In just over six weeks, California Democrats will convene and choose our pathway forward.
In order for us to remain the citadel of resistance against Trump and the beating heart of the progressive movement, I believe that we must be a Party built on three pillars:
- Big Tent
- Bold Ideas
- Building the Future
That’s why I endorsed Keith Ellison for DNC Chair and made calls for him right up until the last votes were cast. It’s why for decades I have been fighting for single-payer to make California a “healthcare sanctuary state”. And it’s why I have been fighting to provide more resources and attention for activists in red and rural portions of our state since long before I launched Los Angeles County Democratic Party’s Red Zone Program in 2005.
A few nights ago, I announced to the Progressive Democrats that I plan to launch an offensive against the single biggest check on progress here in California: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Top 2 Jungle Primary.
Schwarzenegger’s Jungle Primary is working exactly as it was intended: to force Democrats to spend an inordinate amount of time and resources fighting other Democrats over our own turf in November, and less time reaching out to new areas to grow our Party. In the last two election cycles, there have been 41 Democrat-on-Democrat races – including a contest for the United States Senate. If we want to raise our state up to the next level, we must eliminate this impediment in 2018 so that we can better focus our energies in 2020 and beyond.
Those in attendance at the San Francisco County Democratic Party heard me unveil that I will create the California Democratic Center for Progress and Action. As part think tank, part learning and resource center, I envision this as a much-needed space where Democratic activists can come together – not just in Sacramento, but around our great state – with policy leaders in state government, our brothers and sisters in labor and other allied organizations, to innovate, strategize and organize ourselves to solve some of our most vexing problems, both for the short- and long-term of our state, and ensure our activists and candidates across the state have access to training and important resources. Our Party must operate on the cutting edge and join together with our allies if we are to ban fracking, enact clean money reform, and pass single-payer healthcare, just to name a few.
The California Democratic Party must be a big tent, where the doors are flung open, and everyone – both novice and veteran – has a seat at the table. And that can’t just be a slogan – it has to be a reality. That’s why as CDP Chair, I will be live-streaming our Executive Board meetings and Conventions. Attending these meetings can be expensive or difficult, especially if you live in a rural area. We are inadvertently disenfranchising whole segments of our grassroots base, and that’s unacceptable. Live-streaming our meetings will be an important step towards our commitment to an open and welcoming Democratic Party.
I want to be clear: the vision that I have laid out is a floor, not a ceiling. I’m excited about these ideas, but more importantly, I want to hear from you. That’s why I’m asking you to email your thoughts and proposals to BoldIdeas@EricBauman.com.
California is leading the resistance, and California can lead the rebuilding of the Democratic Party across the nation. It starts with a big tent California Democratic Party, committed to aggressively fighting for bold ideas and building the very future that we hope to leave to generations to come. That is my vision for our Party, and I hope you will join with me in this fight.
Eric C. Bauman
Vice Chair, California Democratic Party
Chair, Los Angeles County Democratic Party