A series of wins in local elections for Democrats shows that the party efforts to rebuild through local and state races are bearing fruit, and laying the groundwork for next generation of state, federal, and maybe even presidential candidates.
HuffPost reported on a series of local elections in Ilinois where Democrats picked up seats that they had never won before.
What was key was how they won the seats:
“We had a pretty good day,” said Dan Kovats, executive director of the Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association. “We won in areas we normally would win, but we also won in areas Republicans never expected us to be competitive in. They were caught flat-footed.”
In the case of Illinois, a number of Democrats who just won got a boost from a program launched by Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) called Build The Bench. It’s an all-day boot camp that offers nuts-and-bolts details for running a successful campaign. Bustos came up with the idea last year when she noticed a dearth of new Democratic candidates for Congress and decided the best way to help build up her party’s ranks was at the local level.
People who believe that the answer for Democrats is simply to throw money into all races nationwide are only getting part of the picture. Before a party can compete in every race nationwide, it first has to draft and train talented candidates, and build local Democratic parties so that the candidates have the support system and resources needed to win.
Many local Democratic parties around the country are in disrepair. They are underresourced and many lack the infrastructure and trained leadership that is needed to win local elections.
If the Democratic Party is going to win back state legislatures, governorships, Congress, and the White House, the process begins by developing and winning at the local level.
When Democrats talk about rebuilding from the grassroots up, results like what happened in Illinois are exactly what they are referring to.
The process of bringing Democrats back to the top of the political mountain begins with ordinary Americans getting involved with their local party in cities, towns, and neighborhoods all across the country.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association