A lot of people are frustrated with the Democratic Party. Here in Lexington, Fayette Dems are treated to a largely proactive and excellent set of Party leaders, which makes sense because most everything in Fayette County is excellent. What we don’t always have are responsive elected leaders — like a Congressman who votes to slash food and medicine aid to HIV-infected women and poor children around the world, and State Reps who pointlessly vote to disenfranchise our State Senator. But, good Dems, you do have a choice and you do have power. The Party is yours, so you can always work to change it, reshape it, reorganize it and take it over.
One of the simplest and most direct ways to do this is not by giving money to the Party but rather giving time… and not even that much.
On March 31st, 2012, the Democratic Party will gather at in its most local form… at voting precincts around the State. If you are a registered Dem, then at 10AM on March 31st, you just go to your local polling place.
There, you and other Dems will vote to elect the Party’s Precinct Delegates. Three people will be selected from each precinct — a man, a woman, and a youth (which is generously defined as someone under 35!). If 8 people show up, three of them are selected. If three people show up, then you’ve got a really good chance of being elected.
Once you are elected, you get fairly minimal but very important responsibilities. These are:
• Recruit volunteers to help with the Committee and campaigns
• Participate in the functions of the Executive Committee
• Electing the Democratic County Executive Committee at the County Convention
• Electing Delegates to the State Convention
• Keeping current records of Democrats in the precinct
• Distributing communications from the party
• Elect nominees for the ballot when there is a vacancy in county officials
• Perform duties as requested by the County Democratic Executive Committee
In other words, you are not only on the front lines of the Party, you are shaping the Party. You are taking control of it.
It also means you have the chance to move up the ladder. If you are elected to your Precinct Committee, you not only then vote at the County Convention (April 14th), you could become a delegate to the State Convention (June 2nd) and you could, further, become a delegate to the National Convention… one of those very excited political nerds and other assorted weirdos who wear funny hats, hold vertical state signs, and clap on queue when they are told to in the midst of a massive political carnival.
I’m oversimplifying all of this, of course, but… if you want to be a delegate, if you want more control over the Party, or if you just want to be more involved, March 31st @ 10AM is the time to start.
We’re pretty lucky in Fayette County and so are those fools over in Jefferson. Many others… not so much. But wherever you are, wherever you vote, the party is yours for the taking.
All you have to do is gather up some friends, head to your polling place, and take it.
The state Party has a very helpful handbook, give it a read (PDF).