November 16, 2016

2016 Election Recovery - UPDATE: a proposed agenda for moving forward in opposition

THANKS TO ALL WHO ATTENDED THE "PICK UP THE PIECES AND DRINK WINE" GATHERING HOSTED BY DEMOCRATS ABROAD LION CITY COMMITTEE LAST NIGHT.  SOME OF YOU BROUGHT IDEAS THAT HAVE BEEN INCORPORATED INTO THIS DOCUMENT FIRST POSTED YESTERDAY.  MANY THANKS!  If you weren't at the event or didn't see our Sign Up sheets, please contact DA Lion City Secretary-Treasurer Holly Kreutter if you are interested in joining a team to plan our Inauguration Week of Action Abroad and/or working on Democratic Party part-building and advocacy initiatives going forward.



This is a proposed agenda for moving forward as 1) a party, 2) an advocacy organisation and 3) a group of like minded Americans in Singapore  

1) Party:

Short term - GOTV in the Lousiana run off election.  Voting in this is a bit tricky and will require volunteer-to-voter support in some instances.  We have a team who will phone all our LA voters across the world and the 24/7 Help Desk is open.  We are encouraging donations to Foster Campbell's campaign for the LA senate seat.

Medium term - Electing new leaders for the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Democrats Abroad (globally) and at our local Singapore level.  We need committed leadership ready to re-build our organisation structurally and, if you will, spiritually.  

DNC Leadership:  Democrats Abroad is planning to collect questions for candidates vying for the chair of the DNC.  The top 5 questions will be established and forwarded to the candidates.  Some of you have indicated an interest in a straw poll of the candidates and we will explore that idea.

Democrats Abroad Leadership:  Democrats Abroad will gather for our 2017 Global Meeting in Washington DC in either February or March (stay posted for notice).  The meetings are open to all.  Please consider attending.  We will elect a fresh team of international officers at that meeting.  All members are eligible to run for office. Our DA Lion City chair and vice chair are empowered to vote on behalf of DA Lion City.

DA Lion City Leadership:  Democrats Abroad Lion City Committee will have our 2017 Annual General Meeting before 31 March 2017.  Please stay posted for notice of date, time and place.  Also look out for notice welcoming nominations to contest our country committee offices:  chair, vice chair, secretary-treasurer, legal counsel and 3 member-at-large places.  All members of DA Lion City are welcome to nominate.

Long term - Driving, driving, driving voter turnout for the 2018 mid term elections and building awareness of down-ballot races (again, party re-building) so that Democrats control more state legislatures and governorships when the electoral district maps are re-drawn following the 2020 census.  We cannot emphasise enough the importance of re-drawing Congressional boundaries.  Over the next 2 years we need to expand our volunteer teams, expand our member/voter lists, expand our brand.  All this takes committed leadership at the chapter and country committee levels. 

2) Advocacy:

Short term - we have a very active Facebook page and Twitter handle.  Please follow us and reach out to Democrats in Singapore and encourage them to follow us.  We connect followers to important news, provide inspiration/hope/humour and connect them to the Democratic Party agenda committed to providing opportunity for all.

Telephone outreach to Congress:  One of the ideas raised at the DA Lion City Pick up the Pieces and Drink Wine gathering included a type of phone-a-thon to Congress in which we would storm the DC offices of our elected officials with phone calls from abroad to communicate our concerns about the in-coming administration (still can't say his name).  (For example, progressive organisations are currently encouraging citizens to phone their Congressional reps in opposition to the appointment of Breitbart editor Stephen Bannon as chief White House strategist.)  I suspect there will be a lot to concern us about appointments to important government positions.  The House and the Senate calendars suggests a date for this phone-a-thon might occur in the first or second weeks of December. 

Medium term - We are staging an Inauguration Week of Action Abroad.  DA Lion City can join other Democrats Abroad groups in a letter-writing campaign.  Templates and models will be developed at the global level and shared with groups that gather to write letter to in-coming Congress members on topics of deep concern to the individual (eg environmental protection, civil liberties, labor rights, immigration reform, trade policy, civil discourse, voting rights, energy policy, electoral reform, NATO, the US military, etc).  Letters, preferably hand-written, will be mailed on behalf of members.  (DALCC may need a small fundraiser to pay for stamps, paper, envelopes.)

Long term - we are re-building our global advocacy programme.  If the RNC makes good on its promise to repeal FATCA and CBT (they were in the RNC platform but were never discussed by Trump during the campaign; they are not Trump commitments) then a big part of our tax reform agenda will disappear.  But it also may not.  We still have issues related to voting rights, freedom of movement, access to SS and Medicare and other to address.  There will be a DA global meeting in Washington DC in either February or March that will feature a Congressional door knock.  All members of DA are welcome to attend the global meeting and the door knock.  

3) A Group of Like-Minded Americans:

Short term - we need to be together to vent and grieve and mourn.  Wine may help.  And then we need to build each other back up for the work ahead.  

Volunteering:  We are building a list (thank you, Crystal!) of local organisations that DALCC members might want to volunteer for. 

Donating:  We are building a list of organisations that support vulnerable people if people are interested in giving.  (eg, the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood.)   

The Safety Pin for Solidarity project is going on in some Democrats Abroad CCs, especially where members are looking for a way to explain the election to their children.  The Safety Pin is a symbol that people are wearing in America that signals they will stand by and publicly support and defend persons vilified in the Trump campaign (people of colour, Jews, Muslims, Mexicans, LGBT Americans, people with disabilities, women).  In some places (London, Paris, Prague, Madrid) they are having gatherings for children to decorate the safety pins and to reflect on the importance of being civil to each other.

Medium term - As part of the Inauguration Week of Action Abroad, join other Democrats Abroad groups who are joining the Million Women (and Friends ) March by having marches or candle-light vigils abroad.  (Advise the Embassy.  Secure local government approval if necessary, Round up a few speakers.  And peacefully march or gather.)  We may be unable to do anything of this sort publicly in Singapore.  It may need to be a private gathering instead.  But it will feel good to build our friendships and share some Democratic party fellowship.

Long term - In addition to other actions we will plan in response to policy initiatives proposed by the new administration and progressed in the Congress, DALCC can host gatherings to watch films (political documentaries and docudramas), celebrate US holidays or watch political events (State of the Union, etc), connect Dems in SGP to events at the LKY school or elsewhere and build a community around our political organising.

All this depends upon the interest, energy and engagement of our Leaders and members.  Thanks to those attending PICK UP THE PIECES who signed up to contribute to our planning for the Inauguration Week of Action Abroad and to be a part of our work going forward.  Please email DA Lion City Secretary Holly Kreutter if you are interested in joining either or the both of these teams.