If someone had told me 10 years ago that I would attend and livestream DNC meetings and attempt to reform one of the major political parties in the United States, I would have laughed in their face. Believe it or not, prior to 2015, I was a relatively normal person living a relatively normal life. Then I stumbled down the rabbit hole...
For me, the rabbit hole decent began in 2016 with trying to figure out how to get myself and other like-minded people to attend our local county Democratic conventions where we would select delegates to our state Democratic convention, which is where we would select delegates to the national Democratic convention. I really can't begin to express how much incorrect information I was given versus the outright lies I was told, but suffice it to say that I quickly learned that the Democratic leadership in WV did not want me or "like-minded" people to show up, let alone influence, these conventions.
I learned that factual information and official documents outlining the delegate selection process were extremely hard to find. And, very importantly, I learned that unless someone focuses on the rules like a dog on a bone, rules can go out the window. This isn't said to throw shade on every Party leader, but it does reflect many of my personal experiences.
Over time I've learned the value and importance of learning Party rules and the historical context of when and how the rules began.
I firmly believe that the Democratic Party will be better, stronger and win more elections (and ultimately adopt policy that is good for all of us) if more people get involved in the Party at every level, especially running for Party offices on the lowest level (county or precinct) on up to state Party and national Party positions. However, unless one makes a point of understanding and implementing the Party rules (many of which are very good), and changing the bad rules, very little will change.
Political parties are one step away from government. Whether you like it or not, there are 2 major political parties in the United States and your next President, Senator, Congressperson, Governor, state Legislature representative, etc, will almost certainly be a Republican or a Democrat. If we want the quality of our elected officials to be better, the quality of our political parties must be better. I want the Democratic Party to be better. Much better.
DNC WATCH has two main goals:
1. To hold the Party leadership on every level accountable.
2. To give others the tools that they need to hold their Party accountable.
Party history has some brilliant examples of reform in the Democratic Party on both the national level and within state parties by utilizing the rules process.
In 1964, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party delegation, led by Martin Luther King, Jr, Dr. Aaron Henry and Fannie Lou Hamer, filed a credentials challenge to the all white Mississippi Democratic Party delegation and gave vivid examples of blatant discrimination. The 1964 convention mandated the Special Equal Rights Commission, which led to significant changes in the Democratic Party, notably an official policy statement titled the Six Basic Elements of an Open Party.
More recently, but also related to discrimination, in 2018 in Alabama, reformers documented (video) their state convention where the Chair and Vice-Chair were elected, which showed a failure to follow rules. Reformers filed and won a credentials challenge which required the Alabama Democratic Party to adopt new Bylaws to provide for affirmative action and inclusion of some historically underrepresented groups and hold new officer elections.
In 2020 in WV, reformers documented (including video) that the WV Democratic Party leadership blatantly ignored the Party rules regarding affirmative action, equal division of gender, and meeting and election notice requirements. After filing multiple challenges with the DNC, the DNC required the WV Democratic Party to make changes to the WVDP Bylaws to provide for affirmative action and inclusion of historically underrepresented groups, become equally divided and provide adequate notice to meetings and elections.
However, it is worth noting that the DNC is not always consistent or fair in interpreting their rules, and the difference tends to be political. For example, reformers in Puerto Rico filed a challenge to the elections of their Chair in 2017. There was NO public notice of the election except for a small ad in one newspaper. The Bylaws were not followed. Not even all of the voting members of committee voting were provided with notice! But the DNC Credentials Committee found that the tiny ad in one paper was sufficient and found in favor of the officers elected. It just so happens that the DNC Chair at the time, Tom Perez, received votes from the PR officers in a very close election and Perez did not want the PR office elections overturned.
There are more examples of both the fair and unfair decisions of the DNC and I hope to fully document and write about each of them eventually. The rules upheld or ignored, and the political maneuvers used, are instructional for those hoping to affect change. And, one of the most important things to know is that all the key discussions, documents and decisions happen in the committee meetings. That is why DNC WATCH focuses heavily on attending and livestreaming all DNC Committee meetings and archiving the relevant documents.
As this site grows, it is my hope that this site will be used by reformers and Party leaders to understand the rules, implement the rules, and hold the Party accountable.
Keep in mind that DNC WATCH is the sole work of one volunteer, me, who also works full time in a real life job and all expenses connected with DNC WATCH (travel, meals, lodging, website, research, etc) are mine. The videos, website design, and blog writings are about as professional as I can manage. But, regardless, it is my sincere hope that they will be useful to good people attempting to do good things.