To: Alan Clendenin, Candidate for FDP Chair, Leah Carius, Candidate for FDP Chair, Dwight Bullard, Candidate for FDP Chair, Lisa King, Candidate for FDP Chair, and Stephen Bittel, Candidate for FDP Chair
FDP Chair Candidates: Return Power to the People
As a candidate to chair the Florida Democratic Party (FDP), I pledge to prioritize reforming the rules of our party to distribute power, empower the grassroots, and expand diversity of people and thinking. I further commit to include in that reform a special election for State Chair, under the new rules, in January of 2019.
Why is this important?
The election of the chair for the Florida Democratic Party is a wholly undemocratic process, as the weighted vote is purposely designed to concentrate power in a few individuals in large Democratic counties. This has inevitably led to a tainted process in selecting of a chair which has been characterized by backroom deals and empowerment of the power brokers. This system also leaves the majority of the conversation about the future of our party a closed conversation between elite power players. A candidate for chair has to manipulate the system in order to win, playing factions against each other and picking sides. This has lead to a breakdown of trust on all levels and has created deep divides within our own party.
The time has come to acknowledge that this system has failed. Overall, the design is inherently destructive and counterproductive. Not only has this process failed to yield any positive results, but it has also undermined trust and confidence in the Florida Democratic Party. Donors withhold money because of warring factions, grassroots activists fail to fully engage because of mistrust of the party leaders, and candidates are often torn between embattled factions of our own party rather than challenging Republicans and advancing our values. Without trust among the members of the party, we will continue to fail cycle after cycle.
The ideals that hold us together as Democrats have historically been set aside in order to preserve power of a few in the race for chair. These power plays do not reflect the best of us, nor the depth of our talent and ability. It is time for an inclusive, open conversation about the future of our party and that begins with a commitment to change how a chair is selected.
There is never going to be a greater opportunity to advance this essential reform; we need those with power to either on their own or through pressure of the people use their power to give power back. This demonstration of our values, by those elected to represent us and lead our party, to distribute power to a more diverse body of leaders that can more effectively lead this party to a successful future built on real trust is the action we must see to deliver unity of our members.
This can only happen if our next chair is a vocal champion for this reform before they are elected. They need to say they will deliver a one person, one vote based system. This can’t be something said quietly one on one, it must be shouted from every stage the candidates appear on between now and the election. After the election, reform activists will likely be shouted down as a distraction from the 2018 elections, but reform is essential to the 2018 elections and beyond. Now is the time to change all that is wrong and start being truly the party of, by, and for the people.
It is time for a new system and we must demand a chair who is determined to bring change. This is essential for not only maintaining a sense of unity, but it is the first step in rebuilding the Florida Democratic Party.
Please joining us in voicing your support to restore trust.