While the article doesn’t get into the details, but the idea of building a “farm team” isn’t anything new. The Republicans spent much of the 80’s electing people to city and county positions, as well as state office to help build their “Contract on America” majority, elected in 1994.
Putting this together in the next two years will be a big challenge, but I’m still convinced that there are people, all over this state, who would be willing to run if they felt they had the technical, ground and financial support. That’s a tough nut to crack, but the key is to hit the ground running after the County Reorganization taking place March 28th – April 5th, in every county in Tennessee. (In Shelby, Ward and Precinct is on March 7th, the convention is on the 28th). By working in conjunction with county parties the TNDP could, in relatively short order, make some real strides to revitalize the “old hats” and the fresh blood that’s out there.
The reality is that we will not build a real farm team in the less than two years we have before the 2010 elections. We may be able to get some new faces in front of the voters, particularly in the 26 House races we left open in 2008, but building a vibrant organization takes a lot more than just supporting candidates, it also takes supporting communities. That means helping the county parties connect to constituents before we start asking for their votes, and taking interest in interested people, to help them grow into the future staff people, and even candidates that our party needs to grow.
Real growth is what the TNDP needs. The only way to do that is by strengthening current relationships and building new ones through outreach and communication. This can be hard to do, but the most important part is to stay ahead of the nay-sayers, and keep the information flowing to all the interested individuals and groups that believe in Democratic values. If you can’t communicate, you can’t grow. They’re on the right path with new twitter and Facebook feeds, but in order to get a handle on the majority of Tennessee, broader media outlets will have to play a big role.
Ultimately, it’s the comprehensive strategy, not the tactics that will make Tennessee and the TNDP stronger. I’m looking forward to see how this strategy materializes over then next several weeks.