David Parker’s Vision of the #NCDP Back in 2009

david-parkerDavid Parker won his election for Chair.  Here was his vision for the #NCDP back when we had check-off money.   I  bring it up for consideration  because contrary to what some may say, he’s still one of the smartest guys in NC politics.

Vision for 2009 North Carolina Democratic Party

2008’s remarkable success in North Carolina was based on a well-funded, organized grassroots registration, get out the vote, and persuasion campaigning. Now, we need to meld the Obama campaign, new Progressive activists, the “established” Democratic Party, and Democratic leaning independents and Republicans into a North Carolina Democratic Party that will win elections in 2010 and beyond in Counties as diverse as Wake, Yadkin, Bertie, Cumberland, Durham and Jackson. To accomplish this, there are four areas of concentration for the North Carolina Democratic Party: Grassroots, Fundraising, Staff, and Logistics.

Grassroots. The DNC’s 50-state strategy put staff into the field in NC. The Obama campaign had dozens of formal and informal offices and hundreds of volunteers spread across the State. Counties must be held accountable. AAffiliate@ Party organizations are the party in a lot of counties. Only half of the precincts are organized. Half of those exist primarily on paper. Of the remaining one quarter of the total precincts, perhaps half function as intended. In some areas, precincts are outmoded – in others, they are critical to the success of the Party. There is much work to do.
01 Precinct organization. Pilot programs for new approaches to B precincts were terrific when people were focused on their neighborhood B although that approach works well in some areas, it needs serious tweaking in others. Look at flexibility in sub-urban and ex-urban areas with discretion.
02 Field Staff support. Support field staff (see Staff) with volunteer and County Headquarters support. Examine financial support of County HQ’s in critical areas. Spending money in the field is the top priority. Utilize tax check-off and other funds based on voter turnout, performance, or voter registration.
03 Healthy Affiliates. Renew emphasis on Democratic Women, Young Democrats, Teen Dems, Senior Democrats, Hispanic Democrats, African American Democrats, Democratic Men, etc. Encourage issue based group participation at every level of the Party.
04 Coordination with Fundraising. Cross reference contributors with grassroots organization e.g. precinct meetings. Build Party in 2009. Elect nominees and continue to build Party with grassroots in 2010.
05 Goal Setting. Establish understandable, coherent goals for each county and Congressional District and the State – may vary tremendously. Meeting goals will insure statewide success. Measuring success would be on-going: at the end of each election cycle, the individual local and auxiliary Party organization work toward its goals should be measured, re-alignment of goals considered, and planning started anew.
06 Candidate Recruitment. Coordinate grassroots candidate recruitment at local level with regional and statewide resources e.g. recruitment calls for Electeds.
07 Broaden NCDP Committee Activity. Increase effectiveness by making Committee appointments more open e.g. sign-up lists at January, 2009 SEC meeting and on-line (integrate into Party timeline)
08 Action Plan. Create Action Plan and timeline for grassroots goals. Measure, report and reward success locally, regionally and statewide. Continually assess performance vs. goals. Study, plan, and implement, Reassess study and realign goals continually.
Message. The driving force of any political Party is its message as enacted and carried out by its candidates. As the Party goes forward toward 2010, it must meld its various component parts into a persuasive voice, recognizing differences, but heading in the same direction.
01 Broaden the Democratic Coalition. Strengthen platform and resolutions with coordination with Democratic legislators. Form broad electoral coalitions to meld traditional, Dean, Obama groups with mutual respect but healthy discussion of issues important to Democrats. Diversify leadership and responsibilities both locally and statewide– integrate interdependent, “viral” network world of virtually instantaneous information sharing.
02 Platform and Resolutions Monitoring. Utilize policy committees to measure success of the Democratic Platform. Seek input from Governor’s, State House’ and Senate’s policy initiatives in constructing Platform.
03 Speakers Bureau. Recruit speakers in different regions to talk issues, training, persuasion, GOTV, etc.
04 Integrate Fundraising and Grassroots with Message. Track issue interests for targeted fundraising and grassroots activities.
05 Action Plan. Create Action Plan and timeline for Message goals. Measure, report and reward success locally, regionally and statewide. Measure, report and reward success locally, regionally and statewide. Continually assess performance vs. goals. Study, plan, and implement, Reassess study and realign goals continually.

