Memphis blogger Steve Ross ran for Shelby County Commissioner last election. He's been a political wonk for as long as I've known him, but the run for public office has given him some new food for thought.
In a post on Wednesday, he mulls over what he'd do to fix the TNDP Executive Committee, based on, in part, what he learned while knocking on doors around Memphis:
In 2010, only 14 of those 66 contests were contested (21%). While some may say this is because people support their Executive Committee members, what I found through knocking on over 10,000 doors last year was the the vast majority of Democrats have little to no knowledge of the State and County party…or how the executive committees are selected.
While an election, on the face of it, may lead one to believe that the will of the people is best expressed, if rank and file Democrats have little to no knowledge of how their party is composed, it should come as no surprise that the Party has a difficult time building and growing.
What’s also interesting is that I’ve met more than one State Executive Committee member who had no idea how their County parties are organized.
That should never happen.
I don't want to rehash what everyone knows about the problems with the TNDP. But I will say that the complaint I've heard over and over again, from Democrats all across the state, is not that our Democrats are ashamed of being Democrats (which is my complaint), but that people who are hooked into the Party already are more concerned with protecting their own fiefdoms than they are with helping new people figure out how to be involved.
Ross's proposal would involve a level of organization and decisiveness heretofore unseen in the recent history of the TNDP, even if everyone got on board with it, so my hopes aren't high.
But I think it's important for people to put ideas on the table. And Ross has given a great deal of thought to how to organize the Executive Committee so that it's more closely tied in with the political lives of ordinary Democrats. It'd be nice to see others give this same kind of consideration to how to make the party sustainable.