A while ago I made an offer to publish “new voices” on this here blog thingy. I recently got this in my inbox, and frankly I think it has merit.
I corrected a few items after a spirited exchange with the original author. I won’t say which parts, blame me for all of it or anonymous, or both of us.
Like I care.
If you are offended, I’m not sure I’ll be able to help you. I’m not even sure you should read the whole thing,in one siting. Maybe just take it in parts. There won’t be any formal Q & A.
Social Media is full of excellent and responsible ways to be politically involved, but it’s also the very worst accelerator of ludicrous and stupid opinions. Some of you new and special snowflakes are shockingly poor at navigating in our political and activist fever swamps.
When I hear/see you, a perfect stranger, begin a comment with ” The Democrats” I immediately think, how special – you think this is someone else’s job/role/responsibility to deal with and you are taking zero ownership of it. Fantastic Welcome, not really.
XXXXX is here to try and help nip your stupid privileged dumbassery in the bud. Oh, dear are you offended? Poor snowflake. I’m going to spell this out so I don’t have to type it again and again in a billion TwitterFaceInstaSnapGram comment threads or repeat it at the next 200 meetings. Those of us who’ve been politically active since BTI -“Before The Internet” expect you to be better informed than you currently are and we are judging you – endlessly.
Chances are, while you are yapping through your pie hole, I’ve tuned you out. Its 100% likely I’m silently working on a grocery list while you blather on. Yours truly has shit to do, and I don’t have enough time left on this planet to listen to hours and hours of you endlessly taking up space with your ‘ish.
I’mma just say this once. Stop with “The Democrats need to dooooooo something”. Please everyone stop. Stop it right now. You just sound ignorant af.
FACT: There is no one place or person called “The Democrats”. The “party” such as it is, is made up of millions and millions of people No group, entity or person speaks for all of them. Especially not the DNC Chair. I know, shocker!
Most of you can’t even name the current DNC Chair, what state they’re from, how they got the thankless and horrible unpaid volunteer gig, or literally anything about them. Ditto your State Party Chair, it’s ED, or the highest ranking Democratic official in your state. Hint, in Georgia it’s not the Mayor of Atlanta, think older and wiser.
The mind boggles over all the groups you’ve lumped into one miasma. Fun fact- most of us don’t claim many of these people either.
Take a seat, take several in fact for my entirely petty and prejudiced opinion of the 2017 Democratic organizational landscape.
The DNC, Democratic National Committee was founded in 1828 by genocidal President Andrew Jackson. As of this writing the Interim Acting Chair is Donna Brazille. New leadership elections are taking place in Atlanta the weekend of February 23-26, 2017, the public is welcome to attend. At present the only reason they exist is, to legally qualify people for President and Vice President, hold a Presidential nominating convention and act as the sponsor to state parties and territories. Yeah, that’s it. Anything else you want to foist on them, is likely to be carefully considered and promptly ignored. Oh and they need money, if you could spare $3.00 it would really help them out.
State Democratic Parties are 50 states plus 4 or 8 territories I forget. Each State Party/Territory has a charter, bylaws that have to be consistent with and approved by the DNC. The membership is volunteers elected and appointed from the county committees + elected officials + patronage.
Next I will use the Democratic Party of Georgia as my “State” party example, however each states rules vary widely, based on election code, charter and bylaws.
The Democratic Party of Georgia acts as the legal sponsor for the 120 active county parties. The DPG accepts qualifying documents from candidates running for state wide partisan offices, which are the US House of Representatives, US Senate, all the Constitutional Officers of the State, PSC, GA State Senate and GA State House. They must hold one meeting a year, fill vacancies in DNC membership, write a delegate selection plan, charter caucuses and hold a Gubernatorial nominating convention every 4 years. Anything they do beyond that is directly because of the support they receive from active volunteers around the state, or donors willing to fund paid positions. All members and the general public are welcome to engage with the caucuses, county parties and put themselves forward as leaders who will recruit volunteers and sometimes sponsor events. Paid positions are limited, 95% is volunteer. In Georgia, the DPG or any of it’s chartered entities can not endorse candidates. FULL STOP. However as individuals they may lend their name to a candidates effort as long as they don’t use their party title. Messy, confusing, poorly understood. Anyone who tells you or eludes to securing the “party endorsement” is lying or stupid or both.
