Tom's Vision

I’ve spent the past couple months talking with party leaders, local officials and everyday voters across America. And like many of you, I have more questions than answers. But I wanted to share a few initial thoughts on how we can rebuild our party from the ground up as we continue the conversation about the future.

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Fighting for Our Values

Standing up for what we believe -- from creating a level playing field for all Americans to protecting civil rights and collective bargaining -- is a critical part of who we are as progressives and as Democrats. And in this divisive time, we have to unify our party, speak with a loud, clear voice and be heard. To make sure we fight for our values and protect our rights, we will:

  • Fight voter suppression and disenfranchisement by working with state parties and progressive groups to stop unjust laws

  • Target gerrymandering where it starts by working to elect more Democratic state legislatures and governors

  • Support state parties to find, recruit and train candidates for office at every level of the ballot, from school board to senate, who reflect our big tent and diverse party

  • Stand up and lead efforts to stop policies that undermine the pillars of our middle class and make it harder for Americans to get a fair deal

  • Build a robust Voter Empowerment Office with a fully-staffed team operating year round; the Voter Empowerment Office would:

    • Support states by creating a regional structure with one person dedicated to working with EVERY state to proactively monitor and fight voting issues, from helping build relationships with election administrators to fighting unjust voter ID laws and gerrymandering

    • Partner with state parties to develop comprehensive, state-specific voter empowerment strategies so each strategy caters to each state's strengths

    • Provide ballot access guidance to democrats running for office to help field candidates for offices from school board to senate

    • Ensure the MOVE Act and UOCAVA are enforced so service members and citizens overseas have their voice heard at home

    • Build proactive strategies to increase voter registration and fight voter suppression

  • Create a permanent Voter Caucus of the DNC with Secretaries of State, state members and others, focused on voting issues from registration to representation

  • Make facts on Trump and the Republicans easily accessible on the DNC’s website to help Democrats all over the country stay engaged and ready to fight

Growing From The Grassroots

The values we share and the message we bring must be driven from the ground up, from organizing to fundraising. Our party can’t be led just from DC – Democrats across the country, in the territories and around the globe need to have a stake in our party and a place in rebuilding it. Offering more opportunities for donors and constituents to support and participate in our cause with what they can will help grow our party and spread our message. We will:

  • Encourage and prioritize small-dollar fundraising

  • Rebuild the online donor program to reach and expand all our supporters effectively

  • Increase the availability of surrogates to support state party fundraisers

  • Open a dialogue between the DNC and democrats everywhere with in-person and online town halls

  • Seek new talent from outside DC to ensure a full range of geographic and identity diverse voices are heard in the DNC

  • Invest in state parties’ efforts to grow their grassroots by supporting local training and activities

Advocating In Every Zip Code

No matter where they live every American should hear our message of inclusion and opportunity. It’s not enough to shout at people from Washington, DC, or try to re-engage only when election season rolls around. We need to be listening and talking to voters - from rural communities and urban, on the coasts and in the middle of the country - year-round, with state parties driving the conversation – and we also need to make sure we’re finding candidates who will stand up for our values and the needs of their communities. To make sure every zip code counts, we will:

  • Put states first: listen to and empower state parties to drive the DNC’s national work

  • Invest in state and local parties to help support candidates from school board to Senate

  • Build a deep bench of Democrats ready to run who reflect our big tent and diverse party, including providing national and regional candidate training and recruitment

    • Ensure those trainings prepare women, LGBTQ and under-represented groups for their runs for office

  • Create nationwide Candidate Boot Camps to help future candidates learn how to run for office

  • Begin a mentoring program pairing new office seekers with experienced candidates to share knowledge and build a stronger support network for democrats seeking office

 

Organize For Opportunity

Democrats win when we tell voters who we are, what we value and communicate our message in every community we can. We can’t do that without the best progressive organizers in America. The DNC will build an increased grassroots effort to speak directly with all voters in every community, from rural to urban, by:

  • Recruiting experienced organizers and building a permanent organizing department

  • Invest in local organizers and parties by increasing training and support for neighbor-to-neighbor outreach

  • Develop a program to train the next generation of diverse advocates and leaders to make sure our outreach reflects our party, including women, LGBTQ, African Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Latinos, rural Americans

  • Building a strategy that supports all 50 states, the District of Columbia, territories and Democrats Abroad to ensure we reach Democrats regardless of where they are

  • Listening to state parties to learn from them the best ways to organize

  • Increase our new voter registration efforts to every single year, not just presidential ones

Sharing what works

Our state parties are on the front lines of finding the best candidates for office, reaching out to voters, and delivering our message of inclusion and opportunity for all Americans. This comes with challenges on all levels. But while many states have found answers to what works best, those solutions too often stay in one state. The DNC will:

  • Start a Best Practices Institute to share solutions to our common challenges

  • Increase collaboration between the DNC, state parties and committees

  • Empower state parties by making sure they have the skills and tools they need to succeed at every level

  • Start a Training Institute to provide the preparation state parties and staffs need to take advantage of and build upon the resources they have

 

