If you’re a recovering Deaniac who believes that Howard Dean’s presidential run inspired legions of young people to get involved in politics, leveraged the internet’s power to break the grip of big money on politics, and gave the Democratic Party a much-needed spine transplant, you probably already know about the “Dean Dozens” and the newly-formed political action committee, Democracy for America. But, if you don’t, here’s the early report.
Since May, Dean’s DFA, has endorsed more than 60 candidates running in local, state and national races–from school board member in Huntsville, Alabama, to mayor of Salt Lake County, Utah.
For years, progressives have talked about taking a page from the Right’s playbook. That means many things–from building think-tanks and media outlets to pioneering new web-based communications. But if our whole is going to equal the sum of our parts, progressives need to recruit, train and support hundreds of candidates at all levels.
In his speeches off the convention floor in Boston, Dean seemed keenly aware of the Right’s success in defining our politics over the past generation by building independent institutions and operational capacities. At several points, he even invoked Ralph Reed and the Christian Coalition (CC) as an example of how one group had succeeded in changing the GOP by taking over the party’s key operations and structures.
At “The Take Back America” conference in Boston during DNC week, a feisty Dean urged supporters to run for local office–even if just the local library board. The centerpiece of his message to progressives: Let’s put aside our small differences and take back our party. Or, as Dean said—picking up on what the late Senator Paul Wellstone told us: It’s time to strengthen the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.”
Toward that goal, Dean and “Democracy for America“–working with savvy progressive groups such as Progressive Majority (PM), and 21st Century Democrats–are committed to giving back power to citizens, and finding and supporting the next generation of grassroots leaders.