This following column is co-authored by Vincent Ryan, Delaware Democratic Activist and Fundraiser.
At the end of February in Atlanta the 447 members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) will elect their new officers. Had Hillary Clinton won the Presidency this would have been simple; she would have indicated her choice to lead the Party and that person would have been elected. But to the dismay of so many of us who supported her; and millions who have now taken to the streets including those who realize the mistake they made by not voting for her; we have a fight over who the leaders of the Party will be.
Listening to the candidates at the DNC coordinated forums, the final one Saturday in Baltimore, there is little difference on the goals each candidate has enunciated. They agree on the need to rebuild the Democratic Party state-by-state if we are to take back state legislatures, governorships and the Congress. The Democratic Party has long been known as the ‘Party of the People’ and there is recognition the Party has to reinvigorate and motivate people to take part in building the Party and then get them out to vote. The election made it clear the Democratic National Committee must refocus its efforts and message working with State and local groups to build them and develop that messaging.
Many wrote about why we lost the election and hindsight is always 20/20. Reality is our candidate won nearly 66 million votes, 3 million more than Trump. Unfortunately these votes weren’t all in the right states. So the issue is how to energize longtime Democratic voters and appeal to new voters and Independents. We know those voters don’t all think alike. It is too easy to assume all Independent voters are progressives or lean to the far left of the Party. So the new leaders of the DNC must be prepared to help state Parties appeal to the voters they need to win their state; helping them raise money and sharing expertise including technology.
Adam Parkhomenko running for the position of Vice Chair has all the experience and expertise needed to do that. Adam is by far the most qualified person seeking this position. He is an incredibly energetic millennial. He speaks to the cohort of millennials and Independents we must attract to build our Party but is also able to communicate with and motivate longtime Democrats. He is a progressive but just as important is his experience as a grassroots organizer and social media guru. He earned his credentials beginning at age 17 starting a draft Hillary movement and collecting 42,000 signatures. He was co-founder and Executive Director of Ready for Hillary PAC, successfully energizing through use of social media nearly 4 million people to join the organization and donate millions of dollars online. He did this and built a staff of over twenty, nearly all young and motivated to become part of the political process. This is the experience he will share with state parties helping them build their organizations.
Adam is running on a platform his website sums up in one sentence. “I will work to make our Party prominent in every state and region; develop effective digital tools that engage and serve our members; recruit and train volunteers and campaign staff; work closely with state and local chairs; and ensure that we expand our low-dollar donor base.” He clearly understands what his role as Vice Chair must be.
Adam understands we cannot gear up every four years for a Presidential race; have candidates and the DNC with extensive voter files, technology operations and fundraising operations then close it all down for another four years. He understands the Party will be built from the ground up with the DNC providing the needed expertise and training to local and state Parties. He is committed to having the DNC expand its low dollar fundraising and sharing the proceeds with state parties to support field operations and volunteer work. Adam understands State Parties must decide their priorities.
Adam has local and national campaign experience. He has campaigned for local candidates in once totally red-state Virginia, and served as National Volunteer Coordinator for Hillary Clinton’s winning primary campaign in 2016. He then served for the short general campaign as the DNC’s National Field Director. Adam worked on a plan focused on what were called Democratic Victory Councils (DVC’s), a model for the future to build the Party. These Councils included thousands of volunteers who signed on to help in their own states, and assist partner states if their state was reliably blue and already had a solid State Democratic Party. Just another indication of how Adam understands the power of people and the power of volunteers at the grassroots.
The authors of this column, both Democratic activists. support the goal of broadening the Party to take back State Legislatures, Governorships and Congress in 2018 and building the Party for success into the future. The Party must attract diverse young workers, voters and diverse candidates who believe in our Democracy and are willing to stand up to defend it and move it forward. This will be done by developing a long-term strategic plan starting today. No one is better prepared for this job than Adam Parkhomenko. We urge the 447 members of the DNC meeting in Atlanta at the end of February to cast their ballots for Adam for Vice Chair.