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After reading Gilas Goat Boy's diary today, I had a moment reading the comments. There were lots of comments about not donating to the DNC, because people feel they don't do a good job with your money. For the most part, I agree with this. Now, most of us are people with only a few bucks to spare... how to spend it?

The way to promote the grassroots is to spend on the grassroots. This takes a little time and research, but if you want to fund a Democratic Party infrastructure that works, and scare the higher levels of the party into changing, this is how I think we do it.

First -- if you live in a state where there is a Clean Election law, make sure you donate your little bit to the candidate that is running locally. They need your checks to get on the ballot and get their Clean Elections check. Do this first. (In the case of Maine, this means $10-15 -- $5 to the candidate for State Rep, $5 to the State Senator, $5 to the Governor). Obviously, if there is a primary first, pick your favorite -- otherwise, give this money unless the Democrat is absolutely terrible. I'm talking about sacrificing kittens kind of terrible. You know, Ben Nelson. Or something.

Now, do your research, and find people who are doing good work. Don't be afraid to ask questions of people -- this is your money you're giving away. You want two things: a candidate who promotes your values, whether they are going to win or not, and a candidate who understands the value of campaigning. And I don't mean the kind of campaigning that happens on TV, I mean the kind that funds field activities. Alternately, seek out Democratic Party committees that do this.

Whether this is a local race where the campaign is waged with $10 in copies and a $3 clipboard (like me!), or a multi-million dollar Congressional candidate, you want someone who runs to win every time, whether they are an insurgent or a twenty-year incumbent. You want people who knock doors, who engage voters, who promote actual democracy -- the kind that involves bringing more voters out, not working just with the ones you have.

Then, fund these people -- from the bottom up, not the top down. This means ensuring that City Councilors win, that Democratic City and County Committees have adequate funding. Ask them to be honest with you -- can they work with what they have, or do they need more? If you give to them, what will your money buy? If it's a clipboard, give. If it's a print ad, move on. Work your way on up, giving to people and organizations that you believe in.

And don't feel bad if you don't give the President a dime. You don't feel passionate about him? That's cool, you'll help elect him anyway. That's the concept behind these donations -- you give to local organizations who will invest the time and effort into building the electorate. They will, in turn, vote for Democrats further up the ticket. All of the benefit of giving to Obama -- he still gets elected -- and you don't have to feel like you supported people you don't believe in.

If you want to change the party, this is the way you give. Make sure the locals can win, and they will make everything else blue. Otherwise, you have counties like mine, which can't open an office every year, while the Congressfolks sit on their cash. Don't we want to see every dime in use electing Democrats? Wouldn't you rather see another computer and phone for a volunteer to call with, than another 30 second TV ad? I know I do.

Originally posted to Eddie in ME on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 08:46 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.


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| 22 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for changing how we do business. (12+ / 0-)

    If you want to see change, give your change where it changes things. :)

    (I silly.)

  •  All politics is local (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Debbie in ME, Eddie in ME

    I think that statement is so true today.  The change we need to effect starts at the grassroots level.  The time when our small donations can impact Washington has long since passed.

    Thanks for the great diary Eddie.

  •  last time around (4+ / 0-)

    Last time around when it came time to give I just went to ActBlue and picked a couple of random names that I hadn't heard of before.  Not very scientific.  I like your approach, thanks for the diary.

  •  My biggest donations (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Actbriniel, Eddie in ME

    2 elections in a row now have been to local legislative candidates. That is where the biggest fight is and the GOP has known this for a while. So far my donations and efforts have not born fruit - for some reason practically nobody bothers to vote in these races, and the churches have been bussing in their zombies to take advantage - but it's got to change at some point.

    We have a bit of an ironic assist here in MN because the GOP got rid of the public campaign matching fund. Now, I support public campaign funding, but curiously, republican candidates took advantage of that fund at about twice the rate of democrats. So while I am sad to see it go, it will take away one area of monetary advantage for the GOP.

  •  There is no choice for me in the poll (4+ / 0-)

    I give to my local and national union and let them decide if a candidate should receive funds.

    The way things are going even non-union workers should investigate contributing to organized labor PAC's.

    •  I give and vote (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eddie C, Eddie in ME

      locally through Oregon's Working Families Party, a grassroots org. or party. It's a coalition of unions and workers non union.  It's not a spoiler party.  My local state house rep ran with both a D ans WFP  after his name. Or allows fusion candidates and I vote and donate through them. They are working on establishing a state bank here and endorse candidates who actually do work for 'we the people'.


        •  Thanks I missed this (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eddie C, Eddie in ME

          dairy. Wow! I just don't know at this point where to turn. It is an existential dilemma, as do you vote and support the Dems who in turn screw you in order to keep the right wing at bay? either way it all comes back to the same shit dirty deals that mean 'we the people' harm  What makes you a Democrat? Claiming democracy as our own doesn't work unless you go through the channels that are controlled by the machines from hell both R and D. Coalitions of futility.  

          •  They don't screw you in order to keep... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shaharazade, Eddie in ME

            the right wing at bay. They screw you in order to feed at the trough of the rich, to afford the campaign commercials where they lie to you.

            And I've got to say that when the diary linked above get 9 comments and 22 recommends around here, then claiming "Democracy as our own" is not an option for a community that is always obsessed with Republicans and the media.  

            Oh I have plenty more examples but Democratic bullshit trumps progress here and action more often seems to be accusing the rest of the Americans of being stupid than taking the inventory of the Democratic leadership.

            Whta;s Cuomo up to now? Oh look a comment from yesterday's Mid Day Open Thread that everyone who read the comments pretended they didn't see.  

