Thursday, March 1, 2018

New Frontiers for Collin County Democratic Party

From Precinct Chairs to volunteers (new and veteran), we have many caring people ready to see progress through for the Collin County Democratic Party. But the question of who our next Chair will be isn't just about where we've been or who we are. A more pressing question is: Where are we going?

As we wrap up early voting in the 2018 mid-term primaries, statistics show us that people are voting on Republican ballots in Collin County at an astounding rate of 2:1 over Democratic ballots. Coupled with current and past CCDP Leadership failing to build effective infrastructure or 
to elect Democrats for over two decades, we are facing a new frontier. 

Republicans know all of this, of course. How could they not? For decades now, I daresay, they've exploited it. Beyond local Republicans dominating non-partisan offices, one need not look further than the red mapping efforts after Obama was elected in 2008 to see profound evidence of Democrats losing political ground, locally and nationally, at all levels of government.

Yes: We have an influx of people running for office under the Democratic Party flag in Collin County. And, Yes: We are seeing an amazing turnout compared to years past. But, No: This surge isn't because of some specific planned efforts of local Democratic Party Leadership. In fact, the current party chair said at a public event in March 2017, that "we were not prepared" for the amount of people wanting to help the party after Trump was elected.

As someone who witnessed party activity both before and after November 2016, it seems to me that the rising tide of Democrats is built upon time and circumstance. In this case, that circumstance was the election of Donald Trump. Time has worked in favor of current leadership, but lack preparation is making our work difficult.

Time and circumstance continues to show us that progressive Collin County citizens, ready to take action since Trump's election, are not going to flock to the dark side of politics. Even moderates continue to migrate to the left. When we start with why, we see the oncoming Democratic Party tsunami for what it is: A clear force of political nature driven by the need to wash away the hate and fear-mongering on the right.

So, where are we going? A better question might be:  Where could we go? Take a moment to read (or re-read) through my prior blogs for suggestions I've made since mid 2017. I might suggest starting with some of the recent ideas addressed in Building the Foundation and Turning Theory into Practice, Politically Speaking.

Our work is never finished. Who we elect March 6th as County Party Chair is who will navigate us beyond the rising tsunami, through the aftermath, and in to new frontiers. #progresstakeschange

Monday, December 18, 2017

A Sign Of The Times

Over the last year, progressives have experienced a growing number of people new to politics looking for answers to seemingly simple questions. A lot of these questions have few to no answers found or, at least, easily accessible. As a candidate for Collin County Democratic Party Chair, one of my goals is to offer an FAQ page for our website among other online informational ideas that we should have implemented years ago. 

One of the general inquiries I get asked about a lot is best management practices for yard & road signage considerations. Until I'm elected or CCDP Leadership decides to rectify this, I'm more than happy to share some basic ideas that most any candidate or campaign team can benefit from. These are lessons learned from communication with other candidates throughout the State of Texas during my City Council bid. 

Keeping in mind that requirements in each municipality may vary, a candidate in Texas might consider:

  • Reading through and honoring the State of Texas requirements here, Texas Ethics Commission on Political Advertising, and all links therein
  • Importance to add the 'Political Advertising By' and the other TXDoT 'Right-of-Way' disclaimers (per the above link) on all signs. Did you forget? No worries. This can be added as a weatherproof sticker
  • Only print double-sided yard and road signs
  • Create a sign map (Google's My Maps is your friend)
  • Ask for permission when placing signs on private property. When in doubt, follow suit with what others are doing (but be prepared to monitor that decision)
  • Public property placement is only applicable at municipally managed polling places (with schedules typically determined by municipalities) and cannot typically be bigger than 2'x2' in a lot of municipal areas
  • Have as many yard signs as possible for polling places during early voting, primary, run-offs, and general elections. Sustainability Tip: Ask everyone with yard signs to place them at the polling places. Keep in mind, you have to arrange to pick them all up in the municipally determined time period (road signs have a longer grace period for pick up but still limited)
  • At a minimal, purchase heavy gage t-posts, long outdoor zipties, and a solid pair of scissors or box cutter
  • Invest in at least one post driver and post remover (both will save your life or that of those planting your signs) and a good pair of leather gloves
  • Be sure all of your road signs have rivets (based off sign size). Tip: bring a screwdriver or something similar to poke extra holes for extra zipties (the wind is stronger than you think)
  • In high wind areas, support signs with a top brace (a wood crossmember should work)
  • Periodically drive by, or have others check in on the state of, all signs 
  • Don't assume that a local party's recommendation(s) for sign printing options is the only option
Again, this isn't a complete list of signage considerations for every candidacy. However, progress takes change, and I look forward to your vote on March 6th, 2018.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

In This Moment

Building upon the strong Democratic candidate base who met the filing deadline this week, coupled with Doug Jones' win in Alabama as well as other recent special election wins, we have to now look beyond this moment and into the next. Because a desire for change - whether as a concerned citizen, voter, advocate, volunteer, candidate, or elected official - without a strategic plan and a vision, will only take us so far.

This is a key point in many areas of the country, including Texas. It's certainly a significant factor in Collin County where Democrats have not won a partisan seat in decades and the Collin County Democratic Party have only very recently shown their acceptance of the need to be prepared. So what are some takeaways from these monumental occurrences, and how do we leverage this information for more progressive wins in 2018?

Ides of March

Trump's Presidential win in November 2016 was a tipping point in American history. So many of us woke up on November 9th with doubt - doubt in ourselves, doubt in others, doubt in our future. But just as the death of Julius Caesar proved to be a turning point in Roman history, changing a Republic to an Empire, we would find comfort in each other.

Running on Empty

With the new year, we found strength in numbers with women's marches drawing crowds in by the hundreds and thousands across the U.S. and around the globe. Activist groups found new hope and resistance movements were being born everywhere. Municipal elections in May 2017 proved equally exhilarating with hundreds of new candidates in Texas alone, each as ready as the next to make change. 

I know, because I was there. I was in Austin with tens of thousands of people feeling energized. I know because I ran as the only openly progressive, unapologetic Democratic candidate in a race for a non-partisan seat in Plano, Texas. What I (and many candidates and activists alike) discovered though, in Texas and definitely in Collin County, was that for all of this glorious momentum, we were dependent on a Democratic Party, struggling financially in communities that heard little from them and expected nothing. Because that's all they had seen for decades.

Progress Takes Change

We have so many people in Collin County looking to be the change they wish to see in the world. We have people wanting to volunteer and even run for office. But in order for those people, especially those new to politics, to be successful, they need training & education, they need tools & resources, and they need money. They need to know that the party who's flag they wave, is going to be there for them and all Collin County citizens, before, during, and after every election cycle.

With a new year, March is the month to watch. Because on March 6th, 2018, Collin County voters will not only decide on primary winning Democrats to run against well-established, tenured, and extremely well-funded Republicans in the November 2018 midterms. Collin County Democrats will also be given a choice to vote for a new leader, with a new vision, and a new plan for our future. 

Stirling Morris for Collin County Democratic Party Chair.