Recently, while surfing social media, my eye caught a meme from a fellow Democratic Party activist that read, “Democrats ought to stop talking about a Blue Wave and start working to make it happen.”
I sense where his frustration may be coming from. It’s true that a lot of Democrats seem to have a strong level of confidence towards a victorious November. And yes, if the recent past is any indication, the political winds can change at any moment, causing common sense to escape scores of voters at the ballot box. Point is, the sentiment isn’t wrong.
Like many of you, I’ve engaged in and observed dozens and dozens of campaigns and elections over the decades. I’ve learned lessons, large and small. And, admittedly, I’ve had a role in contributing to miscalculations and the arrogance of assumptions that can and have led to painful and punishing losses. That’s why I’m determined to make sure we approach the 2018 Blue Wave very differently.
The belief that there lacks a “Democratic message” is the source of frustration that runs constant among pundits, critics and many fellow Democrats. Why are we against this or that? What are we for?
As the campaign season progresses, our message will become more amplified. But don’t dismiss the Democratic Party’s opposition as directionless whining.
Our message isn’t new. It’s a passionate, fundamental belief in fairness, equality and opportunity. For more than 70 years Democrats have led the construction of a society that relies on the economic prosperity of a working and middle-class majority. But, like never in our history, Republicans are determined to dismantle the successes of generations.
Our work is all about exposing the failures of the “greed-first” agenda. At the same time, we must work to promote a middle-class agenda that embraces diversity to, once again, build a prosperous majority.
The IDCCA has prepared for this moment through hands-on engagement and very hard work.
Since Bruce Rauner’s election in 2014, Democratic County Chairs throughout Illinois have recalibrated our purpose and our approach to influencing Illinois politics.
The IDCCA has always been an important part of the Democratic Party. We take seriously our work in partnering with party leaders, advocacy groups and a diverse pool of thousands of activists who believe that decency, equality, fairness and progress comes from working together, not from pitting neighbor against neighbor.
We’re not just talking about a 2018 Blue Wave. The fact is, we’re rocking our vessels to help stir up the waters. And, throughout the past three years, the IDCCA has been building a coalition of others who are helping to build that wave in ways never done before.
For example, take our recent candidate and activist boot camp. This intensive three-day event was held in Springfield just a few weekends ago. More than 200 participants attended the second year of this growing training event. Participants ranged from veteran campaigners to brand new, first-time county office candidates.
Through participant-driven seminars, the IDCCA and the National Democratic Training Committee (NDTC) detailed the nuts and bolts of what it takes to be successful in field work, fund-raising, public exposure and, generally, the keys to building a campaign apparatus that Republicans will have to reckon with. Not a single participant walked away from that weekend training without understanding that hard work is the lynchpin in a successful 2018 election outcome.
As President of the IDCCA, I view 2018 as more than just a snapshot election where we have the potential for strong victories in Congress, in the legislature and throughout our counties. Make no mistake, those victories are a primary goal that we’re working hard towards. But in addition, 2018 is the opportunity to build a strong Democratic Party presence within every region of the state.
Working in tandem with J.B. Pritzker and leadership throughout the Democratic Party, there is a renewed determination to make a significant investment in every single one of our 102 counties. The members of the IDCCA, who are each Democratic Party County Chairs themselves, have spent considerable time and effort in building goal-oriented political roadmaps. We are learning from one another, we are networking, and we are sharing the labor in transforming our grassroots attraction.
In the respect that my social media friend is weary of hearing the typical talk, I share his underlying fears. But I’m more confident than ever that the IDCCA and Illinois Democrats are engaged to harness and strengthen every opportunity we can to help a Blue Wave flood our state.
I invite that concerned friend of mine – and each of you – to engage us and partner with us here at the IDCCA.
- Participate in our events and help build a local movement to harness the enthusiasm that you know exists;
- Follow us on social media;
- Share our messages or weigh in with your own;
- Become a precinct committeeperson;
- Commit a couple of hours a week to a Democrat running for office;
- Be part of the hundreds of Party faithful who caravan to our 2018 Chairs’ Brunch at the State Fair;
- Work to make the Blue Wave happen.
Victory relies very much on what you’re able to contribute in your time, your ideas and your efforts. That’s the Blue Wave we’re building. How ‘bout we ride it together?