Unlike some I believe in the idea of the county party. I believe that the county party can and should serve as an essential organizational structure for the Democratic Party; the problem is that they do not perform as well as they could or should perform. Like many organizations county parties MAY (your county may differ) suffer the same limitation that many volunteer organizations suffer from….. volunteer fatigue/drama.
I believe that the county party should be the nexus of Democratic politics in any given county in Texas. Very early in working with my county party I was advised to view the county like a high school with the leadership of the party like the student council and all of the various constituent groups as cliques. In the end the person advised me that the student government was irrelevant and it was better to rally the cliques to get ideas moving. I patently rejected this idea. We as Democrats should not hold the view that the individual is greater than the group The party structure is not something to bypass or regard as a roadblock. We as must recognize that the party should reflect our ideas and our complexion. It is incumbent upon us to demand that our county party perform effectively and reinforce that conviction by giving of our time, talent and money.
Being part of the structure we must look at ourselves critically and expect ourselves to perform in an efficient and effective manner and implement innovative solutions to challenges that the organization may face. In volunteering to make up the organization we become the organization and the wins and losses are our wins and losses. It is far easier to stay on the sidelines and complain about a party running an election cycle poorly but just like my 7thgrade football coach use to say… don't complain…. do something. If you think something is not performing well get involved; just complaining never solved anything.
From the party perspective an individual's time and talent should be viewed more important than their money. A party may find it easier to view people as a source of revenue rather than a reliable work force but this is short sighted and incredibly ineffective. A person's worth is found in what they can do and not in how much money they can give. A volunteer is more persuadable than a paid operative for a campaign. Now obviously fundraising is important because the world does not run on goodwill and sunshine, I submit that utilizing individual's willingness to serve will produce more in the way of fundraising than palliative pleas for donations.
A county party is a volunteer organization, from the precinct chair to the county chair. Most county parties are staffed by determined volunteers that share a commitment to democratic principles and electing democratic candidates. Along with volunteer organizations come volunteer bullies. These are the friendly faces that we all face in planning meetings who's default setting is NO. They come in all fashions, shapes, sizes and demeanors. Generally their critiques are prefaced by the sentiment that whatever is being proposed has never been done. These agents of sediment can be the biggest impediment to an organization progressing. Rather than serving as a reasoned response they morph into stalwart of refusal; boohooing any idea. While their reasons and rationales for being this way are far more varied than their responses they do far more damage to the organization than they help. There isn't much than can be said about these fine folks but again drawing upon my 7thgrade football season… if you ain't tackling something you are helping the other team.
Now believe it or not that saying people always throw around that is credited to Will Rodgers “I am not a member of any organized party – I am a Democrat” (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Will_Rogers) is NOT something to be proud of. Cleaning to this as a punch line or a dismissive statement to be flung around when something does not get done because of disorganization is not an endearing or cute sentiment; it is counterproductive and again helps the other team.
In the end if any of us have the feeling that a county party is an organization of derision there is something wrong. The party should act as the organization focal point for democratic politics within a county and if it doesn't it should be changed to do so. Just as an individual campaign has a focused organizational structure so too should the party.