Washblog

How much infrastructure do we need?

Does anyone else remember Field of Dreams?  "If you build it, they will come."

I've spent a lot of time over the last 3 years collecting information and learning the basics of how to put websites together.  I've done ok.  I don't know advanced PHP, I can't write Perl scripts, but I know how to build something that makes sense.  So my question now is whether what we build here online has a purpose and what website developers and content creators can do to help create change.

How much infrastructure do we need?

Even in deep blue Seattle, the Republican Party has built communications infrastructure to spread their message.  We haven't.  Sure, we have websites for the LD's, and we have the King County Dems.  But if Seattle is so dark blue, why don't we have a Seattle Democrats group?  Does the county party coordinate the efforts of all those LD's within the city?  How often do the PCO's and activist leaders in our community get together outside of the LD meetings to get things done?  Who is keeping track of what the Seattle City Council does?  How about the Seattle School Board?

Are there any city party organizations anywhere in the state?  The list of elected officials for any of our counties is long, but because most of them are non-partisan we seem to ignore them.  Or am I living with blinders on in Seattle, and the LD's out there are doing everything they can to put progressives into all of these offices as well as ones where they can put a "D" after the name.

Can the PCO's in Seattle work together to build a SeattleDemocrats website where we talk about the things that matter and get things done?  Can we build an example for other cities like Bellevue, Vancouver, Spokane and the ones that really need our message like Centralia and Ritzville?  I really want to help put the infrastructure together, but if it's not going to be used, I won't.

You tell me.  How much infrastructure do we need?

< December 25, 1776 | Cloned meat fast-tracked by Bush administration >
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Ask me later when I'm (hopefully) elected 36th LD Issues Chair.

Some observations:

Unless I'm missing something that website you reference looks qualitatively like more of a PR face: it puts a unified face on things. Granted, the Rs do seem to do a better job of messaging, but let's not be reactive.

It seems to duplicate what other umbrella orgs do, and what KCDems do. Is it necessary to have a separate web site just for Seattle? Maybe for the Ds it would make more sense to have an eastkcdemocrats.org web site if the purpose is unifying message where we're not as strong.

The organizational challenge on the Left is qualitatively and functionally different than on the Right. I don't think the leadership has been quick to pick up on this, but there are plenty of independent efforts to pick up the slack.

I would hazard a guess that at least a few of the people spearheading these independent efforts tried to do something in conjunction with the Democratic Party and were met with deaf ears. So they went out and identified the need on their own and are trying to fill it.

It seems like you're asking a simple question: "How much infrastructure do we need?" but really what you're asking as I construct it is:


  • How effective are we at communicating message, tactically?
  • How effective are we at tracking legislation?
  • How much infrastructure do we need to do that?
  • Given that we have that infrastructure, will we use it?

I would answer that in three parts:


  1. In terms of the Party, it doesn't seem organizationally capable of effectively utilizing infrastructure which it creates in a fashion which doesn't ultimately alienate various constituencies. (Messaging? We suck!)
  2. In terms of the interest groups which comprise the constituencies which make up the voters who vote blue, they have evolved (and continue to evolve) infrastructures for their own purposes.
  3. Both the interest groups and the Party do effective jobs of tracking legislative and governmental goings-on as they pertain to their own interests. If you're asking this question (given your familiarity with the Party), I think it's safe to say there isn't much awareness of one another at the present time.

by m3047 on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 09:53:00 AM PST

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