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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Democratic Farm Team

Posted by DavidNYC

Over at MyDD, Big Dog has an important diary about building our Democratic "farm team." If we want to win at the federal level, we've got to start by building up a good crop of candidates at the truly local level. That doesn't mean Congress, or even state legislatures. That means starting off small: school boards, county offices, city councils. Obviously, this approach takes patience. But it's what creates good candidates - candidates who know how to organize, run a campaign, raise money, pass laws, work with legislative bodies, etc.

I know I've put a lot of emphasis on seeing every Congressional race filled. And I grant that we aren't going to see established politicians running for every seat in the land - there will always be a need for some newcomers to run at the Congressional level (and in some states, even at the Senatorial level). But this mission fills a different goal - expanding the playing field is different from (and in many respect, non-overlapping with) trying to win races.

And if we want to win races to the US House, we've gotta win races to District Water Board #3. As of 1992, over 50% of House members (PDF) previously held state lege seats (up from just 30% half a century earlier). I wouldn't be surprised if the proportion today is even higher - and I'd also be willing to bet that many of these state legislators-cum-congressmen also held a lower office before getting to the state capital.

Let's call it the Branch Rickey approach: If you're thinking about taking the plunge into elective office, definitely think local.

Posted at 12:15 AM in Activism, Democrats | Technorati

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There's one comment at Dkos on the same topic that is the best....and I replied:

Well said, MaryB!

Get a personal biz card made for yourself to use as an intro card at events, particularly political events, and put on the back:

People underestimate the importance of local government - this is the government that impacts peoples everyday lives. Whether there is a stop sign at the bottom of their street; whether the garbage pickup is on time; organizing neighborhood watch teams. And I'm recruiting the new Farm Team for Democrats! Want to Join Up and Help?

This is the attitude that will change the nation in 10 years. Yes we need all hands on deck today. But look at some of the bullshit happening with some of our most clear hearted because they didn't have the training for the mission! That's why some new proposals for political basic training are being made from way outside the system. But that quote up there...that one with committeed people really behind it...that'll change things too. Just not soon enough.

Thanks for letting people know about the diary. I think it's really important for the future.

Posted by: Stuart O'Neill [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 21, 2006 01:41 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

This situation is terrible in Ohio. After twelve years of defeats our bench has been wiped out.

Although we have some attractive candidates for Congress, I cannot help but thinking "These people should be running for the General Assembly."

We have too many people running for Congress who have never won an election for anything, anywhere. Training is great but there is just no substitute for real world experience.

If we don't regain control of the Legislature and the Governor's manison, the state and federal Districts will remain so gerrymandered that the GOpers will stay in control forever.

Posted by: Ohanon [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2006 08:19 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment