In recent days, there’s been a fair amount of chatter on the interwebs and in the media regarding the announcement by Democratic Party of Virginia Chair Dickie Cranwell that he will be stepping down at the end of this year. To date, as far as I can tell, most of this chatter has been less than productive, too focused on personalities and internal maneuverings, and not focused enough on the truly important questions. What are those, you ask? Here are a few for starters.
*What are the mission and vision statements of the Democratic Party of Virginia? “Elevator” and “long” versions, please. 🙂
*Where are we right now, a year after Virginia Democrats were handed a devastating defeat at the polls?
*Where do we want to be going as a party over the next few years? Do we want to continue DPVA rougly along the lines it’s been going, or do we want to take this time of leadership change as an opportunity to shift direction?
*What skillsets and other qualities do we need and want in a chair? What about in the leadership team more broadly?
*How closely should this party be tied to the fortunes and whims of specific political players? To what extent should it be an autonomous force for growing and building the Democratic Party here in Virginia?
Anyway, those are just a few questions that spring to my mind. I’m sure there are many others. In my view, these questions need to be opened up for discussion among as broad an audience of Democrats as possible. The focus of this discussion shouldn’t be on personalities, but on function, process, capacity, challenges, objectives, and possibly even philosophy.
In order to accomplish this discussion, I’d strongly urge Virginia Democrats not to rush into any hasty decisions on leadership or future courses of action of any kind. I’d certainly not have any of those decisions made behind closed doors, by a small group of people, without a fully fleshed-out discussion of the questions outlined above.
Instead, I’d like to propose that we take November and December – and, by the way, it was a major mistake to announce this leadership change and to stir up controversy just 2 1/2 weeks before crucial mid-term elections – to have a discussion, let potential DPVA chairs explain their visions for the future and qualifications for the job, then hold as open and transparent a vote as possible in order to pick the best leader of our party. That would be both “Democratic” and “democratic,” which is exactly the way it should be. To do any less would be to do ourselves a serious disservice. Obviously, none of us would want to do that? Right? 🙂
P.S. I just realized we need to add another item to the agenda – a new logo!