VNV Tuesday – An Inside Baseball Look at the DNC, from and by the DNC

Could the DNC be ready to kick some *ss again?
What follows is a post I started a few weeks ago, but I haven’t seen this information discussed much, if at all, so I’m going ahead with what may well be old news.

I 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).

Opening paragraph

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.

Priority: Rebuild

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.

Priority: Modernize

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.

Priority: Win

…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?

About DoReMI 165 Articles
Now a Michigander, by way of Ohio, Illinois, Scotland, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania. Gardener. Sewer. Democrat. Resister.


  1. Thanks, DoReMI!

    If true, this is EXCELLENT news! In Howard Dean days I used to contribute $25 a month to the DNC (let it be hereby noted I was working at a full-time job in those days). One thing that really bothered me about President Obama was the fact that he didn’t seem to care about Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy. And of course, the pusillanimous Rahm Emmanuel did away with it.

    If there is in fact an “every zip code counts” campaign I’d be moved to contribute $5 a month. I plan to stop my contributions to a couple of blogs that shall be nameless. I do believe that voter engagement is key. My next-door neighbor, in fact, doesn’t vote. “They’re all corrupt,” says he who just served 20 years in the U.S. Army and is sucking the government teat as a contractor. It’s people like him that need to be engaged.

    So we shall see!

    • Abandoning the 50 state strategy that helped elect Barack Obama was the most ignorant thing the Obama-era DNC did. I am not sure it came completely from Rahm, I think that David Axelrod, Man of Outsized Ego, had a hand in it as well. I saw first hand how they wrecked Wisconsin and paved the way for Scott Walker in 2010 with their national party “strategy”. All politics is local and the DNC chair became a patronage position instead of a real job.

  2. Good morning , Pond Dwellers, and thanks, DoReMi, for the double dose. I’m working on extracting myself from my kitteh. Not an easy task. I, for one, am encouraged by the DNC letter. Obviously, I’m going to adopt a “wait and see” attitude for the next few months and see what they’re up to before I start giving money again. Folks forget that there’s a whole organization behind Perez doing the actual work.

    51 and p/c with an expected high of 68. A good day to walk the dogs.

    • I’m in wait-and-see mode myself, but I found the explicit distinction between WWC and The Base encouraging. At least one person at the DNC gets it.

      I see a potential pie fight is brewing at l’Orange in my post, but I’m going to keep my distance and watch. I’m more than willing to listen to Bernie supporters if they’re acting in good faith, although at the moment, it’s not clear to me what point our visitor is trying to make. And I really need to learn to make my titles for the Village there a bit more bland. I do believe that anyone is welcome, but my title my have been inadvertent troll bait.

  3. {{{DoReMI}}} – thanks for the double duty – and this is very promising. Whether or not the CEO can do the follow through when other folks seems to want a “unity” movement (defined as “do what not-Dems tell us is best for Dems”) I do not know and therefore will withhold judgement (and money) until we see.

    I saw the pie start – some people just can’t seem to help themselves. But it shows that they are still lurking waiting for any opportunity to hop in and start something. And unfortunately that some of our team don’t recognize it in time to set phasers on ignore. sigh. But that attitude apparently didn’t help me so what do I know.

    Gotta get back to work. moar {{{HUGS}}} and also lots of Healing Energy.

    • I know the Unity Reform Commission has a lot of people on Twitter ready to set their hair on fire. I’m taking a more sanguine position (which may or may not be naive), because I know Hillary appointed more people to the commission than Bernie, and the picks Perez made are not ideologues either. That’s why I did a post here about the URC back in January or so; it bears watching but the overall mechanics favor the base.

      As far as the pie…to quote a famous Villager, “Meh.” I frankly don’t know enough about the ins-and-outs of Medicare for All or HR676 to engage with any intelligence, nor do I have any interest in fighting a premature battle. Yes, I think it should be part of a broad discussion as part of our vision going forward, but right now, I’m more interested in fighting the #TaxReformScam, rebuilding Puerto Rico, funding CHIP, and a myriad of other issues. Pragmatism is one of my strengths, not being a utopian visionary. We may need both, but I’ll stick with that which makes me even a tiny bit effective.

      • The people who want the least democratic changes and the least likely to result in Dem win changes are also the loudest – especially on Twitter. Which is one of the reasons I’m not on Twitter. (It looks like I may have to get on Twitter to keep in touch with some of my friends as the avenue I have been using has been cut off, perhaps/is looking like permanently – but I will wait until the next family gathering so my sons and grandsons can help me do it in the most secure way possible.)

        yeah, I’m a pragmatic progressive too. That’s why we belong to the Villages. A pragmatic approach is like a PV system. It can be built in stages and each stage produces power – stage I and II of course produce more power than stage I alone, but stage I still produces power. A idealist approach is like a gas, coal, or nuke plant – its projected power production may be many times any of the stages of the PV system or even the entire system. But it produces nothing and actually takes power until it is completely built. And when we are talking about things that impact people’s lives, well the PV system approach may not save as many lives as the fossil plant would if online but it will save a lot more lives than the fossil plant until it comes online. So yeah, we save that one life we can right now – because if we waited until we could save 100, well, that one would already be dead.

        Always {{{HUGS}}} and lots more Healing Energy.

  4. I think the pie throwing is over and the lentil soup is cooked. Note to self: Don’t use DNC in title of diaries. 😂

    Lunch to eat and puppies to walk.

    • {{{WYgalinCali}}} – good thought. They’re always lurking in The Village just waiting for an opportunity – the fewer they are given the better. Hope you enjoyed lunch and skritches to da puppies. moar {{{HUGS}}}

      • We have a super donor at the SPCA who is paying all adoption fees November thru December on any animal. We might have a dozen dogs right now and at least half are awaiting their surgery. Normal occupancy on dogs alone is over 100. That’s something to be thankful for. {{{HUGS}}}

  5. Great post, DoReMI – from you and Jess. :)

    This is true and it identifies one of our party’s biggest problems: “the DNC has been overly focused on electing a president every 4 years”.

    The old saying “Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line” destroyed us last year. People who did not love Hillary Clinton stayed home or voted third party and Republicans, who were focused on the Supreme Court and repealing the ACA, voted for a thin-skinned vulgarian because electing a Republican outweighed any hesitation they had about the grossness of their nominee. Democrats made the mistake of underestimating the level of tribalism and that it would trump decency. I don’t want us to ever get to that point (I don’t think it could happen given our platform and party values) but we need smarter voters who understand the two party system and vote D even when they are lukewarm about the candidate or maybe unhappy with the candidate’s position on GMOs for example.

    I hope that the New DNC is what brought us Virginia 2017 because that is definitely on the right track. I will probably still not give them any money, I prefer targeting giving to a candidate, but I will watch their progress and root them on.

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