we have to get serious about building and rallying our whole party at every level and in every district.

As I’ve traveled throughout the State to attend 58 events in 22 counties in the past eight weeks, I’ve found groups of eager Democrats everywhere. They’ve been working hard to help us win, but they can’t do it alone, and we can’t have a one-size-fits-all strategy for our whole state. Those in blue areas want a message that shows they stand for, instead of just against, something. Those in red areas are having tough conversations with their neighbors and friends about what Democratic values look like in action. Suburban, urban, and rural voters have different needs and priorities that we must understand and address. We all could use more training and information sharing so we can truly collaborate and complement, not duplicate, our efforts. It’s the MDP’s job to help Democratic candidates statewide, and as chair, I have a plan to provide the support we need.

It’s no coincidence that Northville and the Western Wayne 11th had success in 2018. We have been doing good, old fashioned organizing—party building—for over 10 years in a predominantly red area. As President of the Northville Dems, I grew our membership to over 400 and raised $150,000 in the last five years. In 2018, I organized Western Wayne County, collaborated with local clubs to train 200 people and drop 30,000 door hangers, and ultimately flipped five seats from red to blue. I have a proven track record of finding common ground between our Democratic groups and of engaging voters through real organizing, and I know these strategies can be scaled to help our candidates throughout the state.

Let’s be clear—we can’t afford to gamble with 2020. We need proven strategies to put Democrats in every seat possible, and our organizers and activists know how to make it happen. We need to share our resources throughout the state and work hard to recruit new voters by focusing on our values, not just policy. We need a values-based message, greater transparency and accountability, and a commitment from our leaders to empower our members at every level. We can become a true “party of the people,” but first we must heal the fractures in our party and make space for everyone at the table. I’m asking you to support my candidacy for MDP Chair because #UnitedWeAreDemocrats – and united we can win.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

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