Sunday, December 19, 2010

Innovations in Communications

Any organization that wants to advocate with the public needs to be able to use all available tools for communication. These tools include electronic media, print media, broadcast media, and telephony.

In addition to the public sphere, an organization needs to have an internal communication space in which insiders can candidly plan and strategize without exposing our weaknesses to the opposition.

The electronic media is the newest and is the most dynamic these days. Many older folks have been able to get on board in a variety of ways such as email, discussion boards, and weblogs. The younger generation, however, is continuing to challenge today's communication landscape with newer methods. Social networking, texting, internet conferencing, and even gaming consoles are adding more communication options. Political organizations which wish to have a broad appeal must be active in as many communication platforms as it can manage since the omission of any communication pathway will result in failing to get the message to the devotees of that particular pathway.

Our goal must be to communicate in all directions using all the means available. Our messages must be fresh, topical, and relevant. We must be active on issues at all jurisdictional levels. This ensures that we always have something to say that is meaningful. And it demonstrates that we are indeed politically active at all levels. The effort to pursue communication at all levels is a mechanism that will help us build our activity at all those various levels. Communication is the blood of our body politic. Whatever else this organization does, it is the communication that holds us together.

But there are limits in real life and we can't do everything at once. We must prioritize and delegate. I think our first priority should be the printed newsletter. It should have good content, an attractive appearance, and broad access. It can both consolidate and feed our other lines of communication. It can be a common source of reference where essential data of the organization can be found. Even those who can not be present in any other way can participate through meaningful printed media. The newsletter should report on our activities, offer a means of interaction and discussion, and help connect like-minded people in all sorts of ways.

Innovation Articles

This article will serve as a link list to other more specific articles on topics having to do with potential innovations the local party might pursue. At this time it is simply a placeholder.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Overlap with BCDCC

Since the 8th LD lies entirely within Benton County there is a great deal of overlap between LD and County Party activities. It doesn't make good sense to wear out our volunteers performing activities that address almost exactly the same audience with almost exactly the same active participants. It should also be noted that due to population concentration in the Tri-city area there is also opportunity for joint action and coordination with the Franklin County organization. Therefore it is reasonable to have some understanding of what works best at the LD level, the county level, and the metropolitan level. There is no official governmental jurisdiction for the metropolitan area but there is a natural organization in place called the Tri-city Democrats.

The backbone of the Party is, of course, precinct committee officers (PCO's). A new batch of PCO's have been elected this last November. Sadly we have many more precincts than we do PCO's. Via the appointment process, it is possible for every single person who wishes to be a PCO to be appointed to that position. Being a PCO carries the challenge of representing the Party to supporters in a given geographical locatian and of representing the location to the Party. Appointments for PCO's are under the purvue of the County Central Committee but I'm sure the County would find it helpful if the LD organization would make recommendations for potential PCO appointments.

A properly functioning LD organization should essentially be focussed on LD issues. The most essential of these are the LD elections and support for our LD candidates. The LD organization should be able to relieve the County organization of its heavy lifting in this area and allow the County more freedom and resources to deal with issues and candidates at the County and higher levels.

There is an opportunity the 8th LD organization has by virtue of its overlap with the Benton County jurisdiction. It can serve as a test lab for new ways of doing things. Any successful techniques can be offered to the county (and even the metropolitan area) for emulation. Any failures can be handled and lessons can be learned without doing violence to processes at the higher levels. With this in mind, let's take a look in some following articles about some new things to try.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

On the Elections

The recent primary results show that we Democrats have a tough task ahead of us before November. Our candidates will be out-spent and out-shouted as we go into the general election. Our main and most effective weapon will be our own voices. We need to not be bashful about raising those voices. And we have a powerful message to share. We must remind everyone that the policies of the opposition are proven failures. During the Bush years lowering taxes on the rich did NOT produce jobs. Decreasing regulations brought about this Republican Recession that now dogs our citizens. All the ideas that Republicans are using to influence voters have been tried and all of us are paying the price for them to this very day.

As reported by many news organizations in April and May of this year, current tax rates are the lowest they have been in 60 years. The idea that higher taxes are going to strangle businesses is simply not true. Any business that is so on-the-edge that a bit more in taxes is going to kill it already has a failing business model. People in the top income bracket are getting a freer ride now than they have in decades. During that time, the real earnings of middle-income have been in decline. Contrary to the Republican line, the real engine of economic growth is middle-income spending not high-income spending.

State government spending primarily represents our human obligation to one another. We must work together to provide a good education to our children, to provide the infrastructure businesses need to flourish, and to be a backstop to our most vulnerable citizens. When Republicans talk about cutting state spending, they are actually talking about shirking our moral obligations.

At the Federal level we are in an unfortunate situation in which the financial system has become paralyzed (thanks to excesses produced by ill-considered deregulation). When private sector activity dries up, the economy collapses unless some other economic activity comes in to take over. This is what happened in the Great Depression and it is what is happening now. It was the massive spending of World War II that finally ended that era. Thankfully we have avoided the worst effects of the Great Depression. And it will require the discipline of continued spending to bring us out of the Republican Recession. No one wants to waste money so we can have a discussion of what constitutes appropriate spending. If we are wise, we can direct spending to infrastructure and initiatives that prepare us for future robust growth. That growth will erase the debt we are incurring. When businesses spend to grow, it’s called investing. The same should apply to government spending now. But spend we must until the ravages of deregulation have been healed.

We must remind voters that regulation wasn’t dreamed up out of thin air to harm business. Every regulation was enacted to mitigate a problem. Remove the regulation and you are allowing that problem to return. Perhaps regulation can be more streamlined or more effective. But the need for it is certain.

The Republican attacks even extend to Social Security. Yet they can offer no alternative that is better. Whatever they do offer is only worse and, given their track record, much worse.

As Democrats, we have a fight on our hands. But it is a good fight. It is a fight worth fighting. We have a message worth sending. We have a moral obligation to raise our voices and speak out. The facts of history are on our side. Let us not be found wanting in our energy or effort at this critical time.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Website stuff

A Yahoo! group has been created for the 8th LD. See the link to the left. Its function is to provide a space to share files and discussion threads as we may find need. Right now it is visible to all but once we begin to use it for real I will close it down to members-only so we can have some privacy.

Meanwhile this blog and the Facebook group will remain open to all viewers.

2010 Reboot

The election season is upon us. The implicit charter of the 8th Legislative District Democrats is to provide support for our candidate(s). And especially after today's Supreme Court decision that means money. In addition to money it means being the opposition voice to the incumbents. I'm going to be working on establishing a way for interested persons and organizations to make direct donations via the web and other means to the 8th LD Democrats.

I'm also looking for volunteers to assist in examining the records and positions of Larry Haler and Brad Klippert. We need to do our best to inform our electorate as a balance to their own rhetoric.

I realize I'm doing this unilaterally without much discussion with the committee so I'll welcome any comments from interested individuals.