What You Can Do In Addition to Voting & Marching: Participate

I’ve been hearing from a lot of people who want to do something, anything, to help change the way things are right now. I hear you and that’s why I am redoubling my efforts to encourage people to become more involved. Marching and assisting to Get Out The Vote are essential to positive change and if that is your passion, please continue in your efforts. But also know that there is more you can do, and it sounds like you want to do more.

I’ve also been hearing a lot of people frustrated with the current Democratic party and snarking about “voting harder.” But here’s the thing. Lobbing insults about voting does not actually DO anything. It does not change the current Democratic party (which is ostensibly still a better choice for people who are not socially conservative). It does not get legislation passed. It does not get leftist candidates elected. In fact the only thing it DOES do is discourage voting. Which is the absolute LAST thing we need in this country right now. Please stop. Your feelings are valid, but put that energy to productive use or you risk being just as detrimental to positive change as those you oppose.

So whether you are desperate to do more or are enraged that more hasn’t already been done, if you are well and truly serious about Doing Something more than just voicing frustration, we need you to show up. As I have said repeatedly before, the party is not a monolith. It is literally comprised of those who show up. They are the ones debating resolutions, rules and platform planks. They are the ones voting for party leaders. If you consider voting to be fundamental (which it is), voting for who leads the party you most align with is even more fundamental.

It does take more work than walking in to a polling place every couple of years or so, but not overwhelmingly more work. Just a little more work. Just show up to your Senate District meetings at least a few times a year. They aren’t long. Then become a State Delegate. Yes, just like that. It’s just as easy as that. If you are mad as hell and serious about change, this is what you do.

We need you to attend your party’s senate district meetings. They are the building blocks of the party.

But here’s the thing, you don’t have to attend every meeting or donate money to participate. In fact, in the Democratic Party in Texas, there is such low participation in “off-cycle” (midterm election) convention years, you don’t even have to attend the Senate District Convention to be named a State Delegate to the Democratic State Convention. The only condition is that you have voted in the most recent primary. Then you can just sign up to be a delegate. That’s literally it.

At the State Convention you can then work with others (caucus) to form the platform, resolutions and rules that literally make up the party. All you have to do is be in the room where it happens and it is remarkably easy to do so.

In fact, it is SO easy that some Republicans advocated for their party members to “to take control of the local Democratic Party by having their own candidates run for Democrat precinct captain positions.”

We NEED you to get involved. Especially if you want to see change.

There is no charge for the convention itself at any level. And most of the people I see complaining are not people who are economically disadvantaged, but if financial reasons prevent you from being able to travel to and attend the convention, there are scholarships and people willing to help. There are ride shares and room shares. There are people who have the money, but not the time and are willing to help fund those who can attend. There are ways to make it happen, so please do not feel like you can’t participate for financial reasons.

And yes, while I am speaking from my personal experience with the Democratic Party, this applies to the entire political spectrum.

If you are a Democrat, which is intentionally a big tent, we need your participation to effect change from the old guard that is less inclined to move away from the status quo.

If you are more leftist, your party HAS GOT to show up down ballot and build a deep and wide field of strong candidates. Do not rely on one or two superstars. Build. Your. Party. It would be amazing to see a viable third party. I know it can be done. People just need to show up.

If you are more conservative and appalled at what you are seeing in the January 6 hearings, I BEG you to get involved and veer your party away from what it has become. You HAVE to show up and take back your party. Or start a new one. But you have to stop aligning yourself with the fringe right.

In politics, because so few people speak up, when an elected official hears from a constituent they consider that one voice, depending on the location, to represent on the order of 20-200 other constituents. We know that calling and writing works. What works even more is when those constituents are involved in the party.

Show up.

Be in the room where it happens.

It’s time to register for your county convention.

Texas (and I’m sure most other states, too), it’s time to get registered for your county convention.

Go. Do it. Literally no one goes to these things and just assumes a party is a monolith. They are not.

THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE CHANGE IN POLITICS.

The county convention is the first step in how political parties decide their platforms and rules. And it’s local. No travel required.

It’s also where State delegates are elected and sent to the state convention where state rules and platforms are voted on and national delegates are elected. National Delegates, pledged to a candidate based on primary results, vote for the presidential candidate who will represent the party on the national ballot. They also take the state platform to the national convention to work with other states to form the party platform. An “off cycle” (midterm) convention is an excellent way to get your feet wet and see what they’re all about.

Other parties follow the same general procedures.

Feel free to ask me any questions.

Literally all it takes is showing up.

Your friendly, local National Delegate here to remind you that despite what some headlines say, since Sanders did not withdraw, there was more than one candidate and so procedurally there had to be a move to nominate and second all remaining candidates. It’s kind of the whole point of the convention. That and the platform and rules.

Which leads me to a big reason Sanders did not withdraw. It allowed progressives to influence the platform and rules. Maybe not as much as some would have liked, but definitely more than if they had not had a seat at the table.

Which also brings me to the definition of progressive: happening or developing gradually or in stages. It was designed to be slow, building consensus is a slow process, but we ARE making progress.

And finally, I did nothing special and gave no sizable donations to become a National Delegate. If you’re interested, I’m happy to talk more about it. But the short version: I showed up. It’s literally that simple.

This is what happens when more people get involved.

I’m proud to have been a Texas State Delegate that voted for this platform. Happy to answer any questions you have to help you get (more) involved.

“Every two years at the state convention, the Texas Democratic Party adopts a new platform that articulates the core ideas and beliefs that govern the party. Planks in the platform — from healthcare to education to criminal justice reform — form the foundation of what Texas Democrats aspire to achieve for society, often through formal legislation introduced by the party’s elected officials. This year, the Texas Democratic Party passed a sweeping platform that rivals the most progressive states in the nation…Now enshrined in the Texas Democratic Party platform — which passed with 94 percent of the vote of all state delegates — are a slate of Sanders’ most transformative policies, including Medicare for All; a Green New Deal; abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, or ICE; eliminating student debt; providing free college tuition for low-income students; funding Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions; starting teachers’ salaries at $60,000; internet for all; reparations for the descendants of slaves; and decriminalizing border crossings. The passage of the state’s most progressive party platform in history is nothing short of a momentous victory for a political movement founded in delivering social, racial, economic, and environmental justice for working-class people, students and young people, immigrants, and communities of color.”

Texas Signal

2020 Virtual State Democratic Convention

If you’ve ever wanted to know what a State Democratic Convention looks like, it’s currently streaming live and you can go back and watch anything you’ve missed as well.

This is my second year to be a State Delegate to the Texas Democratic Convention, so please let me know if you have any questions about how it all works. I’m by no means an expert, but I can find out!

Tomorrow morning, Saturday, June 6 at 10am (after the VDR training at 9am), is the closing general session with the following line up:General Session with Vice President Joe Biden, Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, Former HUD Secretary and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa, Texas Democratic Party Vice Chair Dr. Carla Brailey, U.S. Senate Candidate MJ Hegar, US Senate Candidate and State Senator Royce West, Congressman Al Green, Congressman Lloyd Doggett, Congressman Henry Cuellar, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, State Senator José Rodríguez, Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee Chair Celia Israel, State Representative John Bucy, State Representative Senfronia Thompson, Annie’s List Executive Director Royce Brooks, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Executive Director Dyana Limon-Mercado, Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy, and Texas AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Montserrat Garibay. Featuring closing musical guests Little Joe & La Familia and Robert Earl Keen.