- Affinity Caucuses: All volunteer lead. Georgia’s first caucuses were chartered in Fall 2010, Just 6 years ago. We fought for years to get just one chartered. Currently they are: LBGTQ, Senior, Latino, African American, Asian Pacific Islander, Disability, Veteran, Native American. All are welcome to engage with these communities and co-sponsor opportunities for everyone to be better educated on their issues. Caucuses can not endorse candidates
- Congressional District Organizations: Volunteer lead, usually just a Chair and Vice Chair, elected by State committee members from the county parties in their district. They are required to conduct District level Delegate Selection in Presidential years, and the rest of the time the CD Chairs wander the earth aimlessly looking for a reason to be relevant. Can not endorse candidates
- County Committees, also known as County Parties, all volunteer lead. Georgia’s largest county parties are, Fulton, Dekalb, Gwinnett & Cobb. County Committees qualify municipal & judicial candidates for partisan offices,and elect State Committee members. The County Party Chair can appoint a volunteer representative to the county election board. Sometimes they hold regular meetings, feature candidates but can not endorse candidates. Effectiveness varies widely.
- Georgia Association of Democratic County Chairs: this is an outdated clunky organization that once had a purpose and now needs to be shuttered
- State Democratic Elected Officials Caucuses: the re-elect campaign arm for the State House and Senate. They are supposed to “recruit” candidates, no really they are. Technically a part of the DPG, rarely acting like it. Needs money, always, just send them all the money so they can protect incumbents and fail at recognizing new talent. Not. Other states rules vary wildly.
Affinity Groups- National: Many will have active state, local organizations as well. All have some loose legal association with the DNC, largely around maintaining a active enough presence to qualify to attend the nominating convention every four years. Shorter: First cousins that you have to invite to the wedding. All need money, send the money!
- Young Democrats of America, who charter the Young Democrats of Georgia who charter the Young Democrats of Atlanta etc
- College Democrats of America, who charter the College Democrats of Georgia who charter the College Democrats of UGA, etc
- Federation of Democratic Women, who charter the Georgia Federation of Democratic Women, who charter the Forsyth County Democratic Women etc
- Progressive Democrats, yeah I got nothing for these folks
- Democrats Abroad, bless your hearts
- others I can’t remember right now
Organizations that represent specific elected entities, probably desperately calling you every day for money. Often includes a cross over with DNC Leadership, or Congressional Leadership or both. My interaction with these folks is bad, really really really bad. Sometimes they will fund advertising and staff to help with specific candidates and elections. They never listen to local activists, operatives, or organizations. They usually lose these elections in Georgia. Sad! Do not give them any money.
- DGA, Democratic Governors Association
- DSCC, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee -Federal Elections only
- DCCC, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee-Federal Elections only
- DLC, Democratic Legislative Committee
- ASDC, Association of State Democratic Party Chairs
State Coordinated Campaign Committees, often active only as a legal and fiscal clearing house. Usually a very complicated money laundering entity so “leadership” can “help” folks every two years. You might have known them as Georgia Victory 2014 and whatever it was last year that I can’t remember. Active only after the last primary or run-off is held. Because again Georgia party entities can’t endorse candidates. Sometimes they lease temporary office locations in targeted areas, funded by mixture of donations from numerous entities, including national Democratic organizations, local candidates and county parties. Might have one paid staffer but mostly volunteers.
Oh wait, hang on I’m not finished…
Then there are groups and organizations who have Democrats in the name, but are not under the umbrella of DNC or Elected or State Party organizations and are not required to follow anyone else’s rules or bylaws. One assumes they have their own bylaws, rules and membership requirements. Effectiveness directly proportional to volunteers in leadership, funding, community support and usually grounded in some very specific set of goals and objectives.These folks CAN endorse candidates, and do, and will again.
In Georgia they are:
- Georgia Stonewall Democrats
- Red Clay Democrats
- East Cobb Democratic Association, iffy
- No doubt other states have similar groups, like Gertrude Stein Democrats in DC for instance
Finally we reach the group I hate the most, the candidates or elected officials who might be Democrats but have seperate PACs, little transparency, clubby and narrow leadership with a aspirational name, usually only three letters with a sweeping agenda. Generally only engaging with their own supporters in a craven effort to remain connected to donors and volunteers. Usually will break your heart and dematerialize after the last election. but still spamming my inbox. See DFA, DFA.1, OFA, OFA.1, OFA.2. OFA.3
Plus 500,000 new groups on FaceBook or Meet-Up (not to be confused with a “Do-Up”)
- Right now you’re just a bunch of whiners who need to be “affirmed” and coddled-I will not do this
- Perhaps some of you are nice people willing to do what’s asked of you
- Jury is out on that
- Welcome to the hard concrete of politics, no one will be hugging it out over your hurt feelings or kissing your boo-boos
- Some of you do not belong in politics, and need to show yourselves out of the room
I hope some of you learned a little about the landscape, and perhaps you might want to reach out to any of these groups and see if they have something going on. Or you know, this is America, anyone can start their own group, because yeah, more groups and “aps” are totally going to fix the problem.
Well, thats all I wanted to say.
Have a nice day.
Kudzu Vine Podcast
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