Last night, some local Dems became upset when some other local Dems tried to elect a board that was slightly different from the old board. The "new" Dems' slate included four people who are already on the board, one person who was on the board last year, two people who are long time Dems and Dem canvassers, and one "new" Dem, articulate and experienced in environmental and social justice campaigns, who was elected to be a delegate at the national convention in July.
This slate was hardly a nudge from the status quo, but, while the old Dems say they understand the need to "reach out" to others, apparently what they mean is that they will seek new ways to market top down ideas to those who have dropped off the bandwagon, but they do not want to make changes in the leadership that has been driving people off the wagon in the first place. We'll reach out. You stay over there.
What if instead of having parties for every occasion, the party went to, listened to, learned from, and invited current non-party voters to join? If people are invested in a group - are important parts of the process whose experiences and ideas are respected and listened to, and who are welcomed to help plan and lead - then no amount of Koch brothers' money can turn them into against-their-interests voters.
What if people from the diverse communities of the county were invited to JOIN the party and help shape the programs, platforms, and agendas instead of just invited as speakers?
What if the party supported and facilitated community forums so people could voice their greatest concerns and suggest ways to equitably address them? And those plans could become part of the party's platform and part of candidates' priorities?
Last night's meeting seemed like a very minor attempt to slightly adjust the bent and focus of the local leadership to begin to address some of the issues identified at every level of the Dem party. (See Paul Soglin's analysis, for example).
If we must be hostages on a party bus (and apparently we must as anyone who runs as or votes for a "third party" candidate quickly learns), and if both are driving toward the cliff, isn't it imperative for the captive passengers to try influencing the speed and trajectory of the bus they're on?
Here is a very good article about including people (even seeming to include people) and the consequences of not.