The Future of the Democratic Party

Democratic PartyBernie has exposed the myth of the all-powerful Establishment. His campaign has cracked its foundation. By continuing to push, we can topple it.

In his May 10 victory speech, Bernie Sanders argued, “Our vision is the future of the Democratic Party.” If he and his supporters play their cards wisely, he’s right. Given the support people under 45 have provided his campaign, they can soon be leading the Democratic Party.

Even if Hillary is President for the next eight years, who is President is less important than whether or not we have a strong grassroots force that can pressure Washington effectively.

Bernie’s implied commitment to the Democratic Party is encouraging. Hopefully most of his supporters will make the same commitment and work to steadily improve the Party.

Rank-and-file Democrats elect local Party leaders, who elect state leaders, who elect national leaders. If candidates for those offices run on a pro-democracy platform, they can restructure the Party and make it more democratic.

Bernie’s people can push that reform platform at this year’s national convention, and then use it to elect reform-minded Democrats to local Party leadership in future elections. With patience, persistence, and neighbor-to-neighbor organizing, they can transform the Democratic Party into a potent activist organization.

To do so, however, many of his supporters will need to set aside their disappointment, anger, and despair. They will need to avoid insisting on winning every battle and accept temporary defeat in order to carry on long-term. They will need to demonstrate loyalty to the Party. They will need to better practice nonviolent communication and compassionate listening. More so than they have thus far, they will need to avoid ad hominem arguments, acknowledge their own mistakes, and be willing to criticize their own colleagues when they make mistakes.

Otherwise, they could tear the Party apart, blow this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and help Donald Trump get elected.

An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders


Bernie, you’re doing great. Keep pushing.

Win as many delegates as you can and, if the time comes, sit down with Hillary to rebuild the Democratic Party into an activist organization that serves local needs and fights for its platform year-round.

There’s no good reason to ignore the platform after the convention. It should be concise, clear, and powerful and the focus for organizing throughout the year throughout the country.

Get the strongest possible platform.
Make the Party more democratic.
And beat Trump.

Organize small precinct-based clubs that:
Nurture face-to-face community.
Work together to make the world a better place.
And organize their own activities to advance the Democratic Party platform.

Among other options, club members could devote at least a few hours a month to:
Share a meal.
Turn off phones.
Discuss issues.
Listen to and learn from one another.
Get involved in the local Democratic Party.
Meet up to call voters in swing states.
Go together to volunteer at a soup kitchen.
Register voters.
Organize a picnic and invite neighbors.
Develop friendships.
Acknowledge mistakes and help one another become more effective.

Maybe Hillary will join you in getting the Party to organize precinct clubs. If not, you and your supporters can organize a Precinct Organizing Caucus within the Party and elect representatives to develop proposals for the 2020 Democratic Party platform.

Your platform is excellent, but it can be improved. You can do more to address racism, for example. Lead with humility.

The Democratic Party is already a remarkably democratic, inclusive, bottom-up coalition with a relatively solid platform.

Let’s transform it into an activist organization that promotes evolutionary political revolution.

With your leadership, we can do it.

Bernie Can Do It

It’s not too late. Bernie may still lead a revolution. What he does with his database will indicate his direction and our prospects.
A revolution needs an organization with a clear mission, a long-term strategy, short-term victories to build momentum, the ability to modify methods as conditions change, and a structure to involve members in key decision-making. And to sustain itself over time, it can’t be dependent on any one leader.
By rooting itself in small, self-governing clubs, Bernie’s revolution could enhance its effectiveness by nurturing face-to-face community. By serving local needs — personal, social, and environmental — it could build loyalty to the organization. By being member-run, it could enable members to “own” the organization. By authorizing members to define their own activities within the framework of the organization’s goals, it could deepen member involvement, enhance self-empowerment, and provide the opportunity for meaningful engagement. By growing supportive communities, it could aid members in helping one another become more effective….
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