Vision for the California Democratic Party
In order for us to remain the citadel of resistance against Trump and the beating heart of the progressive movement, I believe that the California Democratic Party must be a Party built on three pillars:
- Big Tent
- Bold Ideas
- Building the Future
That’s why I endorsed Keith Ellison for Chair of the Democratic National Committee 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.
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. We must do more to be welcoming, inviting, and engaging to new activists, new ideas, and new innovation that will help raise our Party to the next level.
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.
The newly energized voters that we see in each presidential cycle are part of what keeps the Democratic Party vibrant and energetic. Newly mobilized activists have fresh ideas, robust energy, and often a different way of viewing the world than those of us who have been around for a while. This is not a new phenomenon – this happened following the election of Bill Clinton, following Howard Dean’s campaign, following the election of Barack Obama, and now, following Bernie Sanders’ campaign.
I welcome new ideas and new energy, and 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.
Our Party can’t just be anti-Trump. The California Democratic Party must be the leader in making progressive values a policy reality for the nation, and must be on the cutting-edge of innovation, creativity, and problem-solving.
End California’s Top-Two Primary
When elected Chair, I will launch an offensive against the single biggest check on progress here in California: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Top-Two Primary. The Top-Two 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.
California Democratic Center for Progress and Action
I plan to 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.
While I have been fighting for single-payer healthcare for decades, I believe that Trump’s brutal assault on the Affordable Care Act presents California with an historic opportunity to finally declare itself a “healthcare sanctuary state” by enacting single-payer healthcare once and for all. As a registered nurse and former Deputy Insurance Commissioner, this is not a new position for me, and that’s why every author of California’s single-payer healthcare legislation has endorsed me for Chair – Rep. John Garamendi, former Senator and LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, former Senator Mark Leno, Senator Ricardo Lara, and Senator Toni Atkins.
Metaphorical Legal Wall
Just days after last November’s election, I issued a Call to Action, calling upon Governor Jerry Brown and our legislative leaders to immediately review our Constitution and our statutes to ensure we have the necessary safeguards in place to guard the people of California from Trump’s dystopian worldview and to ensure that we have the strongest possible protections for all of those core rights that a Trump administration or Trump Supreme Court will have in its crosshairs.
Building the Future
As the most successful and the strongest state Democratic Party in the nation, we must implement creative programs, engage our grassroots activists and partners, and build our Party from the bottom-up.
Build the Bench
We must work together to build the bench. As a County Party Chair for the past 16 years, I have been hard at work electing Democrats to local offices for many years and working with County Parties across state and to help them do the same. As CDP chair, this will be a core focus of mine to ensure that we build the biggest and brightest future for our Party.
It is important for us to build our Party’s future by implementing creative programs, similar to LACDP’s Red Zone Program, at a statewide level – a program that is designed to build our Party in rural, red, and purple areas, by training our candidates and activists, and by providing substantial resources and support to them throughout the state.
Engaging Young Democrats
We must engage our grassroots activists and partners to build our future, together. I intend to expand on our partnership with Young Democrats and College Democrats across the state to make sure that they are an integral part of raising our Party to the next level. Young Democrats know this to be true, and I am honored to have the support of the California Young Democrats in my race.
Raising Up the Party Together
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.
I’m obliged to say that even though yesterday I said I was not part of a #Collusion scheme, the truth is that I and the @CA_Dem Party are colluding with our partners, our candidates and millions of fair minded #Californians to make this a #TrumpFreeZone - there, I said it!