Howard Dean became Chairman of the Democratic National Committee last year and started with an audacious idea. Rebuild the party infrastructure. Although many could see that this as important, there were plenty who thought it was getting too much priority. I disagreed then and I still do. Today, anyone who is on the e-mail list has received a request to help fund the plan. The goal is to get 5000 on line donors. From the time I first opened my email to just a moment ago, the tally had gone from 1568 donors to 1674. One very small donation was mine. In that time I also emailed the usual group of family and friends about the drive.
6/15 12:25 UPDATE, Approximately 24 hours into this campaign, the number of donors has reached 4824.
A new goal of 7500 has been set. The total amount donated will be announced at the end of the drive.
This is what I believe is the essential strength of the strategy as Dean explains it:
It boils down to this: participation politics. We’re building an entirely new kind of political party — one where every single person matters as much as the next, where each one of us has the power to take our future into our own hands. It’s a new way of operating, but we know it will work because we believe in the extraordinary potential of millions of Americans united in common cause to make our country better.
We have seen so much rapid progress in so many places (sweeping four special elections in Mississippi, flipping three state legislature seats in New Hampshire that had been Republican-held for nearly 100 years) that it’s easy to forget that the 50-state strategy is a controversial plan.
…our 50-state strategy has already laid a nationwide foundation for victory this year, in 2008 and beyond. Unprecedented organizing at the local level has already fielded more candidates for office and more competitive races up and down the ballot than anyone could have imagined.
I especially like this story from the comments on line:
The Indiana Republican party has hired a communications director after being pummeled by a “near-daily barrage of online attacks” from Indiana Democratic Party spokesperson Jennifer Wagner.
Gov. Mitch Daniels and other state Republicans have taken a beating in recent months from the Indiana Democratic Party — particularly from party spokeswoman Jennifer Wagner.
That’s your Democracy Bonds in action, folks. In addition to the much talked about field organizers, the DNC’s 50-State Strategy has also provided funding for communication and research directors, depending on the needs of the state Party, in order to build a strong on-the-ground operation across the nation.
The GOP doesn’t shut down their local offices between election campaigns. They set them up and funded them decades ago to stay up and running – giving them a big advantage over the Dems who had to rebuild and restaff every 2 years. One of the perceptions I had a few weeks ago, is applying the physics principle of “an equal an opposite reaction “ to the GOP efforts of the last 3 decades to get their candidates into every elected position possible. They’ve done a lot of work, counteracting it is going to take a lot. The difference in this organization and the one I joined in ’88 is night and day. If we had had the day one before ’88, we wouldn’t be on this slippery slope.
Obviously, a lot of this has to do with the perceived ‘mood’ of the country. That will only take us so far. Local and state offices with trained staff can make a big difference to candidates – especially those who are new to the process. It also helps new Democratic clubs like the one my 81 year old mother has helped get started in her large retirement complex.The local party office has helped them get some excellent speakers, as well as important candidates, to the group’s meetings.
This goes down to people who are running for school board positions- so we can stop fighting over adding Intelligent Design to public school curriculums. Or putting more into sex education classes than ‘just say no’. Into putting some essential fatty acids into the public education budgets that will foster the creative growth they desperately need, in place of training our kids to be test takers. Or, as Gov. Tom Vilsack (IA) puts it: real education instead of an unfunded slogan.
The potential goes all the way up the ladder to gubernatorial and congressional races. Perhaps THE MOST IMPORTANT are the local and state election comissioners. The mood of the country may help us succeed at somewhat less than the equal amount.
Meanwhile, this administration goes on without Congressional oversight. Today, the press has been kicked out of Guantanamo.
As of posting time, the donor tally is now 2190, 2217…. Join us.
I don’t think they will stop taking contributions just because they get to 5000. 😉