Tag Archives: CDP Vice-Chair

Why I’m Running for Vice-Chair of the California Democratic Party

For the last few years, I’ve been quite involved in the CDP.  I care deeply about the California Democratic Party and the tactics and policies that it pursues. I know that this Party can be a vehicle for real fundamental progressive policy change at all levels of government. However, we have a wide range of obstacles in front of us in the coming years to ensure that we strengthen our Party for the challenges of the next generation. That is why I have decided to run for vice-chair of the California Democratic Party.

As Democrats, we are fortunate. We needn’t concern ourselves with suppressing any voting blocs or hiding from our positions. The simple truth is that when the people come out to vote, we win. But turnout operations require people, thus we must become a truly people powered party. In word and deed. We need to continue the work of the neighborhood leader program, and build upon our recent successes. We need to register more voters, and then make sure they get to the polls.  That much we all know, but getting all that done requires a people-powered machine of volunteerism.

We must engage the grassroots of the party, and throw open the doors of the California Democratic Party.  It is increasingly clear that if we are to truly build a people-powered party that we need more transparency at all levels within the CDP. If we are to ask people to volunteer for our campaigns, shouldn’t they know what they are signing up for? It’s simply a matter of motivation, people are more likely to dedicate their time, effort, and resources to a party that explains their strategy to them.  This CDP should be of, by, and for grassroots Democrats as we attempt to ensure our collective success.

This people-powered party shouldn’t simply exist to serve a legislative caucus or any particular donor, but rather to ensure that the collective action of thousands of grassroots Democrats can be heard.  This means truly opening up ourselves to introspection.  It means reviewing our processes to ensure that we are an institution that is seeking the best solution rather than the easy solution. It means recalibrating ourselves to overcome inertia in the service of positive change. After all, if there is one thing that term limits have taught us, it is that incumbency is ephemeral, values are permanent.

But reform is a two-way street.  In order to build a truly people-powered party, we must follow up by building a program to increase donations to the party from grassroots activists. As transparency can increase activism, it can also increase fundraising.  While nobody expects to compete with presidential candidates, the growth of online donations from Howard Dean to Barack Obama shows that there is money there for those who speak clearly and openly of their beliefs. The same is true of the CDP .  Grassroots donations will not come until the grassroots activists are completely assured that their money will be spent wisely and for their intended purpose of supporting Democratic values.  This is not an overnight process, but rather a long process of growing relationships and building trust.

One way of supporting those Democratic values is to invest resources to expand the reach of our Party and fully implement our 58-County Strategy. Despite any conventional wisdom to the contrary, we are capable of growing the Party all across the state.We should encourage the growth of our Democratic County Central Committees and support their party-building efforts, whether they be volunteer voter registration drives or the hiring of regional field organizers.  Furthermore, we need to field candidates everywhere, because, as Howard Dean said, we can’t expect votes unless we ask for them.  We needn’t limit ourselves to the Coast, because despite the attacks that our leveled against us, we are right.

We are right that we can’t sell our civil liberties for a false promise of Big Brother providing us security. We are right that we all deserve access to health care without the concern of going broke (and then losing our homes to foreclosure). We are right that climate change presents to us a major and immediate challenge. We were right that Iraq was a war that should have never been authorized and never been waged. And we are right to provide the troops with all that we have promised, including quality health care and quality education when they return. Because despite the foolhardy nature of the mission, they have served admirably.  We are right that California, and the nation, need clean, publicly-owned, and trustworthy elections. And we are right that all Californians should be free to marry the one that they love.

We already have the capacity to make this a people-powered party. All the tools are already here. It’s simply a matter of will. Together we can build this CDP into our CDP .  Over the coming months I hope to talk to any delegates and as many interested Democrats as possible to discuss these challenges to the CDP in more detail.  I do not take this lightly. I have considered this for a long time, and feel that I can provide value to the CDP in the role of vice-chair. My experience with Calitics has given me a catbird seat view of the issues presented to the CDP.  And I am confident that my education and experience as a lawyer and a policy analyst will be an asset to the party. I have experience working for and against statewide propositions, and understand the good, bad, and ugly of California politics.  I have high expectations for this party and know that we will always have more work to do.  I’m ready to do some of that work.  If you have questions, let me know. Email me at brian AT calitics dotcom, and I’ll get back to you promptly. And if you’re going to be in Denver, well, I’ll do my best to speak to as many Californians as possible.

Bio: Brian Leubitz runs Calitics.com, the leading California progressive blog covering California politics and policy. He holds a law degree from the University of Texas and a Master of Public Policy (M.P.P) from the Goldman School at The University of California, Berkeley. After practicing law in San Francisco, Brian transitioned into politics and launched Calitics .com in 2005.  He has worked on several campaigns in the state, including the Yes on 93 (term limits reform) and the No on 98/Yes on 99 (eminent domain and property rights) campaigns. He currently is a member of the Democratic State Central Committee, serves on the CDP’s resolutions committee, and is on the boards of the San Francisco Young Democrats and the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club.