Political car parts

by | May 30, 2013 | Democrats, Features, NC Politics, Politics | 3 comments

So I wrote a piece last week in my efforts to explore the issues within the Democratic Party and how to fix them, which got quite the response.  Many of the comments the piece generated reflected deep, long standing rifts within the party.  They’re the same issues I’ve seen among the operative class; rivalries between field and finance people, arguments over whose contribution is more important.  Looking at it from the outside though, I finally see how destructive this bickering really is.  As a field guy, I’ve definitely had my moments where I cursed donors for not getting their hands dirty, but I realize that I was wrong now, so let me be the first to offer an apology.

The truth is that if we want to be successful, we need to recognize that we need one another’s efforts, and that all of our contributions are equally important if we want to start winning elections again.  Without donors and finance people, we wouldn’t have the money needed for field and communications to communicate and get voters to the polls.  Without comms or field to drive the message and direct the volunteers, we’d just have a big pile of money and no one to implement the programs needed to win elections.  While it’s easy for field people and volunteers to see how the sweat from their brows translates to votes, we rarely think of all of the work donors have to do in order to make the money that they so generously donate to make our efforts successful.  Think of political work as a car, the donors are the gasoline that makes it run, the operatives are the pistons that drive it, and communications people are the dashboard and headlights that let us see how we’re doing and where we’re going.  Without all of these pieces working together, the car goes nowhere.

While we’ve all been busy bickering in the backseat about who’s contribution is more valuable, those who’d rather tell us all what to do than recognize another’s contribution have taken the wheel, and unless we start working together again, they’re gonna drive us all off a cliff.


  1. wafranklin

    Some good observations. There is a small rump group, not in the larger body, which thinks has adopted Tea Party Tactics to get its own very narrow way. Some of these people, who say they mean well, have been frantically with their hair on fire trying to rewrite history and the governing document of the Democratic Party through shrill and vacuous accusations. Most of these people self-righteously do not care about damage to the Party, which is the primary infrastructure we have to fight Republicans, including a few old legislators and the tribe of young’uns with whom they are affiliated. Despite the loud and raucous, and all too public accusations of this small group – designed to make it appear that there is some symmetry between the majority of the party, who want on with business of ridding the land of Republicans, and this small group of malicious dissidents with media connections and a somewhat apparently vindictive videographer – there is no symmetry. Those of us who have undertaken to reply to these defamatory and scurrilous attacks on the Chair of the party have been viciously excoriated, repeatedly. And, yes, this goes way back to the efforts of these pundits, consultants and YDs to unseat David Parker in 2012, led by people who wanted to seat Don Vaughan, ex-state senator from Guilford and long time member of ALEC, which is best known as a Koch criminal conspiracy.

    All this nonsense must cease immediately, if not sooner. It drives away donors, alienates hard core Democrats – the real workers and creates impressions of instability in the Party. Which one of these people attacking Voller will give him back the reputation which they have so thoroughly smeared by their infantile and immature actions. We trusted the young ones and they bit the hell out of the Party and Voller.

  2. Steve Harrison

    Frankly, I find this whole issue extremely frustrating. If the Republican takeover of the General Assembly and the Governor’s mansion had not produced much change in the direction of government, I might be able to understand a little intra-party rivalry to “refine” what the NCDP stands for. Give voters a better choice, as it were.

    But the government has changed, radically, and the focus should be a unified message to the voters that they made a horrible choice in the last few elections. But most of the messaging I’ve seen lately is just the opposite: that Democrats are base, corrupt, and squabbling over who gets to control what few resources donors are willing to squander on such madness.

    I’m not an insider, with the information I would need to make a choice between the two camps. And the fact that I feel lucky about that should cause some of these folks to pause and ponder. But I doubt it will.

    • Matt Phillippi

      Steve, thanks for the comment. For the record, you’re not the only one who finds it frustrating. Hopefully this will get folks thinking about talking to one another, and I can get back to highlighting the insanity that is the Republican led legislature.

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