            •  Cart before the horse (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Eddie in ME, Eddie C

              politically speaking. Our newest elected governor in OR isn't a bad as Cuomo but he is another wolf in Democratic clothing. He ran as a Democrat then the first thing he did was announce the Oregon is open for business and  sign a deal to ship coal down the Columbia from Idaho and then on to China. whew! He also slipped a bunch of tax breaks for the corps into unrelated  legislation, it undid the citizen initiated tax reform we passed a year or so ago.

              I agree I'm sick of hearing about the republicans tell me something new, tell me about the Democrat's and make it real instead of the two legs better shit. I also deplore blaming every damn thing on the voters, who won't swallow the 'reality based' Democratic official party line. It's getting really absurd to watch them twist the narrative to the point where crimes against humanity and the destruction of our rights, our representative  system not to mention the worlds workers and  economy are called accomplishments. All for fear of the looney's waiting in the wings who's agenda is the same damn thing.          

              •  That's why I take this angle (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                shaharazade, Debbie in ME

                because I do think we need to save the Dems from themselves, they aren't that much better than the Republicans on some issues. But the way we do this is by changing the structure at the bottom. We started this with Dean, but then stopped -- why? We were successful in my county, we have true grassroots structure and have since 2004. Granted, there are not a lot of us, but we keep doing the work and trying to get more and more people involved.

                •  Same with my district (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Eddie in ME

                  in OR. It's really liberal and on a state, county and local level it is pretty good.  The grassroots structure here flourished after the bush selection. Dean really helped organize as he said, precinct by precinct.  Even on a national level we made inroads on the Machine. Jeff Merkley took out the odious so called moderate Gordon Smith and Obama carried the day. We stopped because the establishment Democrat's the party machine stopped Dean along with the media.  

                  I was recruited by the county party by a former Green  in 2000. she had become so alarmed by Bush that she went to work for the Democrat's even took a year off work to try and stop the slide into fascism. I worked for Kerry and he was a no sale in my district. Obama was a whole different matter as even the hard core environmentalist lefties and non voters who I registered  signed on to elect him. Nobody told them that he was not a liberal they didn't listen correctly.  

                  Last election not one yard sign on my block the silence was deafening. I'll play it as it lays locally even there you have posers who play to the progressives and then when elected show there true corporate colors. To me the really tragic part of what Obama has done is to kill off the real Democratic movement that coalesced to get him elected. I think often of the young un's I registered and hustled, same with the indies who believed the Democrat's were a real choice. I refuse to blame voters as they rose to the occasion and voted by a majority for change and a restoration of our country.

                  Can the grassroots be built again? I think it depends on who they support who they run locally. One thing for sure at least here they lost their credibility with this administration and the current structure of the electoral political machine. Hard to get teachers for instance to support a party's candidates while the party is busy busting their union and privatizing our school system.          

              •  Truer words were never spoken (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                All for fear of the looney's waiting in the wings who's agenda is the same damn thing.

                That and the denial.

                Most people prefer to believe their leaders are just and fair even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because once a citizen acknowledges that the government under which they live is lying and corrupt, the citizen has to choose what he or she will do about it. To take action in the face of a corrupt government entails risks of harm to life and loved ones. To choose to do nothing is to surrender one's self-image of standing for principles. Most people do not have the courage to face that choice. Hence, most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker but only to give moral cowards an excuse not to think at all.
                                      – Michael Rivero

                But we can never go forward until we get to the reality of the situation.  

    •  Well, this is a different subject... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eddie C, Debbie in ME

      ...but, that being said, I am actually very happy to hear the unions saying they will spend their money on funding organizing efforts instead of candidates. I think they should have done that a long time ago, regardless of whether the people they supported were helping them or not.

      It just makes more sense to spend that money in the community employing field staff, and making sure that local people get to hear the union message countering the junk they get on talk radio.

      •  Unions will still support candidates who commit (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Debbie in ME

        Organized Labor demanding a written pledge to make unions a top domestic priority and to work diligently on a pro-labor agenda. Demanding this from Democrats seeking election sounds like a good start.

        Tht commitment represents a chance of reciprocity, just like the corporate cash. But unions, so short on money and people because of the years we trusted trusted Dems still have something corporations can never offer. We still have some people.    

        No commitment, no cash and no help getting elected is far better message then Act Blue, which really mounts to act whatever way you feel like after spending our money.

        And not to get offensive but your comment above, I think that falls into the denial department I refereed to above. How many times do we need to "change the structure at the bottom" of the Party before accepting the reality that the bottom is just an apprenticeship program for the top of the Party.

        Take Barack Obama for an example.  Besides, how many years do you think we have left?  

        •  Isn't denial (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Debbie in ME

          when you see it actually work. In Maine, our County Committees are where the real work gets done. Several of our counties, particularly those with open membership structures, do a very good job pushing for the right kinds of candidates through recruitment as well as working for the right causes (such as our organizing to save Election Day Registration).

  •  Be careful what you wish for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eddie in ME

    It's great to have a local office with equipment, so that you don't have to re-invent the wheel every election season.  But you need to be careful that you don't end up with a county like mine.  Our local Dem party is constantly raising money, and most of that money goes into maintenance of the office, rent, office supplies, equipment, tech support.  Very little of the money raised actually went to candidates, and most of that went to incumbent blue dog types.  

    •  It doesn't have to go to candidates (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Debbie in ME

      so long as it's going to give volunteers adequate capability for field work. Canvassing is the best way to get a vote, and so it makes a lot of sense to fund local organizations that can assist volunteers in doing their work instead of having each campaign do it.

      Now, that being said, we don't leave offices open year-round here, so that might be the problem. But if they're constantly staffed and things are getting DONE in the office, it wouldn't be bad. This is why I do say that we should always do our research and make sure that the organization we're funding does good work. And, in the case of a local party, you can always throw the bums out.

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