just recently received a letter from the DNC, yet another trying to get me to start contributing again. I’m more of an ActBlue user these days, but I have given to the DNC in the past; usually their letters go straight to the recycle pile, but this one slowed me down and caught my interest. It included a September 2017 “memo” from Jess O’Connell, the new DNC CEO, with the heading, “New Leadership, New Mission – Let’s Win.” Because it’s from a public mailing, I am assuming there are no fair use restrictions and will be quoting from it ahem liberally. It’s lengthy but well-worth reading; for those who want to follow her on Twitter, Jess O’Connell is @JessOConne11 (note she uses ones instead of “ells” for her last name).
I recently crossed my 100-day mark as CEO at the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Over that time, Chairman Perez and I have taken a hard look and had some tough conversations to determine the steps we need to take to win. This review confirmed what we already believed to be true: the DNC has been overly focused on electing a president every 4 years. That includes starving state parties of badly needed national support to resource their work, organizing year-round up and down the ticket, and an under-investment in infrastructure technology and data.
A new mission
The new mission of the Democratic National Committee is to elect Democrats from the school board to the Oval Office. Accordingly, the DNC is focused on winning elections in 2017. And we are focused on four foundational priorities which are crucial for us to compete and win now and in the future.
We’ve done a complete overhaul of staff, infrastructure, and organizational priorities. Our team has grown over 33% the past 4 months. The new DNC is full of new people with fresh eyes from the smartest places in politics and the outside industries we know we need…
The DNC is in the process of rebuilding, and that includes our fundraising efforts. We are on track to raise about what we’ve raised in 2013 and 2015 at this time, but we want to do better. So far in 2017, 70% of the DNC’s contribution revenue has come from grassroots donors – a record for an “offyear.”
Priority: Organize (bolded emphasis mine)
Politics is local. It’s time we treated it that way. Beginning this October, the DNC will launch an unprecedented commitment to grassroots organizing through state parties. Our plan, Every ZIP Code Counts, offers a first-of-its-kind $10 million competitive grant program to further invest in local Democratic organizing. We’re also funding monthly support for state parties that will be a 33% increase from 2016 and 100% increase from 2015…
Many have suggested that the Democratic Party should focus on organizing the white working class OR our base. This is a false choice. If we want to win, we must do both. We will build programs that leave no community behind just because they may be difficult to win or hard to reach. The DNC is creating several programs to invest meaningfully in communities representing the base of our party – so no voter feels like we just show up around election time and ask for their vote and then ignore them the rest of the year. Those days are over…
This fall, we will launch Winning with Partners in 2018, a collaborative effort to network with local progressives and partners to help ensure that all of our base communities know that the Democratic Party is fighting for them.
The DNC is getting a top-to-bottom overhaul. While we’re getting back to the basics of organizing and investing in our long-term infrastructure, we’re also breaking down silos across the organization, stepping up the DNC’s technology, supporting grassroots & online mobilization, starting up a full voter protection and empowerment team, and focusing on small dollar fundraising. The stark reality is that while the Republicans have made massive investments in their voter targeting and technology ($175 million since 2013), Democrats haven’t had a significant investment in any data infrastructure since approximately 2010…
We are recruiting and integrating the highest levels of tech staff into all of our programs. We’re working to secure the DNC and all state parties and support them with a national tech hotline. We are modernizing our IT and holding our vendors more accountable to our continuity and success. Long-term, we are rebooting our data infrastructure, building a “campaign toolkit,” and rethinking how we are doing voter engagement.
…To win, we must ensure that no less than every eligible American is engaged as an active participant in our democracy. Democrats are fighting voter suppression tactics to create free, fair, and accessible elections. The Republican assault on access to the ballot box has been decades in the making. They have made discriminatory voter ID laws and voter roll purges a staple of their political playbook. Now President Trump (ed. normally I wouldn’t even spell out his name, but it’s a quote) is launching these attacks from the White House with a bogus, taxpayer-funded “voter fraud” commission. This is nothing more than a disgraceful attempt to deny Americans the right to vote, and the Democratic Party will fight it at every turn. That’s why we’ve launched our own commission at the DNC to respond. This work complements our newly created Civic Engagement and Voter Protection to combat Republican voter suppression tactics and with states to increase participation…
So what do you think? Good news? Pure PR? Somewhere in between?
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