by Dave Mindeman
Democrats are out in force at these conventions. Record numbers in just about every category are rising to the surface. We actually have endorsement contests for House seats – which happens on rare occasions in the past, but this year is almost the norm.
How do we translate that into action? There are a number of ways and many of them are already happening.
- Navigating the system. My wife and an assembled team of tech and action savvy people, have been spending several months prior to the caucuses setting up educational vehicles to explain the mazes of the DFL and how to engage productively. This group also produced some explanatory videos which offer the same educational background. Many people have taken advantage of this – with a number of new people heading for Congressional and State conventions. Too often in the past, what people learned was just enough to help a particular candidate. They did not know enough to continue activity in the party beyond that. This has definitely changed. This aspect of educated action is being discussed as a state wide program.
- Outreach to activist groups. They are already out there. They are working well on their own. They have shared goals with the Party. But the DFL should reach out and connect with all of them whenever they can. Encourage their membership. Engage them to work within the party when possible. Merge our core goals. But also remember that these groups probably want to keep their autonomy and that remains important. Only open access to the party structure should be our responsibility. Make it easy. Make it optional.
- Manage the differences. In a group of strong willed individuals, there will be strong disagreements. The key to keeping that a positive rather than a negative is to allow direct and open communication. It is frustrating to watch people take their toys and go home because things did not go their way. The key to longevity is to keep moving forward. To keep up your advocacy. Find another avenue. Work it. Yes, things will get heated at times, but DO NOT LET IT LINGER. Once something has been decided, that should be the end of that encounter. If it comes up again later, so be it. You owe it to yourself, to your candidate, and to your cause to not just give up. Politics is not easy or pretty. Remember that.
- Stay the course. There has been this mistaken idea that the parties are the same. That no matter who wins, the same corporate influence wins out. But that is the case because we do not maintain the challenge to that type of authority. Corporations often win because they clear the field. Eliminate the challenges. Operate from a position of seemingly impossible strength. But since 2016 proved that party differences are real and that we are going to have join the fight in a much bigger way, the opportunity is there to build something. To forge a united front on a variety of issues – and to learn about and be active in electoral politics. We can’t just watch the tube and expect things to change. This is a call
for action. Real action on every political level. It does not end after you cast your ballot and does not just happen every 4 years. To make change, we need to change what we do.
It might be that the worst possible outcome in the 2016 election could be the catalyst that causes the real revolution everyone talks about. That from 2018 forward, the United States will find itself once again. That it will reject the politics of greed and embrace the politics of community. It will take every one of us doing what we do best.
Conventions and picking candidates is our task right now. After that, we take back the country.