A lot of us are here for the purported goal of electing more and better Democrats.
This is my small contribution towards that endeavor.
I have been inspired by the Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Democratic Primary. Here, we have an example of how the Primaries can actually result in a stronger candidate coming out of them. The notable candidates currently: Tom Wolf, Rob McCord, Katie McGinty, Allyson Schwartz, from what I have gathered, are all solid Democratic candidates. None of them are perfect by any means, but by and large, they stand for the values that the Democratic Party is meant to represent.
The question is: who should we, the Dailykos community who are the lifeblood of the Left Wing, vote for, and how do we decide?
Here is what I propose: A Crowdsourced Progressive Ticket
As most of us know, when we go to vote, there is often someone passing out a paper listing how a person should vote for every option on the ballot based on the political party.
The Progressive ticket would be for those of us who want, within the Democratic options, to choose the most Progressive.
For the majority of the elections in the US's two-party system, this extra ticket may not be necessary. However, there are some cases where it would be good for the Liberal voter to have a choice other than what's on the ballot.
One of the cases where this would probably be more important is for primaries, where there are multiple Democratic candidates, and there may be confusion over which Democrat offers the best Progressive option.
It could also be useful in elections like Alabama's Senate election, where Democrats failed to get a candidate to challenge Jeff Sessions. We could come up with a write-in option for Alabama Dems who will be going to the polls anyways. It may not mean much in that election, but it could also be useful for building name recognition going forward.
Another example would be in states with unusual primary systems, like California. Having a clear candidate for the Left would help build consensus.
The other part of the equation is how, in elections such as these, do we decide who the Progressive choice should be? Here is where the crowdsourcing comes in.
Dailykos Elections is an invaluable resource when it comes to covering elections, and a lot of the function this project covers may seem redundant. But often times, their reporting is impartial more than endorsing any particular candidates (other than just Democrat over Republican), perhaps for good reason. And even though the Dailykos official leadership often endorses candidates, they tend to focus on only a few special cases. Also, perhaps for good reason.
Regardless, I think a major factor that gets left out of this process, that I think is actually worth including, is the wider Dailykos community of volunteer activists, grassroots organizers, bloggers, commenters, and even well-meaning lurkers. And if that is going to happen, we have to be the ones to take the initiative.
In effect, as a community, those of us here at Dailykos will put it to a vote. But there should also be substance behind the vote.
The plan I have in my mind goes something like this (though obviously there will likely be modifications before and well into the process). For a disputed election, a new diary is put up giving a general overview of the election and the Democratic candidates. In the comments, kossacks discuss the merits of each candidate, personal interactions with that candidate, etc. The next day, a second diary is written, including constructive excerpts from the previous diary's comments. A poll is also included on the second diary, and based on the poll's results after 24 hours, and if necessary, taking the commentary into account, a candidate is chosen. Results from these diaries are then collected in a central location, with links back to the relevant diaries.
For 2014, I think we could do something like this at least for the federal level (US Reps and Senators), and statewide offices, for all 50 states, in time for the General Election.
In the end, I envision a site along the lines of brainwrap's ACAsignups, as a clearinghouse for the Progressive Ticket. All you have to do is look up your district, and there will be a list of all the candidates, plus links to the diaries/polls used to come up with the pick. Perhaps if someone with a good bit of coding experience in this area gets involved, a printable ticket you can take with you to the polls on Election Day is possible. Of course, this idea is still in its infancy, and such grand designs are still a long ways off. Still, this is where I'd like to see this head.
In regards to the overall purpose alone, the usefulness of this project may seem very narrow. In a majority of the elections, the Progressive option is very clear.
However, I also see this project serving more larger goals as well.
Building a deeper Progressive Bench
One of the problems Progressives have is finding candidates who truly represent our values. For every Elizabeth Warren, there's ten other Progressive candidates out there, struggling just to make it onto the ballot in some backwoods somewhere. This is an opportunity to build their exposure and name recognition, align them with other Progressives, and perhaps even discover the next Warren. And overall, identify and enumerate the Progressive candidates that are out there.
Unifying the base of the Democratic Party
The more Progressive options we identify, the more options we have to support, to campaign for and phone bank for and donate to, or even if it's just supporting them at the polls.
One of the greatest problems Democrats face, especially in midterms such as 2014, is getting our base to turn out. First and foremost, if we want them to turn out, they need strong candidates that they will be energized to turn out for. And better yet, having more than one to vote for.
Taking the power back from the oligarchs and returning it to the masses
Let's face it, most of us feel left behind by the Democratic Party's leadership, who kowtow to their corporate masters about as much as one would expect from the GOP.
This would be one way to take some of that power back. If we do not like the candidate that the Party is putting forth, now we can identify and rally around one we do.
For these reasons, I think all the work that would go into a Progressive Ticket is well worth the effort.
So now, I am looking for feedback from the rest of you.
First of all, I'm looking for feedback on the idea in general. Good idea? Horrible idea? Waste of time? What aspects have I left out? What areas could use more work?
I would also like to know if anyone is interested in helping. It could simply be hosting the diaries specific to candidates in your district. Or maybe you want to lead for your whole state. Either way, I do think crowd sourcing is an asset in a project like this.
I would also like to hear suggestions for Progressives/Elections to feature as some of these races. PA-Gov is a start, but I'm sure there's plenty to highlight.
Towards these ends, I have started a new Dailykos Group: Electing Better Democrats: The Progressive Ticket. If you think you'd be interested in helping, go ahead and message me.
I'm excited about the prospects for Democrats in 2014. I'm excited about the prospects for Democrats in my state. and I'm excited about the prospects for Democrats across the country.
For these reasons, I want to make a difference, if even on a small scale.
Even if you don't agree on how we get there, let's at least agree on this: more and better Democrats.