Brief recap of DNC meeting in Phoenix

19 Jan 2017 01:23 pm
Posted by: Donna

dnc press pass

For a thorough accounting of the DNC Meeting last Saturday in Phoenix, (or at least the most important part, the DNC Chair Forum) Elizabeth Rogers at Crooks and Liars has you covered. I helped a little with it and suggest you read it to provide context for these follow-up takeaways of mine.

I had every intention doing a full-blown article about the meeting, and even got press credentials for it (my first!) but I learned I can either take notes or live tweet, and guess which one I did?

And so on.

I did have a chance to chat at length after the Chair forum with the delightful Jehmu Greene, who resigned as a contributor to Fox News to run for Chair, and was doubly impressed with her background in organizing and emphasis on the importance of media. We both agreed media is hostile to Democrats and it’s not just Fox, but all of them.

This is a needed discussion, as some of the other DNC Chair candidates, having backgrounds in campaigns, insisted neighbor-to-neighbor contact was key and were dismissive of “media” as consultants justifying big ad buys. I’m not so sure about that. Jaime Harrison, Chair candidate who chairs the South Carolina Democratic Party, got off a great line at the forum with, “Rhetoric is defeated by relationships!”

Okay, but anyone who has Republicans in their lives knows this isn’t true. You can work and break bread with people all the time, but if they’re going right back to media sources that mislead them, then all your efforts are eradicated. Field is important, but so is media. Including ads. Ask 2014 Arizona Governor candidate Fred DuVal about that. We are being crushed in the media war and no amount of door knocking (important as that is!) is going to overcome it.

I was encouraged by many things I heard at the meeting, including both Tom Perez and Keith Ellison (candidates for Chair who are viewed as the proxy war between Obama/Clinton and Sanders) advocating strongly for measures to combat voter suppression. Perez wants the DNC to have teams in place on the ground to address suppression. Ellison wants to go after felon disenfranchisement and agreed with Jehmu Greene on ending voter registration entirely.

Both Perez and Ellison are stand-up guys as far as I’m concerned.

What appears to be the main Perez/Ellison rift emerged when Christine Pelosi, DNC Member from California, asked about corporate donations. Pelosi was clear that she believed they should be banned. Ellison and some of the other Chair candidates agreed with her. Perez warned against the “unintended consequences” of doing such a thing, followed by Jaime Harrison more fully inveighing against the idea by warning how such a ban would starve state parties of funds. I agree with Harrison here. I understand the concerns with corporate donations but most politicos are not iconic figures like Barack Obama or Bernie Sanders who can raise large sums of money through small individual donations. We shouldn’t be tying the hands of state and local Dem organizations like that.

My main takeaway is agreement with Elizabeth Rogers that Democrats are not as divided as we seem (but we’re still divided over some things!) and that DNC members will elect capable leaders next month.

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