Saturday, February 25, 2006
The source of the Democratic Party's slow erosion at the national level since the late 1970s onward began in neighborhoods and communities across America. Republicans were able to get elected at the local level, which in turn provided a farm team for state, and then national office, as well as fodder for think tanks, the right's media machine, and its overall political party infrastructure nationwide.
The route for the Democrats back to power is through local office. But we cannot just expect to get the increasingly dissolusioned base out to vote, as well as persuade independents to cross over by going about politics as usual, or even by railing at Republican ineptitude. We need our own ideas. Democrats and progressives are not devoid of ideas, as many right-wing talking heads will have you believe. There is a multitude of ideas out there, our problem is putting them all together in cohesive platforms and agendas, and then weaving them together with effective public relations strategies.
As I said in previous posts on DEC model structures, DECs should form their own Policy Committies, and later when resources become available, hire a Policy Director to manage it. Local problems should be worked out by these committees and hired staff which should form a county platform. The platform, for each plank, should include background information on the issue, possible (or lack of) attempts in the past to solve the issue, and a series of proposals to solve the problem. There should be talking points for each plank to be distributed to precinct captains and communications staffers/volunteers. Many are critical of forming platforms, as "no one reads them." Indeed, if county or state platforms are introduced to the public in the form of one press release (if at all), then yes, no one will read them or care. However, if these platforms give some substantial and credible proposals (unlike many state platforms, which are mostly a bunch of fancy, useless wording), and is backed up a vigorous PR campaign which includes articulation of proposals by candidates, party officials, precinct captains, and on the ground volunteers, people will listen and respond with their votes.
DECs should not wait for the state or national party to hand down the overall message, because in all honesty, the DNC is in charge of national message, and the FDP is in charge of state message. There are many important local issues that just simply will never be addressed by the state party, because they don't need to.
At the end of hte day, its up to the DECs to become local policymakers and innovators and provide candidates and citizens with the tools needed to improve their communities.
I've started up a blog, Florida Public Policy, to give progressives at all levels proper background information and possible solutions to local and state issues. I encourage all progressives to check it out!
Friday, February 24, 2006
The motto of Florida Public Policy is to analyze Republican public policy missteps and propose new solutions for Democrats to use at the local and state level in the state of Florida and possibly throughout the United States.
We Democrats and progressives are not devoid of ideas. We just lack the communication and cohesion needed to coalesce and distribute the billions of ideas coming from progressive think tanks, legislators, and citizen activists. I hope Florida Public Policy will become a clearinghouse for new ideas to solve Florida's many issues.
Ideas have in the past, and will in the future, propel the Democratic Party to the helm of the United States.
I encourage all of you here at FLA Politics to be on the lookout for new reports and ideas that pertain to Florida or the many issues affecting Florida, and report them on this blog as well as Florida Public Policy.
Here's the link:
I already have posted a new idea on how to better manage our growth - through higher density development versus low density development via a new report from the EPA. Check it out!
* Regular readers of this blog: This will dovetail with a new theme I will role out for Florida DECs in the coming days.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Large Sized DECs (150,000 or more Democrats registered in the county)
Click the image for a bigger picture.
As you can see, individual staffers are now put in charge of entire departments in large DECs. This is because as DECs grow and expand, and the need for more than one paid staffer to handle specific operations such as communications, fundraising, etc..., grows exponentially. You'll also see the addition of specific paid positions within departments.
Departments (Communications, Finance, Precincts, and Policy): As mentioned previously, departments are used to organize all paid staffers who deal with responsibilities normally given to one specific staffer in medium and small DECs. The directors (communications, finance & budget, precincts, and policy) are the heads of their respective departments and are responsible for coordinating their respective staffers to accomplish objectives.
Press Secretary/Spokesperson: Under the purview of the Communications Director and a staffer within the Communication's Department, the press secretary or spokesperson for the DEC is responsible for being the public face of the DEC next to the chair. They are also responsible for being a liaison with the press. Their main job however is to control the message and overall perception of the DEC to the public.
Regional Organizers: Under the purview of the Precincts Director and are staffers within the Precincts Deparment, regional organizers are assigned regions within the county (preferably pertaining to county commission district lines) to organize and maintain the precinct structure there. They might be responsible for managing county party satellite offices if the DEC decides to have them. They are responsible for reporting back to the Precincts Director about precinct level issues and progress. In turn the Precincts Director should work very closley to make sure decisions made by the chair, the chief of staff/executive director, or the DEC itself are actually implemented. Regional organizers take a lot of pressure and workload off of the Precinct Director, who can concentrate more on overall grassroots strategy and tactics, rather than having to call a couple hundred precinct captains in order to get something done.
Policy Analysts: Under the purview of the Policy Director and are staffers within the Policy Department, policy analysts are responsible for assisting the policy director in the research of critical policy questions and the development of understandable reports to the DEC and the public. Policy analysts could be assigned important research fields based on previous expertise (education, health care, growth management, urban planning, etc...)
This concludes my posts (for now anyway) on structural models for DECs. I hope to do some posts in the future on new roles I believe DECs should step into, and possibly some more posts on fundraising, and maybe some on policy.