BUILDING EFFECTIVE, ENDURING PARTNERSHIPS

Right now, it’s more important than ever for our progressive party to come together around a coordinated strategy. We cannot operate in silos - we need to act as one. Our collective focus must be on building the most effective, unifying DNC to fight for our values and elect democrats at all levels who will stand up for what’s right. To do that, we will:

  • Work to determine what the DNC and outside groups each do best

  • Leverage our collective strengths to make sure our values and messages have an impact

Ensuring A FAIR PROCESS

A fair, transparent, neutral DNC supports our values of inclusion and opportunity. And the role of the DNC is to ensure those values are an unassailable part of the presidential nominating process, from the beginning to the end. To make sure that integrity is never in question, we will:

  • Set debate dates and rules for the nominating process before candidates declare

  • Implement the Unity Commission recommendations

  • Make sure all voices and constituencies are heard and engaged in the process

 

ADVANCING OUR CYBERSECURITY

Our communications, strategies and data are an essential part of determining how we move America forward. With challenges to securing information constantly evolving, keeping it safe must be a priority. We will:

  • Invest in much-needed systems to thoroughly detect potential breaches

  • Enlist outside experts for help and recommendations to strengthen our cybersecurity

  • Constantly monitor for systems attacks and unusual activity

  • Create a Chief Cybersecurity Officer reporting to the Chair with an in-house team to protect the DNC all day, every day; the Cybersecurity office will:

    • Report directly to the Chair

    • Proactively monitor the DNC for attacks and security breaches

    • Close the front door and all 50 windows: work with state parties and outside committees to identify security gaps and find solutions

  • Implement the recommendations of the Cybersecurity Advisory Board

Using Data to Drive Our Message

Democrats win when we talk about who we are and what we believe. As voters become less attached to institutions and parties, showing Americans how much our values overlap with theirs and the positive impact a Democratic vote can make on our shared vision for the country becomes even more important. But we need to deliver that message effectively, using and building the right data and tools make sure our efforts are impactful. To find and effectively reach those Americans, we will:

  • Invest in data and analytics to ensure state parties have access to the best information and capabilities in politics

  • Build new tools to empower outreach in every state

  • Increase DNC support for the National Voter File co-op and work to increase progressive partners using it

  • Create new DNC products to make it easier for voters to be engaged

  • Conduct a formal post-mortem on polling and analytics in 2016 and develop recommendations on how to improve going forward

 

BUILDING OUR YOUTH BASE

Young and millennial activists have a critical role to play in rebuilding and re-energizing our party and taking the fight to Donald Trump. They must be woven into the DNA of every single activity our party takes. But right now, our party is not listening, hearing and including young voters and activists in an impactful way. To make sure our party is inclusive of all voices and is engaging young and millennial voters to encourage and foster the next generation of progressive leaders, we will:

  • Build a bench of young, elected leaders to ensure our government is reflective of our largest generation at all levels

  • Create a mentoring program pairing new office seekers with experienced candidates to share knowledge and build a stronger support network for younger democrats seeking office

  • Hold progressive, issue-focused trainings with outside groups for activists across the country to strengthen our ability to engage supporters and fight back

  • Partner with youth leaders and activists within social and racial justice movements to help build the party with new energy and increased inclusivity

  • Support and invest in College Democrats, Young Democrats of America and the DNC Youth Council with funding and additional staffing to make sure our party reaches democrats of all ages

    • Train our CD and YDA local leaders to ensure each knows how to take advantage of all resources

    • Support voter registration efforts on college campuses

  • Listen, hear and act on millennial voters’ concerns to make sure the DNC reflects their issues and is inclusive of all perspectives

    • Create impactful messaging and programs to engage younger voters on the issues they care about

  • Ensure our party is reaching and organizing millennial and young voters through all available digital and social media tools

  • Provide training for CD and YDA members on the best practices for successful organizing, communications, fundraising and other aspects of campaigns to build the next generation of political leadership

  • Create a paid internship program to ensure there are no financial barriers to the participation of younger voters in our party

  • Ensure the DNC membership reflects the diversity of our party, including DREAMers, high school students, and activists

  • Work with other millennial organizations to determine what tools and programs are effective and impactful

EXPANDING OUR TECHNOLOGY

Technology connects and drives our efforts, from organizing in the field to helping candidates as they run for office. For too long, our technology development and infrastructure has been insufficiently maintained and under supported. To build the party and reach voters year round, the DNC needs to expand our technology department and offerings to take advantage of our tech supporters' abilities, wherever they are. To do this, we will:

  • Engage tech supporters to create new tools and platforms by creating a DNC Innovation Lab focused on exploring new ways to reach voters and support candidates and state parties

    • This Lab could be in the DNC or in a tech hub and would provide access to the DNC data, allowing progressive supporters to build tools on it

  • Keep, build and expand on the success of the presidential cycles’ tech hubs by continuing to recruit and engage tech volunteers across the country, in both rural and urban areas

  • Break the cycle of building, stopping, and redoing tech: increase funding for technology to ensure our presidential-year tools, data and infrastructure are used and developed every year

  • Create a Fellowship to encourage developers, programmers, data scientists, engineers and others to take time to focus on advancing progressive causes through technology

  • Ensure DNC tech seeks out, hires and retains a diverse staff to reflect our supporters

What is your vision for the Democratic Party?