Now that county re-org is done, and the weekend has likely been spent recuperating from the hard work, and probably harder celebrations that followed, it’s time to start talking about the inevitable “what next” issues that come with winning.
The past two years have been tumultuous, to say the least, for the SCDP. From the Richard Fields debacle that started the past committee, to “ballotgate” and eventually, the ruling from the state party that took the party from a proposed 71 to an eventual 83 members, there are some hurt feelings and a good deal of distrust between different groups that need to be tended to.
There are also some structural issues that need to be looked at. While the bylaws that govern membership in the Executive Committee may not break after the 2010 election, like they did this year, there’s a possibility that they will. The SCDP would do well to either come up with a new plan to distribute these members, or set in stone the standard set by the TNDP.
One of the biggest challenges facing the TNDP is the perception that it is a stagnant, dying body. The truth is, the SCDP does a lot of things, but for some reason does a poor job of getting that message out to rank and file Democrats. There are a lot of issues that would likely fix themselves if the SCDP made a conscious choice to reach out to local Democrats. I would be willing to bet that fundraising and volunteer participation would jump exponentially if the SCDP made a consistent effort to reach out. All it takes is dedication. Not all of the solutions take money.
The simplest thing the SCDP can do is start, and promote a facebook group. Right now there is a Shelby Co. Democratic group, but it’s not for TN, it’s for Shelby Co. IN, population 44,000. Why can’t a party that serves nearly a million people do something that a party in a county of 44k can? This group would be a super easy way for both Execom Members and rank and file Democrats to communicate with each other and open up the process for interested individuals in the community.
Another thing the SCDP needs to consider, is borrowing a proposal from Jay Bailey and start now organizing precincts. This doesn’t have to be some elaborate plan or anything, just a simple phone tree that starts with Executive Committee members and works it’s way down to voters. This also creates a communication structure to get info to more voters. Just because Jay was the opposition at the convention doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a good idea.
Finally, the SCDP needs to consider is engaging elected officials and work with them to not only get the message about the party out, but also to help repair the image of the party, and provide assistance in identifying potential Democratic candidates.
2010 will see the County Commission up for election, as well as all the State House and the odd numbered State Senate seats, and the Governor. This is a HUGE election for Democrats throughout the state. If the Democratic party statewide cannot take back the House, we’ll likely lose at least two congressional districts to Republicans, not to mention the gerrymandering that will certainly occur here in Shelby Co. Building a bridge with elected officials now can help build trust for the election season, and help build an army to support our candidates.
I have a lot more ideas, but these are the three that I see as most critical. Different people will have different ideas about what needs to get done. The key is to keep Democrats in the loop and involved. If the SCDP can accomplish theses two simple things, they will have achieved far more than in previous terms.
Good luck, and Godspeed.