Fundraising. The Obama campaign illustrated the power of small dollar money. The key is continuing personal contact through an active, engaged, trained grassroots supported by (not replaced by) and coordinated with an aggressive email effort. In North Carolina, the cooperative effort on Dollars for Democrats has shown good results. Our large contributors have been exceptionally generous, but the large contributors to specific campaigns have not been cultivated for general Party giving except during election years. NC Income tax check-off funds are the easiest method for doing small dollar ($3 per person) grassroots fundraising for the Democratic Party.

The 2009-10 Party Chair must be an active and persuasive voice in raising money in addition to the Check-Off funds which will not be enough to fund the activism needed to continue the success of 2008.
01 Obama fundraising lists – obtain lists immediately and coordinate with grassroots operation to get small contributors involved at precinct level
02 Fundraising targets. Raise $2MM (including check off moneys) in 2009 in a cost-efficient, efficacious way e.g. small dollar targets by precinct ($3, $5, $10, $25 and $100) and county (aggregate of precinct goals plus $250, $500, and $1,000 targets) and Congressional District (aggregate of County goals plus $2,500 and $4,000 targets) that is more small-donor based.
03 Aggressive Check-Off $$$ Campaign. Get Democrats to check off the $3 box on their state tax forms. Such an effort is a major step toward meaningful campaign finance reform.
04 Trustee program. Review and revise Trustee program to make it viable with a working Trustee Chair and Finance Chair and Committee – gather together Trustees and Finance Committee with fundraisers for financially successful 2008 campaigns to plan attack. Coordinate Electeds events with on-going grassroots efforts and County and CD targets. Establish appropriate recognition.
05 Event and Alternative Fundraising. Emphasize Spring and Fall statewide events (clarify the names). Examine and push credit card, Internet based contributions and procedures B tie into precinct and County targets with contributor lists being provided back to Grassroots organizers, precinct chairs, etc.
06 Action Plan. Create Action Plan and timeline for fundraising goals. Measure, report and reward success locally, regionally and statewide. Continually assess performance vs. goals. Study, plan, and implement, Reassess study and realign goals continually.
Staff and Logistics. Our North Carolina Democratic Party has been blessed to have many extraordinary people working on staff. Turnover, however, does occur – we will have major vacancies to fill immediately. Internal personnel review procedures and other Abest practices@ are needed for on-going improvement and maintenance of energy and quality among Party staff. Logistics are how a campaign works.

It requires funding and maintenance.
01 State Staff. Staff must primarily serve the Party in the Counties and the field in a friendly, courteous and efficient manner. Staff should have goals and reviews by a Personnel Committee on a regular basis. Establish Personnel Committee immediately to assess existing State Staff. Establish salary packages commensurate with work, experience and Personnel Committee reviews.
02 Field Staff. Plan for Field Staff strategy with input from Grassroots and Finance folk. Budget for 5-6 filed offices if funds available. Fund (with DNC help) Regional field staff to coordinate with Obama/DNC 50-State strategy. Money/resources should be dispersed a la Obama campaign. Establish appropriate salary packages; review at least annually.
03 Staff Reviews. See above. Integrate staff job descriptions, performance reviews, and pay rates through Personnel Committee. Study, assess, and implement work and performance.
04 List maintenance and sharing. Increase access by Counties to State Party resources e.g. lists in preparation for Precinct Meetings. Increase access of Affiliate organizations to State Party to expand participation. Utilize grassroots folk to continually update email and fax contacts – lists atrophy at a rate of at least one (1%) percent per month! Share lists!!
05 Relationships with Electeds. Maintain, support and utilize relationships with the Governor, State Senate, State House and Council of State folks without becoming/remaining an “Inside the Beltline” Party – a Party that has the support of the Governor and the Legislature can get a lot more done at the local level than one that does not.
06 Association of County Chairs. Authorize County Chairs to form an Association with its leadership on the State Executive Council B goal would be to train, finance, mentor, and organize at the County level B advise the State Chair on grassroots politics
07 Interface technology and grassroots activism. Share resources and lists freely e.g. for Precinct Meetings. Virtual SEC meetings and conventions via distance learning links at Comm. Colleges May be cheaper than big meetings – coordinate through regional directors.
08 Action Plan. Create Action Plan and timeline for grassroots goals. Measure, report and reward success locally, regionally and statewide. Continually assess performance vs. goals. Study, plan, and implement, Reassess study and realign goals continually.

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About George Fisher

George is a freelance writer, an author and a Democratic political consultant. He has worked as Deputy Communications Director for a Senatorial campaign and Campaign Manager for several NC House races and one congressional race. He previously worked as a news producer for a local television station.
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