Chris Bowers For Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee
by Chris Bowers, Thu May 11, 2006 at 09:25:50 AM EDT
Here at MyDD, I have consistently pushed for both a full-fledged 50-state strategy (you know, that strategy that the DCCC and the DSCC apparently don't like) and for the grassroots and netroots to engage in what Jerome termed "the silent revolution," where progressive, reformist Democrats run for local party offices. It is in the spirit of those two philosophies that today I am announcing my run for Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee.
The idea was first floated to me on Sunday night by my friend Kevin Scott, who serves with me on the committee for the Philadelphia Democratic Party in Ward 27. He informed me that the state party committee is composed of six members from each of the sixty state senatorial districts in Pennsylvania. However, in our district, district #8 (PDF map), only one person was on the ballot for state party committee. One out of six. This is in a state Senate district that is around 85%-90% Democratic. An active and vibrant party would have contested primaries for these six seats, not leave five of six vacant.
Even in this situation, I have to admit that I was reluctant to take Kevin up on his offer. In order to win one of the five vacant seats, someone would need 100 or more write-in votes on Election Day. I knew that would be a difficult task. This is not even to mention that I have a very full plate of political work already, and that I am not exactly the most popular person within the state Democratic Party (in fact, I sometimes wonder if I am the least popular Democrat within the state party). For these reasons, at first I resisted Kevin's offer completely. However, before the phone call ended, I agreed to at least think about it.
That was Sunday night. I spent the next day, Monday, observing the Lamont campaign in Connecticut. As I wrote yesterday, the experience brought back strong memories of the Dean campaign in 2003. While unsuccessful, Dean for America was the engine that propelled ideas like the silent revolution and the fifty-state strategy into mainstream status. Spending a day watching dozens of activists in Connecticut living out the silent revolution and the fifty-state strategy was a powerful reminder to me that in order to bring about the changes I desire, I had to do a lot more than just blog about it on MyDD. We cannot rely on other people to make these changes for us--we have to do it ourselves. On Tuesday morning, I called Kevin and told him I would accept his offer to run for state Democratic committee.
This is not going to be an easy campaign. One hundred write in votes is not an easy task, especially when you have only six days and five nights to pull it off. However, because of the ongoing success of the silent revolution in Philadelphia, I believe we can do it. We should be able to find more than enough votes simply through our friends, our ward committee (and their friends), a neighboring ward committee, Neighborhood Networks, the Penn Democrats, and local Democracy for America. In fact, the only reason we even have a chance to pull this off is because there is an ongoing, broadly based movement to transform and revitalize local Democratic politics. The Philadelphia silent revolution has made this opportunity possible
I believe that in the event I am elected to state Democratic committee, I can bring a lot to the table to help both the Pennsylvania State Party and the progressive reform movement. If I am on the Pennsylvania state committee, I believe that no other state party committee in the nation would possess greater knowledge about the nature of online political activity. I could bring valuable insight and skills on how to build a strong local blog scene to transform local media, and how to tap into the deep well of political activism that is the netroots. At the same time, I believe I can serve as a truly progressive voice within what strikes me as the generally conservative Pennsylvania Democratic Party. I could also push for important reforms such as greater intra-party democracy, challenging every Republican held office in the state, and fewer party endorsements in primaries. Overall, I think I would serve as a vital link between the established state party and the newly energized progressive reform movement. I believe that both groups can be changed, both groups can be strengthened, and that ultimately both groups are better off when they can work together in a sustainable progressive ecosystem.
If, on the off-chance that you happen to be a registered Democrat living in the eighth senatorial district of Pennsylvania, (PDF map) I am asking you right now to write in the following two names for state party committee on Tuesday, May 16th:
Christopher J. Bowers
Kevin W. Scott
Instructions on how to do so can be found in the extended entry.
Update: Write-in instructions clarified. Also, you can determine if you are in this district by using this nifty tool.
- 1) Find the box marked "Member of Democratic State Committee" (third from the bottom of the ballot).
- 2) Press the "write-in" button for that section of the ballot. The square red button at the top of the machine will start blinking.
- 3) Press the blinking red button. The black shutter next to it will automatically open, showing the paper.
- 4) Write or stamp Christopher J. Bowers in that box.
- 5) Pull down the black shutter, closing it.
- 6) Repeat steps 1-5 with the name Kevin W. Scott.
- NOTE: If you have any difficulties, poll workers will gladly assist you, even if you have already begun the voting process.