2015 Primary reveals two key ways that Democrats need to better Unite & Conquer


    #1 We need a more effective primary system

    I know the Arlington Democrats have been using Instant Runoff Voting in their fire house primaries for School Board and special elections but it is critical that we bring this process to the statewide primary level. There were too many tight three-way and four-way races that could have easily been tipped convincingly if the voter’s second and third choices were included.

    This insures the selection of a true consensus candidate for the general election and is much better than doing a costly run-off election a few weeks later like some states would do.

    Without IRV in an Open Primary some well-organized minority factions (Republican especially) can have an outsized impact in a Democratic contest and leave the mainstream without a candidate they feel represents them. Regardless of whether they are right or wrong, I think many Northern Virginia Democrats are a bit perplexed with who they chose on June 9th.

    This is especially true when a “winner” of a race has 20-30% of the support in an election with 10% turnout….meaning only 2-3% of the voters picked them.

    #2 We need to come together on primary night

    Alexandria Democrats hosted a “Unity” Party in addition to any individual parties that the candidates hosted and it would be great if this template was used as a Democratic tradition. This was a great way to foster a gracious atmosphere and create a more successful celebration than any one candidate could have provided….and much more timely than a separate event on another night that inevitably will be less attended like Arlington is doing this year.

    This is my problem with precinct-level house parties that campaigns and grassroots organization sometimes try to organize before they even have critical mass to be able to host one well-attended event in their neighborhood. You can’t divide-and-conquer until you have united.

    There will be quite a few 2016 Democratic Debate and Primary Watching Parties starting in August and it would be smart for grassroots groups to team up as much as possible so activists can come together and connect with their own communities at the same time. For example, if supporters of multiple campaigns reserved multiple tables or rooms in the same bar or restaurant.

    If we can balance bringing people together with organizing individually it will be much better for our movement in November 2016 and beyond.

    I look forward to discussing how we can move both of these important grassroots issues forward in the weeks and months ahead!