All of the recent talk about the dysfunction within the North Carolina Democratic Party has gotten me thinking about how to fix those problems. If the Democratic Party wants to get back in the business of getting Democratic candidates elected they need to look within, they need to look to the hard working men and women of the Guilford County Democratic Party.
It’s not easy being a local Democratic party in North Carolina. Those outside of Raleigh are often overlooked or ignored by the State Party, or at best are looked at as provincial locals. However the amazing thing about Guilford County is that rather than bemoaning their fate, they simply buckle down and do the best they can with the resources they have, and, let me tell you, their best is pretty impressive.
Instead of duplicating the canvas operations of the state party or other organizations, Guilford focuses on candidates that don’t necessarily have the resources to do it themselves. When I worked there in 2010, they had a fully staffed, targeted program of door knockers and callers who worked independently on behalf of a local State Rep who found herself in a hotly contested race. They communicated and coordinated with all of the local managers and OFA to make sure their efforts weren’t redundant, and those efforts were rewarded with a victory.
In addition, the Guilford party is relatively self-sustaining. This year, when the Guilford Party realized they needed a bigger space, they didn’t beg the State Party for money. Instead they worked with their local resources and found a space three times the size for the same rent.
That’s the thing about Guilford. You don’t know their names. They’re not in it for the glory, and they don’t care about credit. Moreover, while I’m sure they’ve had their squabbles, in three cycles of work there as an outsider, I never saw them. If the NCDP wants to start winning elections again, they need to look within, and the Guilford County Democratic Party would be a damn good place to start.