Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Top Down: Why Democrats Aren't Winning

In the aftermath of the latest of this year's string of special elections, the Monday-morning-quarterbacking is, predictably, rolling off every opinionator's tongue.  And it's all over the place.

Why are Democrat candidates losing?  Is it money?  Is it energy?  Are they too liberal?  Too "not-liberal"?  Is it Nancy Pelosi?

In this writer's opinion: None of the Above.

Before I offer my position, let me start with a few questions.

  • What legislative district do you live in?
  • What is a Precinct Committeeperson?
  • Name one person in your legislative district's party leadership
  • When was the last time you had a discussion with someone from the party in your neighborhood?
If you don't know the answers to any of these questions, then (1) you're in good company, and (2) you are a test case to help me explain exactly why we keep losing.  That is: the party foundation is the local legislative district.  And, based on what I've seen and heard, that foundation is pretty shaky.

Every state legislator comes from a legislative district.  The electoral map of the entire country is built on these blocks.  Each legislative district is made up of precincts.  And for every 100 Democrat registered voters in a precinct, the district is assigned one Precinct Committee (PC) slot.  Together, these PC slots are filled (theoretically) with engaged people who are charged with connecting with their neighbors.  They know people directly and personally.  They provide the critical communication link between the people, the LD, and therefore the county, state, and national party.  Pretty important, right?  Right!!

I mean, think about it.  Think about all the questions and theories the pundits are offering.  Why didn't this district turn out?  Why didn't candidate X resonate?  Want the answer?  Ask a PC!  

Too many of those PC slots are sitting vacant.  People don't know about them.  People don't understand them.  People think the Party starts in Washington DC and magically trickles down.  It doesn't.  That's not how it works at all.  It's built from the bottom up.  Without the foundation, the house won't stand.  

If you don't know the answers to the questions above, odds are your LD is not running as well as it could.  But don't take my word for it, check for yourself.  Look up your legislative district (you can google it) and find out how to reach them.  The more you know, the more you realize that all politics truly is local.  

1 comment:

  1. I have to admit to my own absolute ignorance about precincts and precinct committee people prior to this election.

    Working in LD13 has been an eye opener. There are 155 PC positions on the Dems side available in LD13. 22 are filled. 10 of the 22 are brand new. So, basically 14% of the positions are filled on the Dems side in my resident area. I didn't count the Reps side, but there are many, many more.

    I also operated under many misconceptions about what a PC does. I thought there would be a lot of money required. Not true. I do give a voluntary donation of 5.00 per month at my meeting, however. I will contribute to fundraising drives when the opportunities arise.

    I thought being a PC was sort of a closed club of "in" people. Also, not true. Everyday people with normal lives are PCs. And, the club is not only wide open, but almost literally dying for members.

    I thought it would be a huge time commitment. It actually takes very little time. Much less than I voluntarily spend now on the "resistance".

    I thought I had to be outgoing--salesmen type and be willing to convince people to do stuff. Not true. All skill sets are needed. Everything. Especially needed--people who show up with the idea and goal of belonging--this is sorely needed. This is a come as you are, bring what you have and share kind of thing.

    This is how work gets done in both parties. It is how we organize and knit together. On the Dems side, there is a huge problem.

    Curious about how needy your own district is, in either party in AZ? Check it out here: