Starting with this disclaimer: We aren’t endorsing a particular candidate or candidates, and Diversity Matters is not a single-party initiative. However, we are closely watching tomorrow’s DNC Officer Elections to see whether we may have an opportunity to infuse our principles into one of our country’s main political parties.
What we’ll be looking for tomorrow:
The Vice Chair race! This has been far less profiled than the race for Chair, but the VC candidates are for the most part more exciting, energizing and creative than the Chair candidates- and they are talking about fundamental changes to how the DNC recruits and supports candidates. These changes would make the party more accountable to a broader and more diverse base. Here is what some of them are saying:
Latoia Jones: “Let the communities tell us who we are going to run.” She has been raising hard, pragmatic issues about budgets, challenging behind-closed- door decisions about spending (or choosing not to spend) on particular candidates and races.
Michael Blake: “We need to be working for ALL of our communities, ALL of the time.” He has a great organizer’s grasp on what this means, and that small things like when and where you hold meetings can include or exclude whole constituencies.
Liz Jaff: “The movements don’t need to come to us. We need to connect to THEM.” She admitted openly that her ideas for harnessing the energy of the netroots/e-activists might not be well-received by party traditionalists but is willing to push the envelope.
And we noted that Rick Palacio was one of the few candidates to raise an issue we believe is very important: the DNC’s own business partners. He was strong on the need for a more diverse and inclusive vendor base.
And what we’ll be looking for AFTER tomorrow:
CLEAR JOB DESCRIPTIONS. Time for the DNC to get a little more transparent on its expectations for both its Chair and Vice Chair, and its metrics to hold its own party officials accountable. We don’t need a talking head for the Sunday morning cable shows. We need great clarity on strategy for expanding and mobilizing the party’s base. We heard less about this from the Chair candidates than the Vice Chairs, so a statement picking up some of the VC ideas would be a great start.
MONEY MATTERS. Some of the Chair candidates, including Ray Buckley and Jehmu Greene, have spoken about the need for transparency and accountability by the DNC on how it is spending its money. We will want to see budget decisions that show a commitment to spend in ways that encourage and enfranchise people who may not be voting, or facing obstacles to voting. It’s not too late to weigh in directly with your state officers via this web link to let them know you expect future candidates for office to endorse, and be accountable to, the principles in the Diversity Declaration!